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Harlequin® VariData

Extending acceleration to VDP jobs for today and tomorrow

Harlequin VariData™ accelerates the processing time of PDF/VT files as well as regular PDF files containing variable data.

It has become common for VDP jobs to include complex constructs such as:
  • flexing page layouts;
  • more permutations of shared images selected based on a recipient’s address, previous buying patterns etc;
  • live PDF transparency; or
  • images applicable to only one instance of the printed piece; or
  • variable vector graphics such as financial pie-charts and QR codes.

Harlequin VariData enables jobs using all of these advanced features to be greatly accelerated.

It supports an external mode (where rasters are managed and merged post-RIP using vendor-supplied technology), and an internal mode (providing an easy entry for digital press vendors into VDP optimization by caching and merging all rasters within the RIP itself).

Harlequin VariData automatically analyses a PDF file to identify those pages that use shared elements. It therefore takes advantage of optimized structures in PDF files made with specialist VDP creation tools, including those saved as PDF/VT (ISO 16612-2). At the same time it works almost as well for PDF files made by general tools that are not specialized for VDP.

Once a shared element has been identified it is only rendered once, while the variable data on each page is rendered separately. The benefits of the specialized VDP PDLs can therefore be achieved while using PDF.

Harlequin VariData can be used in two configurations:
  • Pre-rendered re-used elements are stored in RAM within the RIP and combined with variable data for each page at rendering time. This produces a very significant performance gain, but is very easy to implement into a new DFE because all of the work is performed within the RIP and it does not require any technology from other parties.
  • Rasters for re-used and variable data elements are delivered by the RIP with masks and metadata to allow caching technology supplied by the DFE vendor to manage them, and to aggregate them into whole-page rasters for printing outside of the RIP. This produces the highest possible performance.

The ability to configure the Harlequin VariData to work entirely within the RIP, or to export rendered elements for aggregation after the RIP, makes it a very scalable solution. It can be used in a wide variety of solutions at different price points, including allowing for field-upgrades by the addition of a hardware stitching board, for instance.

Harlequin VariData accelerates the printing of variable data jobs that were saved as regular PDF. This is configurable to hold retained rasters within the RIP or to deliver them to OEM technology for reconstruction of final pages, offering the choice of an easy route into high-performance VDP, or maximum throughput for those OEMs who already have aggregation technology.

Variable data workflow within a DFE

An array of HHRs caters for very high throughput
Harlequin VariData accelerates the processing of variable data in PDF files- comparative output. Simplified example of variable data print workflow within a DFE using External Harlequin VariData™ in a Harlequin RIP.