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Mutoh Intros Thunderbird ISIS

Multifunction server supports large-format production printers By Dave Nagel
Mutoh America has released its new Thunderbird Integrated System Imaging Server (ISIS). Designed for the company's large-format indoor and outdoor production printers (Falcon-II and Toucan), the Thunderbird ISIS combines production workflow, print management and PostScript raster image processing. Using Thunderbird ISIS features, the complete Mutoh printing system can be managed remotely via a network or the Internet.

The Thunderbird ISIS combines a multi-queue network print server, job archive server, network hard disk, Web server and PostScript interpreter with a high-speed data interface. It connects to either the Toucan or Falcon-II printer via a FireWire interface, which allows files stored on the server to be copied directly to the hard disk buffer inside the printer, bypassing the internal data I/O bus. The result is a sustained data transfer rate of about 133 megabits per second. For the Toucan-87, Mutoh's new 87-inch solvent printer, a 4' x 8' panel printed at 720 DPI would transfer to the printer in fewer than 40 seconds.


The Thunderbird also provides print spooling, queueing and job archive and reprint functions. The interface between the client network and the Thunderbird ISIS is 100Base-T Ethernet. Multiple reprints are handled via the Thunderbird ISIS, which checks printer status between reprints and displays printer status in real time via a platform-independent Web interface. User's can remotely check printer status and queue status, switch queues, release jobs from hold, reprint archived jobs and cancel jobs. Queue status is automatically updated every 15 seconds, and printer status every 30 seconds.

Thunderbird ISIS is also fully Adobe PostScript-3 compatible. Print drivers for Macintosh OS 9 and Mac OS X, as well as Windows 98, 2000 and XP, are stored on the Thunderbird's network-browseable 60 GB hard disk. Users can print from any application directly to the Server's shared network print queue. A total of 16 internal queues are used to spool jobs for different media types. When a PostScript job is received, it is checked for errors, and a 72 DPI JPEG preview image is generated. This preview image can be viewed remotely to ensure the job was properly constructed prior to printing.

The Thunderbird ISIS will also function in environments where existing third-party software RIPs are used. The Thunderbird ISIS is included with the Toucan and Falcon-II series production printing systems. (See separate story on the Falcon Outdoor series, which was also introduced today.) For more information, visit http://www.mutoh.com.


Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications. You can reach him at dnagel@digitalmedianet.com.

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