By linking with sister companies X-Rite Pantone and AVT, Esko has sought to provide its users with solutions across the packaging spectrum. There are emerging opportunities in color management, print management system, and inspection, which can contribute to a more efficient process and reduce setup times.
Cross-company integration projects have allowed customers to go to press more quickly. Consistency and repeatability will ultimately lead to brands’ success.
“When we talk about color and print quality, a lot of people talk about accuracy,” explained Cindy Cooperman, global director, Brand & Packaging at X-Rite Pantone. “What really becomes more important is the consistency aspect of it. It’s not good enough to be good at it once, you need to be good at it all the time. This is a lever we’re going to keep pressing.”
As technology has evolved, so too have brands. As part of EskoWorld, attendees were treated to the Brand Track, which allowed a productive dialogue between all parties involved in the packaging workflow. Brands are changing their paradigms, requiring increased print quality and defined Delta E tolerances.
“Brands want to know and see how their assets are being reproduced, and are they being reproduced well?,” said Cooperman. “Time and cost are not enough anymore. Now, we have to include that aspect of quality. By connecting it all, the process loops back into the brand owner, which allows them to make better decisions. This allows brands to learn how to better invest in their product lines.”
In line with Packaging Connected, Esko wants to connect packaging with e-commerce; connect brands, premedia and converters; and connect software and hardware within the same ecosystem. According to Panenka, packaging represents the best controlled content in an organization, and the goal is to achieve more with the same resources.
Esko would like to create omni-channel campaigns. With a growing number of SKU’s and demands from customers, Esko believes its products can decrease lead times while allowing printers and converters to respond to changes more quickly. These changes could include anything from a technical code to a brand re-design.
To meet demand, Andy Warnement, vice president of products and innovation at Esko, provided the details on the company’s latest product enhancements. Esko has teamed up with AVT, X-Rite and Pantone to integrate its automation and collaboration solutions, taking advantage of X-Rite and Pantone color technology and AVT’s camera inspection solutions. The integrations are designed to preserve the digital flow of data across connected systems, addressing market demands for faster time to market and “Right First Time” production in smaller lot sizes while taking cost and waste reduction into account.
A digital link between Esko’s Automation Engine, AVT’s press workflow and inspection systems, Helios and Argos, now provides data to automatically set up a job for inspection on conventional and digital presses, as well as on rewinders.
With the new bi-directional integration between X-Rite ColorCert Suite, which defines color requirements and collects press run color data to report on color performance, and the AVT Spectralab inline color measurement device, job data is automatically sent to the spectro, which automatically sets up the job for inline color measurement. During the run, the color measurements are sent directly from AVT’s Spectralab to X-Rite’s ColorCert, which collects the data and builds a color scorecard, reporting on the color quality performance of the print run.
Meanwhile, Esko also launched two new solutions at EskoWorld – the CDI Crystal 4835 and Print Control Wizard. These enhancements are designed to take the company’s “Flexo Simplified” concept to the next level. This new launch supports the 48 x 35” plate size that is popular with flexo converters and provides the same benefits as the CDI Crystal 5080. The Crystal CDI features automatic plate loading and unloading while remaining simple to use.
Warnement described this latest flexo concept as “a breakthrough for us.”
The new Print Control Wizard software produces plates with excellent quality, using screen and dot gain curves that take the press, substrates, inks, anilox and other print run parameters into consideration.
Finally, Warnement announced during the press conference that the next generation of Esko ArtPro+ Packaging Editor is ready for production. With over 25,000 Esko prepress editors currently in use, this new version is designed to fit the needs of today’s prepress production. ArtPro+ is part of the Esko Software Platform 2018. According to Esko, this version of ArtPro+ allows prepress operations to complete the editing work 40% faster. It also requires fewer clicks to complete tasks, features faster opening and saving of files with native PDF, and has faster trapping.
In addition, Kongsberg Automate provides users with a portfolio of solutions to support the operator with material handling, production, waste management, and stacking. This allows the machine to keep moving in order to increase throughput. WebCenter and Automation Engine QuickStart have also seen updates, as well.