Esko Software Platform Makes Packaging Easy
Esko Software Platform is the next version of Esko’s portfolio of integrated software solutions for design, prepress, workflow automation, color management and supply chain collaboration used for packaging, labels, displays and signs. Highlights of this release of the Esko Software Platform include:
- More software modules made available as Software as a Service (SaaS) and subscriptions;
- Improved 3D support, especially when viewing objects in WebCenter and on mobile devices;
- A new Content Management module for WebCenter;
- ArtPro+, a totally new platform-independent native PDF prepress editor;
- New tools and libraries for multi-part POP design in ArtiosCAD;
- Planogram interface for Studio Store Visualizer;
- New set of automated quality assurance tools in Automation Engine;
- Esko hardware integration in the workflow (Automation Engine Device Manager);
- Improved user experience across all applications.
The Esko Software Platform can be deployed on premise or in the cloud and can be purchased with a traditional license or a flexible subscription model. Within its cloud offering, Esko has created a series of attractive Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions:
- The Esko Share and Approve Service WebCenter is a complete hassle-free web-based approval tool in WebCenter;
- Cape Pack 16 moves palletization services to a SaaS model. Customizable reports contain interactive 3D views of logistics solutions and are stored in the cloud for easy sharing among all stakeholders;
- WebCenter, MediaBeacon, ArtiosCAD Enterprise and Online Editing with CHILI publish are also available in a SaaS model.
With the SaaS model, Esko hosts and manages the services. Customers can choose the solution they need and run their business without increasing IT overhead and without the potential complexities coming with software upgrades.
When using Esko Software Subscriptions, customers can also benefit from more flexibility. For example: when demand spikes, subscriptions simplify adding additional software seats. Customers now can better manage cash flow and operational costs.
Esko is introducing Content Management as a new module for WebCenter. This module enables printers and converters to expand their offerings related to artwork services. The software includes a controlled and automated process for updating existing artwork and for creating multiple variants for a single product.
All stakeholders use a common database for content, automatically pulling text statements and other regulatory content into the artwork to ensure compliance. This solution also complies with the GS1 global standard for packaging content communication.
A growing number of digital assets are being produced within the packaging supply chain. These assets need to be shared with marketing departments, or need to be part of content or product information management.
What’s more, rich media assets need to be included as well (video, for instance). MediaBeacon answers this need. Integrating Esko’s MediaBeacon DAM system with WebCenter makes assets available in the right version at the right time to the right stakeholders in the packaging workflow.
This integration supports better design, helps protect brand integrity, ensures regulatory compliance and speeds up time to market.
WebCenter is the customer portal that streamlines activities from specification and design through production. Users share files with all stakeholders for approval and collaboration.
In the new version, users are able to view 3D designs, including transparency and print finishing effects, using a standard web browser on a desktop computer or mobile device. WebCenter is based on the latest web technologies for an improved user experience, mobile friendliness and noticeably faster search capabilities.
ArtiosCAD makes design and preproduction of multi-part packaging and POP displays more simple, intelligent and productive, avoiding guesswork, waste and errors. Layout tools apply 3D clips and hooks used in retail environments.
They also automatically nest production parts on the right substrates. For sign and display producers, ArtiosCAD offers access to an extensive online library of proven parametric design templates. Sign and display converters use these designs to produce complex designs easy and fast, taking away the need for 3D design expertise.
Studio now adds increased 3D functionality to the Adobe® Illustrator® packaging workflow. The software includes tools to select materials and apply print effects. It also combines different shapes into 3D compositions, including realistic lighting and shadow effects. Users now can share or export 3D designs to high resolution pack shots. Creating this artwork for presentations or campaigns takes away the need for separate packaging artwork creation in other software.
Studio Store Visualizer now integrates with planogram systems to create and populate visually stunning virtual 3D stores in minutes rather than days. The software is able to display barcodes; pricing and other metadata associated with each of the imported products, and is ideal for use in store planning and category management. Studio Store Visualizer, co-developed with VTales, makes it a lot easier for users to create and test package designs and ultimately reduces time to market.
Global Vision quality control tools are embedded in Automation Engine. Features now available from the automated workflow include a spell checker and automatic checking of barcodes and Braille against an approved profile. The quality check runs as a background process and results in an annotated and viewable design file for Automation Engine, WebCenter and in ArtPro+. This enables fast, systematic revision of all detected errors.
Esko Software Platform further introduces unique Packaging Preflight functionality, based on Enfocus technology. Preflight checks are applied to content inside of the die-line, ignoring any information outside of the die-line such (like legends or control strips). Technical and other non-print items like varnishing and embossing can also be excluded from the preflight operation. This ensures jobs are checked only where appropriate and eliminates all irrelevant feedback from the preflight report, leading to greater effectiveness in automated preflight and in the entire workflow.
ArtPro+ is a brand new prepress editor featuring a state-of-the art 64-bit architecture and is 100% PDF native. ArtPro+ has a unique and intuitive user interface with a software tool selector wheel that provides the user instant access to the right tools wherever he happens to be working in the design. Users consistently report greater efficiency and faster job turnaround using the new editor. ArtPro+ is available to the entire installed base as an upgrade under maintenance contract for ArtPro and PackEdge.
DeskPack and ArtPro+ are designed for seamless integration with Automation Engine. The way forward in prepress today is to automate mundane, repetitive prepress tasks with Automation Engine and to limit the editor work with DeskPack or ArtPro+ to specific tasks and quality checks. Prepress operations working this way report that 40% more jobs can executed with the same headcount.
With Automation Engine’s new Device Manager module, Esko’s hardware product lines (Kongsberg tables and CDI flexo plate imagers) are connected to and integrated with the prepress workflow. Device Manager puts full operational control of these devices in the hands of the prepress operator.
Flexo converters are under pressure to print a growing number of short run jobs per shift. However, setting up a printing press for a new job takes a substantial amount of time, primarily for wash-up, and wastes ink and ink-on-substrate when getting back to color. A great deal of print capacity is locked up in press setup time. Many flexo presses only have 40% productive uptime.
The solution to unlock flexo press capacity and to keep the presses running is to completely avoid washing up the press between jobs. This is done by standardizing the printing press on a fixed set of inks -an extended ink set of 5, 6 or 7 colors- and printing jobs with this fixed ink palette. Equinox is Esko’s fixed color palette or Extended Gamut printing solution. Equinox is easy to deploy and is an integral part of Esko Software Platform.