At Labelexpo Americas 2012, Booth Showcases Hybrid Printing Workflow, Remote Proofing Solutions
“Over the past year Esko has been developing a number of new prepress applications for label printers working with flexo, digital, gravure or offset. We offer an extensive array of sophisticated software tools, flexo plate imagers and finishing systems. All of our solutions have one objective: to help companies optimize costs, streamline workflows and improve quality and consistency,” remarks Mark Quinlan, president, Esko Americas. “I am confident that any visitor to our booth will find a number of solutions capable of delivering results that will make them smile.”
New product focus for label production
At Labelexpo Americas, visitors can expect the commercial availability of PantoneLIVE support within Esko’s workflows. PantoneLIVE delivers an end-to-end color management and color communication solution that, for the first time, addresses the needs and requirements of every single discipline within the packaging supply chain. The brand manager will see an accurate representation of on-press color early in the design process, while converters can be assured of first-time-right color proofing and easy-to-match color on press. Experience with beta sites that have been testing the solution show very positive ROIs.
In a related development to PantoneLIVE, Esko recently developed an improved ink model. This is a critical component to the definition of color from the PantoneLIVE cloud. The new ink model helps to predict how Pantone colors interact, and overprint on press. Using spectral analysis, the technology will produce an inkjet proof that shows an accurate representation of what the result of two overprinting spot colors will look like on the press.
Esko will be also be describing its ongoing efforts in remote proofing, where this technology produces the same results remotely as they do at the primary prepress site. Esko will be offering a softproofing solution first, with easy off-site calibration.
Historically, when labels are produced with hybrid printing – typically a screen or flexo press in tandem with a digital press – separate workflows are required to drive each station. That’s because each printing process requires different parameters such as inks and distortions. Esko will be introducing new automated production software that requires just one workflow to drive all the stations – with the elimination of many steps, and reduction of errors as a result.
North American premiere of latest solutions for label prepress
During Labelexpo, a raft of new solutions launched earlier this year at drupa will be shown for the first time in North America. On twelve workstations, visitors will discover a wide array of software solutions addressing label and tag artwork, management, design and prepress, color management, workflow automation and process integration. With the release of Suite 12, Esko focuses on adding value for the user by introducing new productivity and efficiency benefits. This is done by closely integrating all flagship tools and engines, by adding rich 3D functionality for a holistic experience, and by enabling mobile collaboration and web-based packaging management.
Featuring WebCenter 12, Automation Engine 12, Color Engine 12, Studio 12 and the version 12 editions of flagship editors ArtiosCAD, PackEdge, ArtPro and DeskPack, Suite 12 raises the bar for process integration from design to press, involving all players in the supply chain. It provides a complete answer to the challenges of a modern label preproduction workflow.
The Digital Finishing highlight of the event will be the new Kongsberg XN: a highly versatile and productive digital finishing table that can be configured easily for the widest range of applications from kiss-cutting to packaging mockups, heavy-duty milling and simple to complex flexo plate cutting with ID marking. This new table comes equipped with the impressive milling spindle MultiCUT-HP, boosting overall milling productivity. Along with the Kongsberg XN20 will be the Kongsberg i-XE10 Auto, a versatile and productive digital finishing system, perfect for all kinds of labels. Equipped with a stacker and sheet feeding system, the Kongsberg i-XE10 Auto finishes small-format, short-run digital printed materials, accepting sheets as large as 35.4" x 47.2".
Esko’s Digital Flexo Suite automates and improves plate preparation activities in the flexo plate room and reduces plate waste by at least 15% - as well as significantly reducing errors and labor. By nesting label artwork onto plates and cutting them automatically on the Kongsberg cutting table, printers save plate material and produce label artwork faster.
Esko digital flexo plate imaging: delivering label printers outstanding print quality
At Labelexpo, Esko will showcase its leadership in advanced digital flexo solutions. Combining CDI digital flexo imagers with HD Flexo technology, Esko has driven flexo printing to quality comparable to gravure and offset, delivering customers the high quality print results they demand. Worldwide, hundreds of HD Flexo Certified customers, digital flexo partners and vendors benefit from accurate, sharp imaging quality combined with greater consistency and full tonal range, including highlights with gradients down to zero, stable mid-tones and higher ink density solids. This means end users can have more striking and visually impressive products with all-important shelf impact. In addition, the innovative development of creating flat top dots with Inline UV generates sharper definition for outstanding image results. A wide variety of brilliant real-life label and flexible packaging samples will be presented on the stand. Also on display will be the economically priced new size of CDI 2420 for small label companies working with tight budgets.
Esko shares its passion for label printing with strong partners throughout the show HP Indigo (3223) and Esko have a close, successful strategic partnering and pioneering relationship in digital print for labels and packaging. This collaboration has been well received by converters who are making the transition to digital production in a highly competitive market. The combination of Esko’s leading workflow tools and the unmatched quality and efficiency of HP Indigo digital presses has set a lofty standard for labels and packaging. HP SmartStream Labels and Packaging workflow solutions, powered by Esko, simplify prepress and color management in digital label and packaging workflows for HP Indigo industrial presses. Advanced capabilities include color space conversions and color management, bar code generation, step & repeat and variable data capabilities. To demonstrate their partnership, on the Esko booth photos of visitors – in front of a green screen – will be taken and processed through Esko Automation Engine 12. Completed images will be sent to the HP booth, where they will be printed on an HP WS6600 digital press as personalized portraits in front of a Chicago landmark.
Next to the Esko booth, DuPont Packaging Graphics (5403) and Pitman Company will display the CDI Spark 2530, showing how plates can be imaged and labels automatically cut on the Kongsberg XN. The CDI 2530 images digital flexo plates up to 25” x 30” and comes with an incorporated plate loading table and an EasyClamp II drum for easier and faster plate loading.
Other partners, such as Anderson & Vreeland (booth 929), JV Imaging Solutions (booth 5523), Xpedx (booth 3908) and others are likely to display Esko software, CDI imagers and Kongsberg finishing tables during Labelexpo.
Esko to share its knowledge during a number of Labelexpo events
Esko is significantly involved not only with product demonstrations at its booth, but also in educational activities for the benefit of attendees.
On September 13, the Digital Printing Master Class will help label and packaging converters looking to invest in digital printing for the first time. The master class will feature key industry experts who will explore the current state of the art in digital printing, analyze the primary digital printing technologies, evaluate workflow and color management and identify in- and off-line finishing options – among other topics. Jan De Roeck, Esko director solutions management, will offer a presentation covering prepress solutions for cost efficient and profitable digital printing of labels and packaging.
Esko also participates in the Labelexpo technology workshops. This year's Laser Die Cutting workshop will feature Sei Spa, Spartanics, AB Graphic International and Delta Industrial in four workshops overseen by a neutral moderator, cutting different profiles for labels. During the workshop, Esko will be receiving web-to-print and MIS data and provide the front-end design and workflow support for all participants.
Package printing is one of the fastest growing areas in the industry. New technologies in this area will be showcased in the Package Printing Zone in a dedicated area in Hall C during three daily workshops. Preceding each session, Esko will be offering insight into the design and color management considerations for digitally printed folding cartons and in-mold labels.
“Esko has always taken a leadership role teaching printers about the nuances of package and label printing,” adds Quinlan. It’s not just enough to offer exceptional solutions. We want our customers – and the industry – to make the most of the tools they have. An educated industry is more competitive and more successful, which is good for everyone.”