Esko And EFI Combine Resources For Packaging Innovation


UK based Firstan Limited piloted a newly developed interface between the Esko Automation Engine Connect and the EFI Radius software applications.

The pilot at an independent pharmaceutical packaging and food packaging manufacturer comes two years after Firstan’s R125,8 million (£7m) investment in two Komori 18,000sph presses – a six-colour Lithrone GLX640 and a multi-unit Lithrone GLX40RP, and a Bobst Expertcut die cutting blanking machine.

Esko and EFI joined forces for the benefit of their mutual customers such as Firstan to develop a solution that would enhance functionality for the label and folding carton market segments. ‘There were two primary drivers for our discussions: process efficiency and error reduction,’ stated Lieven Plettinck, Esko’s director software engineering.

Plettinck pointed out that with print runs getting shorter and cycle times getting tighter, many companies experience excessive administrative overhead that negatively affects profitability and can even cause more time to be spent on administrative tasks than actual print production. By optimising processes so data is only entered once, flowing automatically from the MIS system to prepress, not only are administrative processes more efficient, but there is also much less opportunity for human error.

‘By addressing these two drivers simultaneously in partnership with EFI, we have been able to address these challenges more rapidly, with development taking only four months,’ Plettinck added. The result is a bundled solution that can be deployed in just five days, as proven by the Firstan pilot project. We appreciate the effort Firstan put into the pilot project. Their insight and guidance was invaluable.’

Since every company has different needs, Plettinck was quick to highlight that the bundled solution can also be easily modified to address individual and specific needs, as was accomplished for Firstan.

Dean Murden, Firstan’s IT manager, confirmed the value of the integration: ‘This was essentially a time saving and risk reduction exercise. We had duplicate data entry going on across both Esko and EFI Radius systems. Formerly, artwork approval status required manual updates in Radius. This integration enables us to make use of a much more automated workflow, from receipt of artwork through to step and repeat, while also reducing risk due to data entry error.’

Kevin Blakey EFI product director, packaging added, ‘EFI has enjoyed a highly positive relationship with both Firstan and Esko for a number of years, and this project represents an exciting step forward for the packaging industry. We are very proud to have been part of this project to deliver a highly optimised print production workflow.’

With the integration of Automation Engine with EFI Radius, Esko has taken another important step toward creating a Packaging Connected workflow that will help move the packaging industry into a more automated future. Seamlessly connecting the workflow and power of Automation Engine with EFI Radius through an out-of-the-box approach to implementation enables rapid deployment and speedy return on investment through increased time savings and reduced errors.

This standard integration solution is now commercially available.

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