Esko Announces New Solutions

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Esko has announced the expansion of its portfolio with a broad array of new and powerful flexo platemaking solutions.

These include:

  • WebCenter QuickStart for Labels and Automation Engine QuickStart for Labels, two new turnkey workflow solutions to streamline the entire process from order to production and facilitate simpler label production.
  • Automated flexo platemaking integrated into the Automation Engine prepress workflow; as Automation Engine customers look to expand capabilities, this option is available as an upgrade.
  • The introduction of the Esko XPS Crystal 4835 UV exposure unit and the Esko CDI Crystal 4835 imaging unit for narrow to mid-web flexo applications including flexible packaging. Award winning technologies bring clear advantages and address the needs of the industry for faster turnarounds and superior, consistent quality.

The announcement was made and the solutions were showcased at Labelexpo 2017.

Today, label converters are increasingly challenged. Shorter runs, shorter lead times, higher and more consistent print quality, and 100% regulatory compliance are a given. These parameters are driving ever-faster adoption of digital label technologies by label converters. The logical result is that more converters are recognising the need to bring prepress in-house. This is the only way to efficiently feed their digital presses, take time out of the production process, and gain greater control over the production of flexo plates.

Shorter print run lengths and shortened delivery times require flexo plates to be ready faster within a reliable delivery window, this is the ultimate solution to ensure print production is not jeopardised by press downtime waiting for plates. To support this, Esko has taken the innovative approach of moving operational control further upstream to the prepress department by integrating the platemaking process with the prepress workflow.

Geert de Proost, director solutions marketing stated, “With our new flexo platemaking solutions, we ensure that flexo printing maintains its prominent position and is ready for the business challenges of label and flexo converters today.’

This is accomplished by the introduction of Automation Engine Quick Start for Labels, a turnkey workflow solution for label converters that includes a subset of the full Automation Engine capabilities, enabling implementation of a proven automated workflow in just one week. In addition, the full Automation Engine solution now includes a platemaking module that enables control of the platemaking process from prepress, further streamlining the label production process while reducing labour requirements and plate waste.

Automation Engine QuickStart for Labels is an out-of-the-box pre-configured workflow bundle that addresses the majority of the essential prepress tasks for labels, no matter what printing technology is used – digital (toner and inkjet), flexo, offset or gravure. It is the ideal solution for label converters that want to start prepress automation without the need for an extensive implementation process or in-house workflow specialists. It includes tasks such as preflighting, adding and checking barcodes and content, trapping, step-and-repeat, marks and control strips as well as automated reports.

Another new turnkey solution, WebCenter QuickStart for Labels, controls the management of data within the system and fully digitises and streamlines communication and collaboration from project briefing to the production floor. With full automation and visibility, it allows users to follow the audit trail of existing printed and digital assets, speeding the approval cycle with a built-in graphic viewer for both 2D and 3D assets. Work in progress, status and device queues are monitored and presented visually in an easy-to-understand browser-based dashboard.

Automation Engine enables a fully-automated platemaking workflow. With Device Manager, anyone that needs to know what the status of a job is in the device queue can do this from the comfort of their desks, eliminating the need to check on progress at the device itself. Jobs can quickly and easily be placed in queues, and queues can be modified as needed. This automation not only saves valuable operator time, minimising the need for them to spend time on interactive and time-consuming tasks, but it virtually eliminates errors in the platemaking process and speeds time to press. Most importantly, this automated platemaking workflow enables converting operations to better meet growing customer demand for higher quality and shorter cycle times, increasing customer service levels.

The new and award-winning Esko XPS Crystal technology is a digitally controlled UV LED exposure device that provides near simultaneous main and back exposure in a single operation. As part of a complete automated platemaking system linking to a CDI imaging unit, the new XPS Crystal 4835 delivers a superior flexo plate for the narrow web market, capable of imaging at the highest quality levels. The plates are placed onto the glass surface, where accurate back and main exposures by patented LED UV light technology allow precise control with no further operator intervention. The consistent light source delivers unmatched image consistency and perfectly formed dots.

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