25 Jun 2024

Esko software helps Data Image Group Ltd achieve 30% year-on-year growth

What is the secret for sign and display operations to maintain a year-on-year growth in spite of current market challenges? For Data Image Group Ltd, it is the longstanding and mutually beneficial relationship with Esko.

Data Image Group Ltd is a UK provider of large format graphic and point of sale services for the cosmetics, fashion, retail and automotive industries. The company has continuously grown its business 30% annually thanks to constantly reviewing best production practices and investing in solutions such as Esko’s Automation Engine and i-cut Suite that enable them to enhance services and broaden capabilities. “We have been able to continue to grow in terms of sales while human interaction with jobs has been dramatically reduced,” explains Robert Farfort, Data Image Director: “With Automation Engine in particular, we have seen a significant cut in the number of errors on jobs plus the time and cost benefits that delivers. We are much more productive.”

Continued investment in the future

Data Image Group Ltd has a long-standing relationship with Esko beginning with an investment in Odystar, a highly automated pre-press workflow solution and over the years, the company also implemented automation software to automate the imposition of different jobs while maximising production and minimising waste. It also helped reduce errors by over 90% and almost eliminated downtime.

Today, Data Image Group Ltd is successfully running Esko's Automation Engine. "We are more profitable because we spend less time on artworking. And we improved our competiveness by adding more value. The tools we have in place help us reduce costs and automate job throughput. This means we have greater flexibility in job handling - and we can go for more work!" comments Mr. Farfort. "We automate from the quote. From an iExcel spreadsheet over estimation, importation, creation of a job docket to artwork - all human touchpoints are reduced. We want the capabilities of our highly skilled team to be used in the most productive way. This is why automating as many manual processes as possible is essential to our strategy of being a highly profitable company.”

A collaborative approach to profitability

Data Image’s newest investment is Esko WebCenter for greater file sharing and job collaboration, resulting in faster approvals and reduced turnaround times. “Because customers are now confident that files can be handled with minimal errors, saving them time and effort, they are much more open to online co-operation,” explains Mr. Farfort.

WebCenter is also a launch pad for the company into 3D CAD work: “3D is a new venture for us,” Mr. Farfort continues. “It was always an area we wanted to go into, and with Store Visualizer we could. Our customers love it! Everyone involved in the project can see how their product will look like and view the designs. It's quick and easy to make amends if needed and sign off the design. This is a very powerful selling tool, offering more conceptual designs with greater freedom.”

The success of this element of the business also prompted Data Image to invest in a Kongsberg XP 44 digital cutting table. “We have other cutting tables but the high level of integration of Esko’s 3D CAD software with the Kongsberg means jobs can be completed faster and with fewer errors. Set up times are virtually eliminated while it excels with than handling of re-board and the quality of creasing. Combined, Esko's Kongsberg table and software are a self-contained production element.”

Winning the sales

Data Image’s commitment to operational-wide improvements has positively impacted sales: “A lot of us are just looking for an easy life and often we can win work on being the first to deliver,” says Mr Farfort. “Fast approvals and quick deliveries can be all-important and help us win repeat orders.”
Data Image’s relationship with Esko also gives clients a sense of an elevated proposition: “Our customers recognize that we are always looking to improve the way we work and how we can support them,” concludes Mr. Farfort. “Esko is a stable company with many resources to support the products brought to market and to us as a customer. That gives us the confidence to make changes that ultimately make us grow.”

For more information, please visit www.esko.com

Enfocus announces Connect 11 family to create and deliver perfect PDFs

Enfocus, the creator of the PDF preflight and editing standard, PitStop Pro, has announced the new Connect 11 product family.  Enfocus Connect 11 combines PDF creation and quality control with hassle-free file delivery for the graphic arts professional. There are two editions in the family, Connect YOU for designers and Connect ALL for service providers or creative organisations that work with many outside clients. Connect 11 will be available in the 3rd quarter, 2013.

Streamlining consistent file delivery between designer and service providers

Creating a PDF from most applications is not a huge challenge but ensuring that it is a press-ready PDF for professional output still is. Connect 11 is designed to bridge the gap between creative and production professionals by helping designers deliver high-quality jobs right the first time, with no IT or PDF skills required. This saves valuable time in production and helps avoid costly mistakes.

“What’s unique about Connect 11 is that it addresses the most common problems with PDF files at the source – on the designer’s workstation, where they can be easily fixed,” said Michael Reiher, Connect product manager at Enfocus. “By controlling the overall PDF creation process, and tying it to the correction and preflight capabilities of the built-in PitStop technology, common issues such as missing fonts, low-resolution images and other common problems are easily addressed before the PDF files are received for production,” continued Reiher.

Connect with quality

Enfocus Connect creates easy-to-use applets called Connectors, that sit on the user’s desktop and which have all the necessary settings contained within them.

Connectors can be created that handle:

  • One-click perfect PDF creation through Adobe® Creative Suite® or the print option of any other application, using Adobe® Normalizer technology built into the Connector
  • Automatic PDF correction and enhancement based on Enfocus PitStop Action Lists
  • PDF verification using Enfocus PitStop Preflight Profiles
  • Custom job ticket generation to help automate downstream processes
  • Secure, completely automatic delivery of PDF or any other file type to (S)FTP, HTTP, email, or directly into an Enfocus Switch automated flow

Connectors created with Connect can be easily customised to provide all of the features possible, or just a small sub-set. If necessary they can be set up by skilled professionals and then handed over to any user

Flexible solutions for all creative professionals

Connect 11 will be delivered in two editions. Connect YOU is a highly affordable single-user product for creative individuals. Connect ALL is for creative organisations, as well as print service providers that can use Connect to generate Connectors that they can supply to their outside clients. In that case customers can only use the Connector to deliver files to their service provider. Both versions share the same functionality and have the same code base. However Connect ALL can create Connectors that can optionally be custom branded and freely distributed to outside clients, whereas Connect YOU is limited to making Connectors that run on a single workstation.

Connect YOU replaces the long established Enfocus Instant PDF, which is widely used to create, verify and upload PDFs and other files. Connect YOU offers significantly greater functionality, including the ability to generate PDFs from any application, as well as easy applet operations and compatibility with the latest operating systems and Adobe® Creative Suite® versions. Connect ALL replaces PitStop Connect by offering a new level of PDF creation and quality control, along with job delivery automation.

Full details of the Connect product line can be found on the Enfocus website. In addition, Enfocus will hold a series of free webinars introducing the new product family.  Schedules and guidelines on how to sign up for the webinars are available on the Enfocus website: http://www.enfocus.com/en/webinars.

Availability and prices

Connect 11 will be available in the 3rd quarter of 2013. Connect YOU will be available for €99. Enfocus Instant PDF customers will be made a special offer and can purchase or pre-order the new Connect YOU product for only €79 until September 30th, 2013 as of today. Users having purchased or upgraded to Instant PDF 10 since January 1st, 2013 to the ship date will be entitled to a free Connect YOU when available. Connect ALL will be available for €2,999. Users having purchased or upgraded to PitStop Connect 10 since January 1st, 2013 to the ship date will be entitled to a free Connect ALL when available.

For more information on Connect 11 or how to purchase, please visit your local Enfocus reseller, or email sales@enfocus.com.

Corel to showcase CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X6 at FESPA

Corel will be showcasing its flagship product, CorelDRAW® Graphics Suite X6, at FESPA 2013.  Corel will offer free live demos, daily workshops, an exclusive promotion and an opportunity to get your questions answered on stand E48eN.

FESPA 2013 offers Corel a unique opportunity to demonstrate its award-winning software. The show features the very latest equipment and consumables in the digital printing, screen printing and digital signage industries. Daily workshops, hosted by Corel, give users the chance to pick up new skills directly from the experts.

Corel's marketing manager James Phillips comments, “We are really excited about exhibiting at FESPA 2013 and where better to be than in London, one of the design capitals of the world? We will be offering free training sessions for our current users plus workshops designed to introduce CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X6 to prospects. There will be lots of opportunity to ask questions too and we look forward to welcoming visitors on to the Corel stand.”

Corel has also announced that it will be offering an exclusive 20% discount on CorelDRAW® Graphics Suite X6 which will be available for £299.99 ex. VAT during the FESPA 2013 show.

Enfocus adds major image and blend editing capabilities to PitStop 12 family

New image and blend editing and correction features are being added to PitStop Pro 12, the latest release of Enfocus’ flagship PDF preflight and correction tools, due for release in September 2013. PitStop Pro 12 enables users to fix last-minute problems in seconds and improves the efficiency of PDF editing workflows dramatically. PitStop Server 12, the automated PDF processor, can now apply pre-set image enhancement Actions and also gains the industry standard Adobe® transparency flattening engine as well as true 64-bit operations for greater memory access. Customers purchasing or upgrading to PitStop Pro / Server 11 as of today will be entitled to a free upgrade to PitStop Pro / Server 12, until the actual release date.

PitStop Pro is already used by 130,000 users worldwide to correct typographic errors, change colour spaces and fix dozens of other PDF problems. Now PitStop Pro 12 adds advanced new image and blend adjustment tools that enable easy last-minute corrections to individual image items, multiple images or all images within a PDF page or document.

“At Enfocus we take pride in listening to what customers have to say,” says Andrew Bailes-Collins, Senior Product Manager at Enfocus. “We have invested a lot of effort in surveys and ‘Voice of the customer’ interviews. From surveys and market trends we learned that PitStop users are mainly interested in new editing capabilities within PitStop Pro. In this release we have focused on creating new tools to support these needs. During surveys, users were able to rate newly suggested functionality and could tell us which features they liked most. Based on this feedback Enfocus decided to build this new version.”

New editing tools in PitStop Pro 12

“With PitStop Pro 12, users can edit and correct images and blends without having to leave PitStop Pro and go into an external editor such as Photoshop® or Illustrator®,” says Bailes-Collins. “Once changes are made to images, you can immediately preview the results, saving you crucial time when it matters.”

PitStop Pro 12 can even edit images that cannot be easily edited in any other way, such as those that include spot color, duotone, tritone and other Device-N color spaces. Image adjustments can be applied to single images, multiple images, or all images within a PDF file. The new image editing options are also available as Actions in PitStop Pro and PitStop Server, so they can be added to Preflight Profiles or Action Lists to automate repetitive image corrections for your own production requirements.

Overview of new editing tools:

  • Image curve editor
  • Brightness/contrast adjustment
  • Unsharp Masking (USM)
  • Blend editor

Besides the new editing tools, PitStop Pro 12 introduces a new ‘group/ungroup’ functionality to make overall editing much easier and more efficient.
The new version also comes with a new ‘align objects tool’ that allows multiple selected objects to be easily aligned. This new functionality also allows spacing between selected elements to be equalised or standardised.

New features in PitStop Server 12

PitStop Server is intended for automatic preflight and correction of PDF files as they are received by publishers or print service providers. The new PitStop Server 12 now uses the industry standard Adobe® transparency flattening engine. This ensures consistency with flattening performedexternally in Adobe® Creative Suite®, Acrobat® Distiller® or APPE pre-press workflows.

It also benefits from the extended image enhancement features of PitStop Pro 12. The new PitStop Server 12 is supplied with two new automatic image enhancement Actions: Brightness/Contrast and Unsharp Masking. It can also use recorded image curve editing Actions from PitStop Pro.

Both Windows and Mac OS X versions of PitStop Server 12 are now fully 64-bit enabled, which allow them access to the maximum amount of RAM available on the processing platform. This is important for faster processing of very large or complex PDF files.

Both PitStop Pro and Server 12 gain Brazilian Portuguese as an additional language option. This is available in both the menus and the Preflight Reports.

Availability and price

PitStop Pro 12 and PitStop Server 12 will be released in September 2013. Beginning immediately, users purchasing or upgrading to PitStop Pro / Server 11 now will be entitled to a free upgrade to PitStop Pro / Server 12, until the actual release date.

For more information, please visit www.enfocus.com

Caldera to launch VisualTEX+ textile printing solution at FESPA 2013

Software developer Caldera will highlight its innovation in print technology at this year's FESPA Digital show (stand D20S) with the launch of its latest product, VisualTEX+. Created as an easy-to-use entry-level solution for PSPs looking to diversify into printed fabrics, as well as an indispensable tool for pattern designers, Caldera says that VisualTEX+ is 'expected to be a highlight' of this year's FESPA in London.

With custom-designed textiles in higher demand than ever, the potential for digital printers to capitalise on this market is huge, and with VisualTEX+ high-margin markets like interior décor are put within easy reach. VisualTEX+ comprises two key features to help PSPs break into the lucrative arena of digitally-printed fabrics: Step&Repeat, which streamlines the process of creating an accurately-repeating pattern, and a Custom Inkset tool for creating and managing new inksets.

Harnessing Caldera's in-depth technical knowledge of digital printing technologies, VisualTEX+ gives designers an accessible yet powerful textile printing solution. Where in the past side-by-side pattern repetition on textiles has been difficult to produce cleanly, VisualTEX+'s Step&Repeat module automatically optimises the pattern layout by applying a shift, pivoting or inverting to ensure precise pattern matching.

The Colorations plug-in for Adobe Photoshop component of the new VisualTEX+ software simplifies the process of creating multiple colour options from the same pattern. For pattern designers, this feature presents a compelling opportunity to increase revenue by offering a single design in a whole spectrum of colour schemes, and for printers, Colorations is an ideal tool for the effortless creation of swatch books or printed fabric samples in multiple colours.

Commenting on the ground-breaking new software, Sebastien Hanssens, Vice President of marketing and communication at Caldera, says, "VisualTEX+ is a real first for the wide-format printing market. Until now fabric printing has been a highly specialised area, but with many manufacturers of digital ink-jet printers now developing machines specifically for textile printing, it's clear that the sector is there to be taken advantage of. With VisualTEX+ and GrandTEX+, Caldera aims to facilitate entry into this market for everyone."

Contex announces free upgrade to Nextimage 3.1 software

Contex has announced a a free upgrade to Nextimage version 3.1 which adds several new and enhanced features, including an enhanced adaptive thresholding algorithm and new spot-on auto-sizing. Additionally, Nextimage 3.1 now boasts drivers for Océ's wide format printer range, including Océ PlotWave, Océ ColorWave, TCS, and TDS series, and for the EPSON SC-T wide format printer. Nextimage 3.1 is available immediately and a 30-day trial can be downloaded online.

"Contex is constantly striving to create better, more precise, and more efficient products," comments Steve Blanken, GM, Contex Americas. "The new Nextimage 3.1 software delivers in all of these areas."

Nextimage's enhancements to the adaptive thresholding algorithm improves the users' experience for scanning both old and new monochrome documents by cleaning the background while preserving details in the greyscale. The new auto-size algorithm ensures higher quality scans by precisely determining the width of documents against the background. The algorithm also optimizes documents that have very fine lines and fills.

Other improvements to Nextimage 3.1 include support for 64-bit TWAIN clients, support for the Canon iPF760/765, and added bi-directional communication with Canon printers via LAN.