04 Oct 2022

SAi integrates workflow enhancements and QR creator into Flexi


SAi has introduced a new range of performance-enhancing finishing tools, an Integrated QR Code Creator, and new drivers and upgrades for its flagship SAi Flexi signmaking software.

Integrated finishing tools for faster job processing and improved workflow

With the new tools for SAi Flexi, sign and large format print providers can reduce the time taken to finish pop-up and hanging banners, thereby adding value and boosting productivity and profitability.

Through SAi Flexi RIP software, print service providers can add grommet, fold and stitch marks as well as bleeds to their banner jobs. By handling this operation in the RIP, the design step in the workflow is eliminated, making it much faster and more cost-effective to produce pop-up signs that require bleeds or pole-hanging banners needing fold areas. Even complicated mirror and duplicate bleeds can be handled with ease. By eliminating manual design and measuring, print service providers can save between 5-15 minutes on each banner, while accuracy is also greatly improved.

The grommet tool makes it easy for printer operators to add grommets to banners, flags and other hanging applications and quickly and accurately position punch holes when inserting rings. The grommet tool offers full control: users can define size; specify the number of grommets required (by distance or by number); set the distance for each edge independently; select a circle with or without fill, and change the color depending on the image background. All of these benefits are achieved with real-time in-RIP preview, allowing results to be evaluated before printing.

Folds and bleeds are common in roll-up displays and banner frames when extra material is needed at the top, bottom and / or sides. Depending on the specific design and application, the extra material may be a white space fold, a bleed of a solid color or a continuation of the image – or a combination of fold and bleed.

For folds, users can input the size of the extra white space independently for all four sides; choose to print a frame around the fold, and specify a solid, dashed or dotted stitch line in any color.

The Bleed tool gives users several options to continue the image: using solid color, mirroring the image nearest the edge where the fold occurs, or repeating the last line of the image. The bleed width can be set in the same way as folds and the option to switch off printing in the corners is also available. This helps users to define where the corners of a banner should be cut when it is stretched over a frame.

It is also possible to combine the finishing tools with other features such as tiling and nesting.

Integrated QR Code Creator

SAi Flexi also offers a new QR Code Creator, which enables fast and easy QR code creation by automatically converting text into a QR code. Designers can generate codes for web-links, email addresses, phone numbers and SMS messages without the need to download QR code images. In addition, another useful feature enables the creation of QR codes for Google Map locations.

The new QR Code Creator integrates with Flexi’s Auto Serialization Tool for printing a sequence of interactive banners. This adds a new dimension – and value – to banners when multiple versions are being printed while keeping the workflow running quickly and smoothly.

New printer and cutter drivers from major manufacturers are also part of the package of enhancements to ensure that users are output device independent.

“Print and sign buyers are always looking for something new, and SAi Flexi’s Finishing Tools, along with the QR Code Creator, means that we are able to give our customers the ability to meet those demands and help them remain competitive and profitable,” says Sarit Tichon, Senior VP Worldwide Sales at SAi.

All tools and features will be available at no extra cost to subscribers to SAi Flexi* from the end of October. The new tools, comprising Service Pack 6 for SAi Flexi 11, can be purchased and added to some product levels.

* For Flexi Design, QR Code Creator only

Caldera launches V10 of its RIP and outlines key benefits


The tenth edition of Caldera's feature-packed printer control software will 'liberate' today's print houses through productivity, connectivity and modernity, the French developer reveals today. Leading on the freedom to develop and create dynamic new applications, V10 of the popular suite doubles previous average RIP speeds to provide printers of all sizes and types with the independence to print what they wish without having to sacrifice speed or complexity.

V10 unleashes the power of smart algorithmic processing, APPE 3.3 and new remote management capabilities within a svelte yet fully-featured new interface. Designed for ergonomy and efficiency, it allows users to streamline their screen to focus only on live tasks, while icons and markers have been standardised throughout in a modern style. Caldera's use of HTML5 provides cross-platform, cross-OS support for remote management via new module

VisualRemote which recognise the nature of today's print room by providing different levels of off-site access to operators.

"In the latest version of Caldera, we have considered at length the way companies deploy their RIP, both now and also over the course of the product's lifetime," explains Caldera's Chief Technical Officer, Frédéric Soulier. "V10 marries new usability concepts with major advances in raw speed, making it, we believe, the RIP of choice for this exciting era of applications development within and outside the graphic arts."

Caldera's vision of interoperability recognises that the RIP must work in tandem with the other software business owners have researched and selected to facilitate their operations. Its new version frames task automation and data connectivity in single-click pathways from within the Ul: for example, QuickPrint allows a user to push a job to print using a preset configuration. V10 can also be used in conjunction with Caldera's JDF toolkit, Nexio, to create connections with MIS, accounting and logistics software, enabling simplicity through advanced data management and the foundations of a unified workflow. Users may add QR Codes alongside the print, with an automated cut path where required, to facilitate this functionality.

The inclusion of APPE 3.3 marries this upgrade with the benefits of 64bit data handling. Users can now RIP massive files which, previously, were limited by a lack of onboard memory, leveraging their processor's full active memory to provide additional efficiencies across the full job queue. Files with transparency and overprinting benefit particularly by processing consistently three times faster than previously in live production environments, although this increases to a blistering 50 times for some files.

In line with customer polling, other features have been recontextualised within Caldera to support operator logic and ease of use. Production overview tool PrintBoard – formerly an application of Variable Display – now becomes an intrinsic element of the RIP, allowing users to see job and production status at a glance through a web-based application and extending its use into the realm of remote monitoring. Smaller but nevertheless nifty features have been reallocated within the RIP; grommets and eyelets can be added to artwork from within the Print module, while advanced wall graphics visualisation is accessible through a new Tiling+ module. Update notifications have been gathered in a single area and are automated, ensuring that critical updates reach the user rapidly, while, in a similar vein, profiles can be accessed from within a new library directly within EasyMedia.

Version 10 now integrates various successful modules within the heart of its interface. Contour Nesting and Tex&Repeat, which transfer printers' skills into the textile, wallpaper, ceramics, glass, wood and CAD areas, are now embedded within the RIP, while PrintBoard has been converted into a one-look browser-based snapshot of operational status, extending it beyond digital signage into the realm of remote monitoring.

"Finally, ink-jet technology is starting to realise its full potential," explains Joseph Mergui, Chief Executive Officer, Caldera. "We can now print to more surfaces, in more situations, than ever before. The most exciting areas of print are those yet to be brought to life, but the technology required to create them starts here. For our users, that is with V10 of Caldera."

Wasatch SoftRIP helps create the 'Sistine Chapel of Rotterdam'

The Rotterdam Market Hall, scheduled to open this October, will be the first open-concept food market in the Netherlands. The building is a horseshoe-shaped arch with a one of a kind ceiling that has been called the "Sistine Chapel of Rotterdam". With the help of Wasatch SoftRIP, TS Visuals took on printing the artwork for this spectacular ceiling. You can watch how the sublimated panels were created and installed here.

Sistine Chapel of Rotterdam
The Rotterdam Market will feature unique fresh produce stands, food markets, cafés, a cooking school, and over 200 apartments. The 11,000 square metre piece of art will cover the unique arch-shaped ceiling and will be visible throughout the entire market. TS Visuals teamed up with Dutch artist, Arno Coenen, for the artwork, 'Horn of Plenty', which gives off an illusion that one is looking through the hall to heaven with produce and flowers descending to earth.

Creating a masterpiece this size is no easy task. The hall's ceiling was put together with a series of sublimated metal panels. The metal panels and coating were designed by TS Visuals. Each panel is lightweight and bendable with a high gloss coating that has anti-graffiti properties and is scratch resistant. For the hall, the metal panels were perforated for sound-dampening properties. A total of 4,000 panels were sublimated, each with a unique high-resolution image. Many panels were bent to accommodate the arch of the hall, giving an almost 3D effect to the art.

Colour Consistency
With a project this size, it is crucial that TS Visuals was able to achieve colour consistency with every panel they sublimated. Wasatch SoftRIP's colour management features gave them the ability to achieve this. With SoftRIP's Colour Atlas Generator and Spot Colour Replacement, TS Visuals was able to match spot colours and easily reproduce the desired colour on the metal panels. The end result is accurate, high quality colour. "SoftRIP is reliable and gave us the tools we needed to print the desired colour every time with no troubles," says Vincent Post, Commercial Advisor for TS Visuals.

Efficient Workflow
Using SoftRIP's tiling tools, TS Visuals was able to easily divide the oversized artwork for printing on the individual metal panels. After the selected artwork is tiled, Vincent used SoftRIP's Smart Nesting tools to maximise the print layout of the tiled image. And by adding crop marks and annotations to all tiled images, they were able to save time and avoid possible confusion when transferring the image. "The tiling and nesting features in SoftRIP saved us a lot of time and is so simple to use," says Vincent.

About TS Visuals
For more than 10 years, TS Visuals has specialised in large format printing and dye sublimation. With further support from Aga Print Solutions, TS Visuals' claim to fame is their incredible sublimated solutions. A dedicated research department at TS Visuals designs light durable metal panels, glass, steel, wood, and other coated hard surfaces for sublimation that can be cut into any shape. They make photographers, artists, interior designers, and architects idea's come to life. TS Visuals is based in the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.tsvisuals.nl

Global Graphics launches Harlequin RIP Partner Network

Global Graphics is launching a formal partner programme to bring together the 'ecosystem' of software developers whose products are designed to work with the Harlequin RIP.

The Harlequin Partner Network formally recognises the growing community of third-party software developers whose products are used in the same print workflow as the Harlequin RIP or alongside it inside a Digital Front End. There are hundreds of thousands of Harlequin RIP installations worldwide and the Partner Program is designed to maximise the value of the Harlequin RIP to those users. It creates a framework for third-party vendors to develop and integrate their products more efficiently so giving print shops access to a broad workflow of products from multiple vendors.

Initial members include Pageflex, Color-Logic, Ultimate TechnoGraphics, Hamillroad Software, Bodoni Systems, Dynagram and Alwan. Global Graphics expects the network to expand steadily over time to include vendors of products used in newsprint and publishing, direct mail, packaging and wide format graphics: “The Harlequin RIP has an extensive installed base worldwide, offering an extremely rewarding ecosystem for a business to develop and market add-on applications that are tied to the RIP,” notes Martin Bailey, Global Graphics Chief Technology Officer. “There are already many third-party products designed to work with the Harlequin RIP that we are aware of but there could be many others who would benefit from joining. With the Harlequin Partner Network we are building a cooperative environment in which software developers can thrive. It offers companies the opportunity to learn, share, innovate and enjoy increased success”

Network members can request copies of the Harlequin RIP for use in their test labs, together with extensive documentation, and will receive alerts about upcoming releases and enhancements so that they can accelerate development of their own products. They will also have a limited amount of access to Global Graphics support teams and product management and the opportunity to influence and take part in co-marketing programmes. Members are permitted to display the Harlequin Partner Network logo on their web sites to indicate that they are a member of the programme and a new section on the Global Graphics web site is dedicated to listing member products and news.

The partners already signed up for the program have expressed very strong support of the network.

“We are thrilled to part of the new Harlequin Partner Network,” says Leslie Wengenroth, Director of Marketing at Pageflex. “The Harlequin RIP is known throughout the industry for its robust architecture and excellent performance. There are numerous synergies between the Harlequin platform and our solutions for variable data composition, web-to-print, and multi-channel marketing, and we look forward to a productive relationship.”

“Over the last five or so years we have worked very closely with Global Graphics, especially with regards to the development of our Auraia DM screening product. The new Harlequin Partner Network program really does formalise and encapsulate the very real and tangible benefits of everything that we’ve experienced over those years,” comments Andy Cave, CEO, Hamillroad Software. “In my opinion, if you have an idea for a product that would enhance a RIP, no matter how large or small, there is no other RIP in the world that you should look at, or company you should talk to when deciding your route to market.”

“Ultimate is glad to join Global Graphics new partner programme and get to know the new developments first-hand,” said Joanne David, President/CEO of Ultimate TechnoGraphics. “We are leveraging the nice Harlequin architecture with our high-volume solution called Impostrip Scalable used in large RIP farms such as the HP Ultra Print Server and we are looking forward to see where this closed partnership will take us next.”

According to Mark Geeves, Color-Logic Director of Sales and Marketing: “Color-Logic is pleased to be among the initial Harlequin partners. The Harlequin RIP is among the most advanced in the industry. We have been working to ensure that with the Harlequin RIP and Color-Logic technology, OEMs ensure their digital print customers can use white ink on metallic substrates and eliminate the onerous task of creating white ink masks.”

Companies who wish to join the Harlequin Partner Network can do so by visiting the website at www.globalgraphics.com/harlequin-partner-network.

Print shops using Harlequin technology will be able to look up which technology is complementary to their RIP from the list of partners and their products on the Global Graphics web site.

Newest-version EFI Fiery proServer Creates a 7X Speed Improvement in Inkjet Graphics File Processing

EFI Fiery proServer 6

EFI has today announced worldwide availability for the company’s latest-version wide- and superwide-format inkjet Fiery proServer. Designed for EFI VUTEk® printers, EFI Fiery® proServer Version 6 is an advanced digital front end system to drive wide- to superwide-format inkjet printers. It features the Fiery Accelerated System Technology (FAST) RIP, which processes PDF files up to seven times faster than before. More than a RIP, the proServer provides a high-performance color management workflow, supports FOGRA PSD Print Check and is compatible with more than 540 printers from numerous major manufacturers.

“Fiery proServer 6 is a truly innovative addition to the world of wide- and superwide-format printing,” said John Henze, vice president of marketing for EFI Fiery. “It represents the first time EFI FAST RIP technology has been available to the inkjet production market, which provides a unique performance benefit. This release marks a new age of high-performance production front ends for the sign and display graphics market.”

Reliable processing at blazing speeds

This latest version of the Fiery proServer made its debut at the FESPA Digital tradeshow earlier this year. FAST RIP, an EFI-developed acceleration technology, improves processing for the Adobe PDF Print Engine as well as the Adobe Post Script Interpreter (CPSI). A combination of file compression algorithms and efficient memory management redefines how complex images are analyzed. The result is industry-leading performance with blazing fast PDF processing times, factors that make a clear difference in an industry where a significant amount of signage work consists of single-copy jobs.

According to Mitch Konstantinovic of Kamset, a U.K.-based print shop that is among the very first companies to upgrade to Fiery proServer 6, “The Fiery proServer is much, much faster than other RIPs. The proServer removes the great frustration of having a lot to print and watching the printer idling. FAST RIP is a complete game-changer -- we don't like using others any longer.”

More Than a RIP

“While we are extremely excited about bringing the performance improvements of FAST RIP technology to sign and display graphics printers,” Henze stated, “We are also very pleased to be offering a number of additional innovations in this release.”

The newly available Fiery proServer 6 supports Fogra PSD Print Checks, giving users the ability to serve even the most demanding customers. A dynamic smoothing feature ensures superior gradient output regardless of the file type or printer used, while advanced spot- and process-color optimization features increase color accuracy, making it easy to achieve precise and predictable prints.

EFI has enhanced usability around tiling as well: Tile mounting is much faster, more accurate, and more efficient so users waste less time and material. All of Fiery proServer 6’s new features, combined with the faster processing times, reduce idle times for printer capital investments and return benefits directly to the user’s bottom line.

Fiery proServer 6’s bidirectional job definition format (JDF) link provides information about the printer status, job status and consumables usage to EFI’s Pace™ management information system as well as to EFI Digital StoreFront® and Online Print Solutions web-to-print software. As a result, users can create an end-to-end, automated workflow that eliminates touch points while improving speed and accuracy.

The upgrade to Fiery proServer 6 is available at no charge to all existing proServer customers who have a valid Software Maintenance and Support agreement, or an Enhanced Software Program with Fiery XF coverage, in place. Others can acquire Fiery proServer 6 directly from EFI.

For more information about Fiery proServer 6 and other EFI products, visit www.efi.com

InnoMark Communications Targeting Efficiency in Comprehensive Production with EFI Radius Software

EFI Radius RIP Software Workflow

EFI™ announced that InnoMark Communications has selected EFI Radius ERP software to unify and manage business data and operations across its 11 facilities. Fairfield, Ohio, USA-based InnoMark selected the packaging and converting industry's  number one ERP system based on its best-in-class tools for streamlined, multi-plant management and the technical capabilities Radius gives users to direct an extensive range of finishing and fulfilment processes.

Radius ERP software, which will be implemented in phases starting later this year, replaces a series of programs and spreadsheet applications in use at various InnoMark plants, legacy systems that were in place at the individual companies InnoMark has acquired over the past 15 years. After examining software options in the marketplace, an evaluation team led by InnoMark Communications ERP Implementation Director Joseph Roberts determined that EFI Radius offered the best capabilities to unify the company's decentralised business workflow structure.

"EFI Radius's multi-plant capabilities, and the ability it will give us to seamlessly transfer jobs between facilities, were key factors in our decision," said Roberts. "We found that Radius had the most accurate and efficient technology for tracking revenue across plants, and that will help us better serve customers."

Radius will be especially beneficial for managing many of the large, national retail signage and packaging jobs InnoMark produces, as those jobs all transfer from different screen, litho, flexo and digital print facilities to a main hub for die-cutting, lamination, kitting and fulfilment. The software modules and features InnoMark has with its purchase, including EFI Process Shipper software and integrated support for Esko ArtiosCAD 3-D design software, will allow the company to be even more prepared for its extensive finishing workload and complex fulfilment requests.

Flexible estimating and scheduling for enhanced customer service.

Streamlined scheduling and management across all of the company's facilities will help reduce turnaround times and facilitate faster, more accurate billing. Radius software also will help the company enhance its sales and marketing efforts, ultimately creating a centralised platform for estimating and scheduling that will make it easier to compare print methods to find the best solution based on client deadline, budget or run length requirements.

EFI Radius inventory management tools, including shop floor data collection, will help InnoMark get substrates where they need to go for less press downtime. "Turnaround times in this industry are quick, so it was important that the solution we picked is strong in inventory management," Roberts said. "If we need a particular type of board or a 100 lb. text (140 g/m2) stock in one plant and we have it in another plant, Radius will give us the information we need to identify those situations in advance, move substrates where they need to go and eliminate production delays."

Tracking down trends using better business intelligence

The company also will use the data it collects from its operations to give senior managers better, real-time information about operations using EFI's award-winning Business Intelligence module. "The Business Intelligence module will be an important feature," said Roberts, "because it will give us the big picture information we need to track down trends."

With its robust technology for planning and managing nearly every converting, die-cutting, laminating, folding and gluing process, EFI Radius is the leading business software for the package printing industry. Those comprehensive features can provide substantial benefits for InnoMark - a leading print, fabrication and fulfilment provider that produces large-format, die-cut, laminated point-of-sale displays for some of the world's best-known retail brands and performs high-volume folding carton and label converting work for the cosmetics, software/gaming and pharmaceutical industries.

"We are very excited to be working with a company that has the manufacturing scale and expertise that InnoMark Communications offers," said David Taylor, general manager, EFI Radius. "Our recent product development, particularly with the Business Intelligence tool, will allow InnoMark to take control of its operations, smooth the business workflow and deliver higher returns. Visibility into the transactional data is the key to increased profitability."

EFI Radius is part of a complete EFI Productivity Software portfolio of print MIS/ERP software, eCommerce and web-to-print solutions. Printing and packaging professionals across the globe rely on EFI Productivity Software products to manage their businesses and become more streamlined, efficient, informed and profitable.

For more information about EFI Radius, visit www.efi.com