08 Apr 2020

IQ Partners with Enfocus to address the missing link in production automation


Enfocus, the leading provider of PDF preflight and automation solutions for the printing and publishing industries, has partnered with Australian print MIS provider IQ to fill a critical gap in the automation between prepress production and MIS. IQ provides its customers with an out-of-the-box solution that streamlines their print production workflows using Enfocus Switch, PitStop Server and various other PDF solutions.

printIQ, a 100% web-based print management system, integrates seamlessly with Enfocus Switch and Enfocus PitStop Server using the IQconnect – Enfocus Switch Module. This module increases the level of functionality and flexibility required to automate critical workflows. printIQ enables simplified estimating, easy outsourcing, tablet-based factory management and integrated inventory. The job management tools, within printIQ are unique, being designed for the digital space, and providing a paperless workflow working off real time data.

Mind the gap
IQ Director and Product Development Manager Mick Rowan explains, "A gap has always existed in the market between the traditional MIS and the prepress workflow. Our aim was to combine our own product with the best preflight and workflow automation tools on the market, to realise the key quest to automate to the press and provide a lights-out workflow.

Partnering with Enfocus offers printIQ customers a revolutionary change in workflow. One size certainly doesn't fit all. The market is dynamic and changes continuously, demanding more flexibility from customers to adapt their production processes to the new needs. Now, with Enfocus Switch automation and PitStop Server PDF preflight and correction integration being offered through the IQconnect – Enfocus Switch Module, we have been able to extend our capabilities even further to a solution that can quickly and easily adapt to these changes."

Filling the gap
IQconnect uses Enfocus Switch to automate repetitive tasks and reduces the number of touch points, while using PitStop Server to automatically verify PDF files and correct them when needed. Preflight reports are generated and available within printIQ to inform staff about any issues which impact the quality of the printed result, or which will cause production issues downstream. IQconnect also automates the delivery of proofs, the imposition, and management of print queues.

Rowan continues, "There has been a dearth of solutions to support the entirety of the business process in the printing industries. In some cases, print only makes up 30% of the sale. So it's critical that the MIS of the future be able to extend beyond the current capabilities. The goal at IQ has been to address all of the weak points of the traditional print company with the goal of building an MIS that transitions a business into an efficient and modern print company in today's print market.

Cutting to the chase, automation in print is all about simplifying the rules and implementing process discipline. Automation is code for getting your customers and business systems to do the work for you and allowing technology, your silent business partner, to make you money every step of the way. Now, with more robust automation enabled by the Enfocus integration and IQconnect, printIQ is even more powerful than before."

An important element of the success of this relationship is the symbiotic ethos of both businesses, says Angelo Manno, Enfocus Global Account Manager, Crossroads & OEM: "Both IQ and Enfocus are committed to listening to customer feedback and responding with solutions that mirror market demands to create operational opportunities. This level of cultural alignment is critical to the long-term success of a partnership designed to help customers both innovate and automate."

Caldera and Highcon offer complete start-to-finish packaging workflow solution

Caldera Pow

Printers and converters looking to move into the exciting area of short- to medium-run packaging will soon be able to set up a complete start-to-finish business system in no time at all thanks to a new strategic partnership between Caldera and Highcon. By pairing Caldera's new POW! Packaging Online Workflow software suite with the Highcon Euclid direct-to-pack digital finishing system, graphic arts printers and converters are able to leap from out-of-the-box to onto-the-box, creating opportunities based on the key trends in packaging: shorter runs, streamlined production and personalisation.

The Highcon Euclid digital cutting and creasing system puts finishing in line with pre-press and printing, enabling a purely digital workflow with low overheads, reduced waste or reprint implications and excellent efficiency. POW!, built by Caldera for Highcon, and including Color Alliance technology, opens new sales and business potential for its users, combining a web order portal with an automated software system and taking a job from concept to high-value finished package with a minimum of intervention.

The POW! front end – which the printer can rebrand, customise and deploy either as a B2C or B2B2C portal – allows a brand owner to pick a package design from a broad library of templates and add their own graphics, text, cutting and marking elements. They preview their package in 3D and hit order when satisfied, at which point it transfers to a hotfolder within the back office to be included within the print workflow. This system could be used in e-shop format for a variety of consumer products, from packaging to shaped folders or giftware, or to streamline customer order processes and simplify the sales process.

Once passed into the print workflow, the owner benefits from the gamut of Caldera's experience in colour management, automation and media optimisation and can have the confidence that a wholly accurate job will pass through their production floor. The Caldera RIP and workflow suite ensures that true colour and raster data reach the printer in the appropriate format, and generates a DXF file for the Euclid engine which indicates the cut and crease paths, creating the high-margin embellishment enabled by a digital packaging set-up. 

"Digital packaging production is an inventive area that is developing rapidly and building on its market share year after year," comments Caldera's Joseph Mergui, Chief Executive Officer. "We see how Caldera's vision and expertise will enable printers to make full use of the exciting technologies that are shaping this sector, such as Highcon's, and to lead innovation in new customer models and creative opportunities."

"More businesses in the packaging world are realising that the new frontier in digital technology is after the print process," explains Eitan Varon, Executive Vice-President at Highcon. "Web-to-pack is the natural extension of the abilities of this new logic, pulling together shorter run lengths, just-in-time ordering and personalisation into a complete, creative commercial structure. By combining Euclid and POW! from Caldera, our users will be able to explore new avenues for their business while making their sales process significantly more efficient."

GraphExpo represents the technology demonstration of POW!, which will enter beta testing in Q4 this year. Its full commercial launch is anticipated for 2015.

Canon and DINAX collaborate to provide dedicated Mirage professional photo printing software editions for Canon imagePROGRAF range

Canon image prograf mirage Dinax

• The Mirage Editions for Canon are optimised for imagePROGRAF printers

• Intuitive, automated file handling and output for increased production efficiencies

• Offer capability to drag, drop and print without a host application

• Also come as a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Illustrator and InDesign

Canon, world leader in imaging solutions, has partnered with software developer DINAX GmbH to introduce dedicated versions of its Mirage professional printing software optimised for Canon’s imagePROGRAF range of large format printers. Designed to handle the printing demands of photographers, designers, agencies and print service providers, as well as offering a fast return on investment, Mirage has established itself as the best selling print software solution for large format printers over the last six years.

This collaboration between Canon and DINAX sees the introduction of two Mirage Editions for Canon, advanced professional printing solutions offering Canon’s imagePROGRAF customers a quick and simple set up, an intuitive user handling and greater automation, speeding up production efficiencies and eliminating costly production errors.

The Mirage Editions for Canon present all the print output features and tools in one clear, intuitive layout. The software can manage and print an unlimited number of images in a variety of formats at the same time, automatically generating optimum image layouts to maximise cutting and output efficiencies while minimising wastage. In addition, it supports all colour modes, including mixed configurations such as RGB and CMYK in one document, and generates an exact and precise ‘soft proof’ in the Mirage Preview window.

Canon and DINAX have launched two versions of the software for its imagePROGRAF range. The Mirage 8 & 12 Color Edition for Canon is for 8- and 12-colour imagePROGRAF printers and allows operators to simply ‘drag, drop and print’ any PDF, JPEG and TIFF files without the need for any host application. In addition Mirage comes as a plug-in for use with Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Illustrator and InDesign within the package at no extra cost.

The Mirage Master Edition for Canon extends support to Canon’s whole 5-, 6-, 8- and 12-colour imagePROGRAF ranges.

Both versions support unlimited numbers of printers of varying sizes with just one licence.

Further offerings include the optional Mirage PRO-Extension which can be used with Canon’s iPF6450 and iPF6400S models. The Mirage PRO-Extension makes creating highly professional ICC profiles as simple as a click of a button, utilizing the optional built-in spectrophotometer unit.

“At Canon we are continually looking for opportunities to provide our customers with significant production benefits and added value, whether through the introduction of our own products or by collaborating with like-minded organisations to provide the very best in supporting software and solutions,” said Duncan Smith, Director of Wide Format Group, Canon UK. “Through our partnership with DINAX, and the launch of the new Mirage Editions for Canon, imagePROGRAF customers now have access to a customised version of the successful Mirage printing software that is ideal not only for the photographic sector but also for the Print-for-Pay and poster printing markets. With a simple and intuitive user interface, the Mirage Editions for Canon enable customers to optimise their printing environment, shorten workflows with fast and automated image processing and deliver real cost reductions and increased efficiencies.”

Peter Hytrek, General Manager of DINAX GmbH added, “Our approach to product development is very much in line with that of Canon where the needs of customers are the driving force. With this common approach, and working closely alongside the Canon team, we have developed two dedicated versions of Mirage for Canon that are not only fully optimised to maximise production and cost efficiencies for users of Canon imagePROGRAF large format printers but will also make the use of these printers easier than ever.”

The Mirage Editions for Canon are available in English, French, Italian, German and Spanish and are compatible with both Mac (Intel) and Windows operating systems.

The new software is available immediately either directly from Canon or through its network of authorised Canon resellers.

For more information visit the Canon website at www.canon.co.uk.

Apogee StoreFront at Grafik plus

Grafik plus building

Grafik plus, located north of Paris, France, has converted to web-to-print and offers this as a new service to its clientele. Mr. Frédérik Le Corre, director of Grafik plus, explains…

Why web-to-print?

Our clientele consists of major accounts and SMEs who entrust us with commercial printing jobs, including marketing communications collateral, press kits, as well as the preparation of stationery.

The web has changed the expectation levels of our customers, who now expect instant access to data. Furthermore, it seemed logical to us to put in place a web-to-print system for our clients in order to facilitate order taking and to edit or annotate documents online. They have the power of a tool like InDesign through a web browser.

Why did you invest in Apogee StoreFront?

Apogee StoreFront has the advantage of offering a modern interface and deploying easy-to-use shops in the colors of our clients. And since the solution from Agfa Graphics is directly linked into our prepress workflows, we can easily shift from digital to offset. On top of that, Apogee Storefront is offered as a cloud service at a very competitive price.

To whom are you addressing your service offer?

This solution is offered to major accounts who want to decentralize orders management of procurement while imposing a very strict graphic charter. Users customize their documents without modifying the established corporate visual identity. We go further by proposing templates online. Using these, one of our clients composes invitations for various events without having to use an agency every week.

How have you made your customers aware of this new service?

We organized demonstrations at the premises of our clients. We also have an online shop for demonstrations which presents all the types of products that one can order in just three clicks.

What are the initial results?

Some of our long-time clients were very quickly won over and we have already put in place a half-dozen shops.

We also had to arrange a kind of 'commando' team to handle these orders. If we facilitate purchases for our clients, we must also produce at the lowest possible cost and within even tighter deadlines!

We are thinking about the future and we have already invested in a second digital press. We are also thinking about investing in resources that are better suited to handling certain types of work like business cards.

Clarity develops ‘best fit’ nesting as part of quoting process

clarity nesting

The industry’s leading MIS and CRM software provider Clarity Software has brought a new edge to the market by integrating ‘best fit’ nested layouts directly into the quoting process.

By combining tailored estimating and optimised nesting into one joined up procedure, customers can now price at minimal wastage on rigid and flexible cluster jobs and see their most efficient layout before submitting quotes to clients.

“Our customers are constantly looking for a new competitive edge without sacrificing margin” says Clarity MD Richard Gamlin. “Clarity Nesting allows you to see the best possible layout for the job, so you know exactly what material you need to cost for and price accordingly.”

The PDFs generated by Clarity Nesting at quote stage can be used directly for production, saving hours in design time and driving orders to be processed quicker. Customers buy less and waste less material, reduce skip costs and create a greener working environment based on optimised stock levels.

New update announced for Enfocus Switch 12

Enfocus Switch 12 Update

Enfocus has released Enfocus Switch 12 update 2, its leading automation solution. Customers’ most requested features have been included, with new colour coding of folders and connections, for easier identification, topping the list. Responding to customer wishes with timely updates such as this bolsters Enfocus Switch’s position as the convenient must-have automation resource for businesses of all types, sizes, markets and budgets.

Digital communications are integral to modern business. While companies increasingly adopt technology to create the digital files this form of communication requires, they are having a harder time finding tools to make connections between folders that must interface and/or exchange data with each other. Enfocus Switch is the only modular and affordable solution specifically developed to connect these folders into one cohesive workflow. Switch seamlessly integrates with companies’ existing systems, connecting the different applications and steps needed to process files while saving time, money, and resources and making better use of employees' efforts.

Colour coding for folders and connections.

With Switch 12 update 2, users can apply their own colour coding to the folders and connections used in their workflow. This use of colour improves usability, as users can easily distinguish between input and network folders and between different connections. As a result Switch’s more complex workflows become easily comprehensive even on a scaled down size on a screen.

Fabian Prudhomme, Vice President of Enfocus, says, "Enfocus Switch was the first automated, rules-based pipeline workflow solution. Since its introduction, it has become the “glue” for thousands of customers. The new colour coding capability - combined with other new features and enhancements in this release - ensures that Switch will continue to improve the way our customers create, produce, and share files.”

More new features for improved productivity

Enfocus Switch engineers have added the most-requested features from customers. In addition to colour coding, these new features include:

  • Save Flow Button - With the introduction of the Remote Designer in Switch 12, users needed a better way to tell if their flow changes are saved when different Remote Designers connect to Switch Server. Now, as soon as a user starts changing a flow, the flow name will be displayed in italics and followed by an asterisk. This indicates that the flow hasn’t been saved yet. Users can then save the flow using the new “Save flow” button in the toolbar, or the Save flow option in the Flow menu or context menu.
  • Revert flow button - If the changes made to a flow are not correct, users can now go back to the last version of the saved flow by simply using the new Revert Flow button in the toolbar.
  • Hold connection - In previous versions of Switch, connections could be highlighted with two “conditional” colours. Now, an extra “conditional” colour has been added to show if the connection is set on hold.
  • Adding descriptions to each element - To document a flow in a better way, users can now add a description to each element, connection, and tool in Switch.
  • Enhancements to the installer - The behaviour of the installer has been changed to give users more control over the process. Now, if a Switch service is active when users prepare to install Switch Server 12 update 2, the installation will stop. A window displaying a list of the active services and how to stop them will then appear.
  • Changed behaviour - ”Read-only” use of Remote Designer will now be indicated in the title bar of the application.
  • Add version number separator - “Add version number” has a new sub-property for Output folders, Archive hierarchy and FTP send. It now allows users to add a separator to version numbers of documents duplicates.
  • Split PDF - If users are using Split PDF, they can now use variables and script expressions to define the number of pages per file.

New configurators

  • Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint:  Office environments will be interested in two new configurators, developed to allow conversion of both Microsoft® Excel files and PowerPoint presentations to PDF. The configurators are compatible with Microsoft® PowerPoint / Excel for Windows® 2010, and Microsoft® PowerPoint / Excel for Windows 2013.
  • Twixl Publisher: Twixl Publisher provides automated creation and distribution of rich content apps for iOS and Android-based tablets. Enfocus Switch can be used to automate different parts of a Twixl Publisher workflow by involving and automating other applications. Publishers can automatically check and optimise PDF’s before publishing them in multiple-issue apps. Further down the production workflow, Enfocus Switch can also upload publications to the Twixl Distribution Platform, providing publishers with an automated way to add new issues to their weekly or monthly magazines.

Also included in Switch 12 update 2 are several bug fixes and updated configurators. For a complete list of these updates, please visit http://www.enfocus.com/en/support/knowledge-base/whats-new-in-switch-12-update-2.