08 Apr 2020

Esko releases Suite 14 to meet needs of complex preproduction environments

Esko Suite14 Visualizer Lfr

Esko has announced the release of Esko Suite 14, a comprehensive collection of new and updated software designed to give brand owners, premedia houses, converters, sign and display producers and commercial printers the resources they need to manage today’s complex preproduction environment.

"To be successful today, packaging service providers and brands owners are required to perform exceptionally well in all areas of packaging preproduction," says Carsten Knudsen, Esko President and CEO. "Brand owners must create packaging designs that resonate with consumers and that are designed, developed and produced with the utmost accuracy. Converters must execute perfectly and efficiently to remain profitable. There is also a need ensure regulatory compliance and to operate in an environmentally sustainable manner within the entire ecosystem. Above all, everyone throughout the entire packaging supply chain must be able to work together effectively to achieve these goals.”

Esko Suite 14 builds on Esko’s years of packaging preproduction expertise and features breakthrough developments as a result of ongoing investment in innovation, and based on feedback received from brand owners, packaging converters and industry thought leaders.

Knudsen adds, “In the Suite 14 development process, Esko concentrated its resources on addressing five key trends in packaging preproduction: Increasing importance of Workflow Automation; The use of Smart Templates to handle package variations; Quality as the most important driver; A more task-focused software user interface to drive increased efficiency; and the Integration of the Supply Chain and data-sharing via the cloud.  The result is Esko Suite 14, bringing together a family of solutions that provides all parties in the packaging preproduction supply chain with the resources they need to succeed in this dynamic market. We believe that the Esko software Suite is the broadest and deepest collection of professional software tools available today in the package production industry.”

Efficiency, Productivity, Ease of Use

Esko Suite 14 includes a wide range of breakthrough improvements and enhancements that support these key trends in the packaging preproduction market. Each element has been fine-tuned to better meet the needs of the entire supply chain.

WebCenter: Focused on Supply Chain Connectivity

Improved connectivity leads to faster turnaround times and reduced errors. WebCenter 14, now a 64-bit application and supporting HTML 5 for the Viewer, offers easy-to-implement connectivity with third-party solutions.
Interconnectivity among Esko products is also boosted with WebCenter 14. Seamless data transfer between WebCenter and packaging editors such as ArtiosCAD and Adobe Illustrator guarantee better utilisation of centrally managed assets and information.

And WebCenter servers can now interact with each other to even better integrate the entire supply chain. Launching a task or sharing assets among multiple WebCenter servers shifts workflow automation into high gear. This makes it easier to achieve true supply chain integration with exceptional efficiency and real-time communication among all stakeholders in the packaging preproduction supply chain.

Automation Engine: Taking Time and Touches Out of the Packaging Preproduction Process

Suite 14 includes a broader and more sustainable integration framework that goes well beyond the boundaries of XML and JDF by standardising the way third-party solutions are integrated with any Esko component. This Connect software kit enables users to further remove manual activities from the packaging preproduction process, driving end-to-end automation. Connect allows for easy integration with all wide-ranging third-party solutions as MIS, shipping systems, popular web applications such as Google Maps, or other web portal or cloud-based solutions.

In addition, a series of new colour tasks are now integrated into the Automation Engine. This ensures consistent colour through automated colour management. Automation Engine now automatically converts brand colours to a fixed ink setting using Equinox profiles, reducing the need for spot colours and increasing press productivity and quality while reducing overall ink usage.

ArtiosCAD: More Creativity, Less Clicking

With the updated ArtiosCAD editor, users have more time to be creative and will spend less time clicking buttons. Users can now create more accurate BOM’s in less time with the new BOM capability available directly from the ArtiosCAD browser. Other enhancements increase designer productivity when preparing designs for production and improve die-press efficiency as well.

Suite 14 also gives ArtiosCAD users more realistic 3D visualisation when folding corrugated and paper board, setting more realistic expectations for clients when presenting designs.

This update of ArtiosCAD also features a number of improvements for die making manufacturers, resulting in higher precision and productivity. This includes single-click options for filling a line or path with nicks and configurable options for driving various output devices to reduce the time it takes to get a design into production. Enhancements to the die-board bolt hole mounting pattern tool allows users to select mounting holes more quickly and efficiently, optimising die-press efficiency.

3D Visualisation: 360 Degrees of Packaging

3D tools are increasingly important in the packaging design and preproduction processes to ensure as early as possible in the process that the final product meets the needs of all stakeholders. Esko Suite 14 includes a number of enhancements to its 3D capabilities.

  • Visualizer effects in Illustrator: Suite 14 lets users of Studio Designer go beyond the normal 3D view to add special effects and finishing details when creating packaging graphics in Illustrator. This streamlined solution brings enhanced speed and enables better creative decision making during the design and review process.
  • Store Visualizer: Created in partnership with VTales Graphics, Esko Store Visualizer lets users place virtual objects in photographed scenes, enabling them to see their designs in an in-store setting to determine how they compare with competitive products. The integration of an innovative LOD (Level Of Detail) system gives users enhanced speed when rendering virtual store views, especially in environments with vast numbers of 3D models. Suite 14 ships with three pre-established hyper-realistic environments that help users quickly and easily see what their 3D products will look like in a store environment.
  • Studio: Two new and one enhanced flexible bag types are available in Suite 14, including the popular quattro seal bag. In addition, the new version of Studio includes an Augmented Reality viewer for mobile devices which is perfect to share and view 3D packaging designs in context for quick comparisons and informed decision making.

CHILI Publish Integration: Cloud based package editing

Esko has partnered with CHILI Publish to bring to market the world’s first in-browser editor dedicated to packaging design. With this solution, the artwork creator can enable anyone in the supply chain, such as the brand manager of a global brand, to modify packaging content within established constraints. This gives brand owners control over their packaging content, avoiding mistakes and ultimately product recalls, and ensures that both the brand integrity and design intent are protected throughout the entire process.

Visual Inspection Systems

In Suite 14, this module provides digital communication of critical parameters for automatic setup of the visual inspection system, eliminating set-up time and saving 3-5 minutes per job. This is especially important in digital printing environments with shorter runs and a larger volume of jobs running through the shop. For these operations, time savings can quickly add up to two hours per day or more. In addition, this digital link to inspection systems is the only way to inspect variable data in the packaging production process.

ArtPro+: Exceptional Quality Control

ArtPro+ in Suite 14 is a new application that gives users a tool for quality control of artwork and prepress files. ArtPro+ is a no-charge companion product to ArtPro 14 and PackEdge 14, running on both Mac and Windows. With its innovative interface and modern 64-bit architecture ArtPro+ is ready for the workflow of the future.

Imaging Engine: APPE3 for CTP

Now built on Adobe’s PDF Print Engine (APPE3) platform, Esko’s Imaging Engine 14 brings users into the next generation of CTP production. Reduced need for operator intervention in the platemaking process, more consistency, fewer errors and elimination of duplicated data entry are just a few of the benefits of the updated Imaging Engine included in Esko Suite 14.


A new, task-driven, wizard-style user interface makes it much simpler to fine-tune and optimise proofer device profiles for the highest possible accuracy. FlexProof enables users to quickly meet colour accuracy expectations while saving operator time.

i-cut Layout+

Suite 14 speeds up production with a next-generation layout editor. i-cut Layout+ is a simple, task-oriented user interface that makes the learning curve extremely short. It is compatible with both Mac and Windows for full flexibility.

With a new flexible subscription model for i-cut Layout+, users can better manage software costs, reduce risk and achieve more flexibility in load balancing across regions and during peak periods. Using a “pay as you go” SaaS model for software is becoming increasingly popular, both from a usability perspective and to transition software ownership from a capital investment to an operating expense. DeskPack and Preflight are also now available in a subscription-based SaaS model.


Esko is rolling out Suite 14 beginning July 2014. Customers with maintenance contracts will receive the software for which they are entitled to as part of those agreements. Esko’s customer services organisations around the world are prepared to install, support and provide training for the new version of the software to guarantee smooth transitions and continuity of operation.

“At Esko, we are in close contact with our customers and industry thought-leaders," concludes Bernard Zwaenepoel, Senior Vice President Software Business. "We are aware of the many challenges that are involved in packaging preproduction and have worked hard to incorporate as many solutions to those challenges as possible in this release. That is why everyone at Esko is so proud of Suite 14. From extensive previews and testing at customer sites, we know the impact it will have on improving various aspects of the process, and, most importantly, the way in which it will make our customers even more successful.”

For more information about Esko Suite 14, please visit www.esko.com/suite14.

GIS launches new Head Interface Board to drive Xaar 1002 printhead

Gis Xaar Hib Lfr

Global Inkjet Systems (GIS) has announced that it can now support the new Xaar 1002 printhead range.  The company has designed a new Head Interface Board (HIB-XR-1002) to drive the Xaar 1002 printhead, without the need for the Xaar HPC. The HIB connects directly to the Xaar 1002 printhead and is designed to drive the printhead to full specification.

Xaar launched the Xaar 1002 in March this year and the printhead incorporates multiple new technology features including improved drop volume uniformity and drop placement accuracy. It is available in a number of versions including GS6, GS12 and GS40 – all of which are supported by the new GIS Head Interface Board HIB-XR-1002. 

“We have many customers using the original Xaar 1001 printheads, who are transitioning to the new 1002 and we needed to respond quickly to its introduction” said Debbie Thorp, Business Development Director at GIS.  “The 1002 is a significant printhead across key markets for GIS – ceramics, labelling, packaging and additive manufacturing – and with the print quality enhancements we expect more machine builders to start using this printhead.” 

The new HIB-XR-1002 is in production and shipping to customers now.

Agfa Graphics adds automation and payment options to Asanti StoreFront

Agfa Asanti Lfr

Aimed at print service providers that want to use web-to-print to extend their offering and reach new markets, Agfa Graphics' Asanti StoreFront 2.2 now incorporates a number of new features that open it up to an even wider group of printing companies and end-users.

The new features include:

  • Easy automation: No matter which workflow or RIP the printer has, StoreFront can now automatically export order data to the prepress workflow, making it easy to access the content that needs to be printed in order to fulfill orders. Print service providers who do not have an Agfa Graphics workflow can automate order handling by having StoreFront export all order data to their FTP-server.
  • PayPal Express Checkout: Express Checkout is a global payment gateway that makes it easy and affordable to add online payment to web-to-print stores. Users of the web store can pay using popular credit cards or their PayPal account. On the other hand, printers can easily set up Express Checkout without a high activation cost or expensive monthly fees.
  • Approval groups and self-registration: Companies who require all orders in a store to be approved can now create groups of users and assign one or more order approvers to each group. This makes it easier for print service providers to offer their B2B web-to-print service to large companies with multiple divisions or subsidiaries. In such stores, users can now also self-register. This lowers the overhead in administrating the user base of large stores.

Other new features include auto-fill forms based on profile data and previous orders, and custom order IDs for easy categorisation.

“Agfa Graphics has always promoted open standards and focuses on easy integration of its products with other solutions. This is also true for our web-to-print solutions which can be used with any production workflow or RIP”, says Andy Grant, Head of Software at Agfa Graphics.

All the features in Asanti StoreFront 2.2 are also available in Apogee StoreFront 2.2, allowing the growing number of commercial printers that use the Apogee StoreFront solution access to the same web-to-print interface with their customers.  As cloud-based solutions, both Apogee StoreFront and Asanti StoreFront offer a fast and affordable entry into the web-to-print market. The tight integration with Agfa Graphics’ production workflow systems saves time and avoids double data entry.

Agfa Graphics to showcase Asanti workflow at FESPA Digital

Agfa Asanti Workflow Lfr

Delivering predictable output on wide-format printing systems, the award-winning Asanti workflow will take centre stage on the Agfa Graphics stand at FESPA Digital 2014 in Hall B1 stand 380-390.

Sign-makers and display producers increasingly are seeking to improve their efficiency, save time and lower costs across all areas of prepress and production. Where they once were required to employ different software elements to manage various tasks such as file handling, colour management, RIPping and preflighting, Agfa Graphics’ Asanti brings all these elements together in a single, PDF-based workflow.

The Asanti production hub will be on display and available for demonstrations on the Agfa Graphics stand. There, among the many new wide-format printing systems and other inkjet solutions from Agfa Graphics, FESPA attendees can discover how Asanti smoothly integrates both the preparation and printing of jobs in an easy-to-use interface.

As the beating heart of all wide-format production, Asanti offers sign and display-makers advanced automation. The Adobe Print Engine (APPE 3.0) is integrated into Asanti for full JDF control and automated accountability. At the same time, Asanti always allows for operator control, giving production managers the ability to make on-the-fly corrections and adjustments when necessary.

“Asanti enables high levels of automation throughout the production process. The result is a very cost-effective solution that incorporates all the requirements that sign and display-makers need to produce their jobs from start to finish,” said Willy Van Dromme, Director of Marketing, Wide Format, Agfa Graphics. “Our experience in deploying Adobe technology is extensive: More than 30 billion pages of expertise in all those years, and Asanti users can benefit from it.”

Jeffrey Vermaat, one of the growing Asanti comunity, director of De Resolutie in The Netherlands confirms, “From the moment we started to use Asanti, all transparency issues disappeared and printing white became as easy as pie. As result, we now added predictability to our prepress environment.”

Asanti’s unique and user-friendly colour management employs patented technology to guarantee realistic colour consistency. While the commonly used routines require over two hours of operator time and a lot of media, the Asanti method limits that to 15 minutes and 0.1m2 of media. Spot colour conversion is based on Pantone libraries, with profile calibration completed quickly and efficiently.

Asanti provides the added convenience of management of various input sources, including Asanti StoreFront and ftp. As a scalable production hub, it distributes the workload over multiple hardware systems and delivers the appropriate data to a variety of engines and finishing equipment such as cutters and sliders.

Asanti is also tightly integrated with the award-winning Asanti StoreFront, a cloud-based web-to-print system. This easy-to-use online shopping solution is designed to help users grow their businesses and explore new markets. Asanti StoreFront handles incoming orders through the Asanti dashboard for time-saving, error-free job handling. Automatic price calculation based on media type and size and finishing requirements, like grommets or lamination, makes this a perfect fit for Sign and Display.

EFI Fiery FS150 Pro digital front end launched

Efi Fiery Fs150 Pro Lfr

EFI has launched its newest Fiery platform for cut-sheet digital production systems. The EFI Fiery FS150 Pro digital front end (DFE) offers faster processing, unsurpassed image quality, seamless MIS/ERP integration and even easier to use automated workflows.

Fiery HyperRIP pushes performance to the limit by simultaneously processing a print job on four processor cores. As a result, users can get their full-colour digital print jobs processed up to 55% faster than Fiery Driven™ presses without HyperRIP.

“With the new FS150 Pro technology, we dramatically improve the already industry-leading processing time of Fiery DFEs,” said John Henze, vice president, Fiery marketing, EFI. “That best-in-class Fiery performance, combined with easy-to-use automated workflows, gives in-plant print departments and commercial printers the power to complete work faster with outstanding accuracy, even on complex jobs.”

The Fiery FS150 Pro DFE has all the advanced imaging features that made its predecessor the first DFE platform to carry a 100% perfect pass label from VIGC’s PDF RIP Audit. Users can have more confidence than ever before that their output matches the designer’s intent on the first print -- including a new unique greyscale composite overprint feature that ensures correct monochrome printing of overprints, drop shadows and transparencies.

Fiery ImageViewer, an application that allows users to view full resolution raster data in real time and adjust the final raster output before printing, now includes the ability to save last-minute colour adjustments so future jobs that require the same type of colour correction can be produced faster.

"EFI raised the bar again with its Fiery FS150 Pro,” according to Kaspar Roos, associate director of production workflow solutions at analyst firm InfoTrends. “With its speed enhancements, better colour management and productivity improvements, it is a perfect fit for demanding print environments.”

The latest version of Fiery Command WorkStation software included with the Fiery FS150 Pro DFE puts automated production controls at users’ fingertips. Server-based automated workflows are easy for system administrators to set up and deploy, allowing operators to produce jobs in fewer clicks and with reduced errors.

The Fiery FS150 Pro DFE integrates seamlessly with EFI's market-leading MIS/ERP software, eCommerce/Web-to-Print products and scheduling tools. As a result, customers can easily optimise their print load and track both expenses and profits in a complete, connected business operations workflow.

Additional features and benefits include:

  • Support for APPE 3.0, Adobe’s latest PDF-native rendering platform.
  • Fiery JobMaster, an advanced make-ready solution, brings additional tab design features to tackle complex tab layouts and produce unique jobs, giving users the ability to print multi-bank and bleed-edge tabs with ease.
  • The free Fiery Go app for iPhones and iPads allows busy users to monitor and manage print jobs from anywhere in the print shop while doing other tasks.
  • An expanded color library for brand colour matching, including the 84 new colours recently issued in the PANTONE Plus Series.
  • Fiery Integration Manager that significantly reduces the effort needed to establish time- and money-saving workflow integrations through Job Definition Format (JDF) configuration settings.
  • Fiery API support for development of custom applications and tools to meet specific user needs.

The first DFEs based on the Fiery FS150 Pro system platform will be available from June 2014.

For more information about Fiery DFEs, please visit www.efi.com

SAi PixelBlaster 3.0 print production software offers increased performance, throughput and ease-of-use

Sai Pixelblaster 3 Lfr

SA International (SAi), a leading provider of solutions for the professional signmaking, large format digital printing and CAD/CAM for CNC machining industries, has released PixelBlaster 3.0 which, the company says, takes print preparation and workflow efficiency to new levels.

Launched in 2012 and upgraded in 2013, SAi PixelBlaster production software is a modular and scaleable end-to-end system covering preflight to production. Using a PDF-based RIP, PixelBlaster delivers a customer-selected suite of workflow applications that can drive an extensive line-up of large format printers, regardless of supplier. A key feature is its ability to standardise colours based on industry accepted profiles, including GRACoL, Euroscale and FOGRA.

PixelBlaster is specifically designed to meet the needs of users in super-wide format, high volume print production environments, as well as the increasingly important specialty printing sector which embraces substrates such as glass and ceramics. The software provides flexibility and versatility to help users respond to customer requests and balance their workloads to accommodate demand levels and equipment availability.

Other highlights include:

  • PixelBlaster Layout: With the new Layout feature, PixelBlaster will be integrated into even more workflows, producing a wider variety of printed products. Functions available in Layout include: true shape nesting, manual job positioning, double-sided printing, white handling and cutting. PixelBlaster Layout also replaces the existing “Add Job” dialog of PixelBlaster Engine and the “Submit Job” dialog commands of PixelBlaster Central.
  • PixelBlaster Library: With a new user interface, Library now incorporates PixelBlaster Profile to make it even easier to achieve outstanding colour results. It is one complete software application to create all profile components: print mode, ink splitting, calibration and profile.A new integrated media manager offers a streamlined overview of every profile, including spot colour edits. A new test chart generator recognises the defined media width and measurement devices. With the full support of external measurement devices, like the Barbieri Spectropad, PixelBlaster Library now offers internal devices like those found in HP Designjet and Epson Stylus Pro printers.
  • Double-sided printing: PixelBlaster 3.0 fully supports a wide variety of double-sided printing applications, which, importantly, are not limited to printers offering dedicated registration marks. This feature can be used for jobs using both manual and automated file processing.Improved RIPping performance and quality: PixelBlaster’s already high performance has been further optimised. Processing of some types of input files (e.g., complex PDF files) has been improved by up to 200%. This drastically reduces RIPping time to enhance productivity and workflow. Additionally, new rendering parameters deliver significantly improved sharpness, when needed.
  • Improved queue handling: Using the added function of a “Cut” tab in the queue function, it is now possible to define printing and cutting parameters for jobs in the same queue, improving both performance and use. This new tab offers all tools that are needed to combine printing and cutting into one fully automated production workflow.

“PixelBlaster 3.0 offers customers new features, a time-saving internal structure and improved ease-of-use to deliver greater performance levels and streamlined print preparation,” said Eyal Friedman, Vice President, Technical Services, SAi. “It also demonstrates our commitment to the continuous development of this solution in order to help our customers meet the demanding challenges of their markets.”

PixelBlaster 3.0 is now available in 14 languages from SAi dealers worldwide. For more information, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.