21 Oct 2019

Hallmark Cards turns to Enfocus Switch for automated error-free digital workflow

Hallmark Cards

So it's not large format print, in fact most of it is not even A4, but it is digital, and the workflow aspect of the story will perhaps be of interest to some LFR readers...

 

Hallmark Cards is renowned worldwide for its greeting cards and produces thousands of new designs and cards each year. The company’s European subsidiary based in Capelle a/d IJssel, the Netherlands, has chosen Enfocus to establish a completely digital workflow. Hallmark Cards uses a customized application of Enfocus FullSwitch and PitStop Server.

With more then 3,000 new cards brought to market every year, Hallmark Cards Continental Europe had an impressive archive of traditional films. The switch to digital started in 1999 when part of the company’s projects was set-up in Quark Xpress and Adobe Photoshop. A Digital Asset Management system was implemented in 2004 to archive the enormous amount of digital files. The company switched to Adobe InDesign on Apple OSX in 2006, paving the way for a completely digitalized PDF workflow.

Sourcing a top-speed, error-free workflow
Hallmark Cards put together a team to identify a fast, automated and error-free workflow. Dejan Mladenovic, IT Manager, and Miranda Vink, Technical Support and Development Manager evaluated several prepress workflow solutions from different suppliers, but none met Hallmark Cards’ criteria. According to Mladenovic, many of these workflow solutions had too many options, which made them expensive and too time consuming to work with on a daily basis.

When Vink discovered Enfocus Switch at a trade show, it proved to be the solution that fitted the company’s needs perfectly. Plus,  Wifac PDF Diensten en Systemen, Hallmark's house supplier of software solutions, supports Switch, which was an extra advantage. "We were happy to have been able to test a free trial version so we could see what Switch could do," explains Vink. "We worked out a prototype of our preferred workflow, which was then set up in detail by PDF Diensten en Systemen and Enfocus. They offered us a customized solution for a standard price." 

Extensive control guarantees top quality
The newly established digital workflow allows Hallmark Cards to work faster and more efficiently. Enfocus FullSwitch also enables the company to support one of the critical parts of its production. Although all prepress and print preparation work is done in-house, printing is outsourced as the European subsidiary does not have its own printing department. This means perfectly controlled PDF files and a highly accurate color management system are essential. Errors can prove very expensive, plus they damage Hallmark's reputation for producing high-quality cards.

Hallmark Cards considers every card to be a separate project that must be carefully checked and proofed before it’s sent to the printer. And this is where the Enfocus solutions really prove their worth. The company combines the Enfocus FullSwitch with PitStop Server to automate the flow of all incoming and outgoing files and check them for color, overlays and fonts etc. This extensive control saves valuable time and ensures the print-ready PDF files are 100% accurate. The files are then sent for proofing to two Epson printers via FullSwitch.

Working smarter and cutting costs
"Our investment in FullSwitch has already made our operation more efficient and helped us trim costs," says Mladenovic. "After implementing the software, we saw a significant drop in the number of errors. Plus it has enabled us to produce cards faster and reduce the hours needed for manual control and fixing mistakes."

Setting up a proofing workflow with the ISO-certified Epson printers has been another huge advantage. Handling proofing in-house save costs and time. And the time savings achieved using Enfocus FullSwitch have afforded Hallmark Cards the opportunity to broaden its range of cards and develop more designs. The specialists that were previously occupied checking the hundreds of files and proofs are now concentrating on color management and in-house photography.

Streamlining production
The team at Hallmark Cards is dedicated to improving their systems and workflow - something that Enfocus FullSwitch is helping them achieve. The company’s goal is to replace hard proofing with soft proofing and use the PDF job ticket information that is incorporated in the Enfocus Certified PDF technology, the core of all Enfocus products.

One task that still requires manual work in the original InDesign file is the encoding of each card, which is different for each country and language. "We’re now implementing an automated system to imposition all the cards,” adds Vink. “And for this we prefer a customized workflow that includes encoding our cards directly in the PDF. Establishing this process makes our PDF workflow complete."

GMG SmartProfiler now available to colour management users worldwide in local languages

GMG SmartProfiler

GMG, supplier of high-end color management and proofing solutions, is pleased to announce the availability of the profiling solution GMG SmartProfiler in 8 additional languages besides the English and German release. GMG SmartProfiler is a wizard for the calibration and profiling of different output devices, such as digital presses or large format systems.
The brand-new GMG solution is now available with language support for:

  • French
  • Italian
  • Spanish
  • Portuguese (Brazil)
  • Japanese
  • Chinese, Simplified (People’s Republic of China)
  • Chinese, Traditional (Taiwan)
  • Korean (Korea)

The GMG SmartProfiler wizard allows the profiling and calibration of different output devices, such as digital presses or large format systems, easily and quickly.

“We are pleased to serve more customers worldwide by multiplying the languages offered in GMG SmartProfiler. This will help users to become more quickly familiarised with the product and to take full advantage of its functionalities,” says Christian Schwarze, Vice President of Sales at GMG. “As digital and large format printing are extremely growing markets, the  localisation of a key colour management tool like GMG SmartProfiler, which easily enables users to achieve highest colour accuracy, repeatability and colour consistency with nearly every printing system, will certainly lead to greater penetration of these markets,” adds Schwarze.

About GMG: The software company founded in 1984 and located in Tuebingen, near Stuttgart, Germany, has a worldwide distribution network with local presence in France, Spain, Benelux, Nordic, the UK, Asia and the Americas. GMG has specialized in high-end colour management for the entire graphic arts industry. Today, more than 9,000 systems have been sold across the industry spectrum from ad agencies, prepress houses and offset printers to newspapers, flexo converters and international gravure printing plants. In fact, the GMG ColorProof system has become the de-facto standard of Europe’s extensive gravure printing industry.

About the GMG family of products: GMG ColorProof, a colour management software system, provides the most accurate way of calibrating digital inkjet proofing engines to produce digital contract colour proofs, precisely matched to the printing press. GMG DotProof® enables users to generate contract quality halftone proofs, using the original bitmap data of the output RIP. Specifically tailored to the needs of the packaging industry is GMG FlexoProof, which supports specific flexo file formats and includes a complete Pantone® spot colour library, along with other functions. GMG ColorServer is a tool for automatic colour conversions – CMYK-to-CMYK, RGB-to-CMYK and RGB-to-RGB – for more efficient workflows.

GMG InkOptimizer automatically reduces chromatic colours, thus providing cost savings by reducing unnecessary ink usage, along with better print stability on press. GMG ProofControl is the ideal solution for instant, colour-accurate verification of proofs. GMG PrintControl is one single software for standardising the press from start to finish. GMG RapidCheck is a verification tool to control the printing process at a click of the mouse. GMG Media is a range of proofing-specific papers and films for the most popular inkjet printers. They are manufactured to high tolerances for colour critical applications, available in a range of sizes.
.

X-Rite VS540 Accurately Measures Colour of Wet and Dry Samples

X-Rite VS540

X-Rite Incorporated has introduced its VS450 spectrophotometer that enables laboratories to accurately control color quality by measuring a wide range of wet and dry samples without touching test surfaces.

The main benefits of the VS450 are:

  • Ability to measure samples at a distance without contact, permitting technicians to easily measure cosmetics, wet paint, soil samples and other wet or powdered substrates that prove difficult for instruments that use contact technology
  • Line of Sight™ visibility enables technicians to quickly and easily position the sample for measurement
  • Active Visual Targeting™ projects a prominent illuminated target ring onto the sample for precise and accurate measurements
  • Two aperture sizes of 6mm and 12mm that can easily and quickly be switched with the click of a button, without the need to recalibrate the instrument
  • Integrated gloss sensor for gloss measurements on wet and dry samples
  • Versatile design improves measurement capabilities on two and three-dimensional objects
  • Best-in-class colour accuracy and repeatability


“The VS450 is an industry-changing technology for colour measurement and quality control,” says Kenneth Phillips, product manager in X-Rites Industrial Colour and Appearance Division that developed the instrument. “It is a response to demand from customers operating in industries as varied as the manufacture of cosmetics, paints and chemicals - even unique applications like soil sampling - that have asked for a cost-effective and precise way to measure samples without special sample apparatus, such as Petri dishes or cuvettes.”

Accurate non-contact colour measurement
The VS450 can measure test surfaces of materials such as powders, liquids, pastes and suede leather in their natural, unaltered states to yield better ‘truer’ results. Unlike hand-held or benchtop spectrophotometers currently used in laboratories that must physically contact the sample with the viewing port, the VS450 measures any sample accurately from a distance of about 38mm (1.5 inches). Prior technology relied on pressing glass or clear plastic over test surfaces to protect the instruments from being contaminated by the test samples and altering the test data.

“Not only can the VS450 directly measure wet or powdered samples without contact, but also it provides an easy and effective way to measure and QC samples such as plastic plaques, which can be tedious and time consuming with today’s contact-based devices,” Phillips said.

Consistent data
The instrument is repeatable to 0.025 dEab when used with its 12mm aperture, which means data is consistent when the instrument measures the same part in the same place. Phillips said the VC450 instrument is an extension of the company’s VeriColor® Spectro™ non-contact spectrophotometer, which set the standard two years ago for online non-contact color measurement in demanding industrial applications. The VS450 uses 45/0° geometry and correlates well with other 45/0° instruments and databases.

Targeting the correct sample area
The VS450 also tackles the problem of incorrect data when the measurement is taken in the wrong sample area. The VS450 allows technicians to quickly and easily position the instrument over a sample using its Line of Sight™ design and Active Visual Targeting™ feature, which projects either a 6mm (1/4-inch) or a 12mm (1/2-inch) diameter illuminated ring on to the sample to target the desired measurement area.

Accurate gloss measurements
The VS450 has advanced optics and sensors that accurately measure gloss as well as colors. When used with X-Rite’s iMatch formulation software, the VS450 can help to speed up the initial formulation process because the instrument can compensate for the difference in appearance between dry and wet samples. “This feature is valuable in providing increased throughput when formulating new colors or QC testing production samples that would normally have to be dried for 24 to 72 hours before a color measurement can be taken,” says Phillips.

Employing the same technology as the VeriColor Spectro instrument, the VS450 uses light-emitting diodes (LEDS), which are more efficient and more stable than typical gas-filled illumination sources such as halogen and tungsten. With a predicted life of more than 20 million flashes - many more than illumination systems that rely on flash tubes - LEDs provide accurate results for years before needing replacement.

Ambient light detection
The VS450 also detects and ignores ambient light, such as incandescent, fluorescent or sodium vapor illumination, which can greatly affect results when samples are not positioned properly with prior contact-based technology.

Weighing about five pounds, the VS450 takes up little room on a laboratory work bench and can be quickly positioned on its feet or on its side to measure odd-shaped or bulky samples.

X-Rite has already received orders from customers for the VS450 from major companies worldwide. “We are extremely satisfied with the positive response to this new product,” says Phillips.

Global Graphics free PDF creation software competes with Acrobat for a place on your Desktop

Global Graphics Logo

Global Graphics, probably most familiar to LFR readers as the developer behind the Jaws and Harlequin RIP engines, has launched an enterprise-level free PDF creation software: gDoc Creator. The easy to use free PDF software will be available for download by individual office workers and consumers, and be available under a corporate licensing scheme for the enterprise.

Global Graphics—which develops software for a variety of OEMs including Agfa, Quark, Fuji Xerox, Kodak, HP—is fighting for a place on the corporate desktop alongside Adobe, Google and Microsoft by providing an enterprise-level productivity application that enables:

• Creation of PDF, PDF/a (for long-term archiving of electronic documents) or XPS documents from any Windows application that prints

• Creation of PDF, PDF/a or XPS from the toolbar in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, complete with bookmarks, hypertext links and more

• Creation of PDF, PDF/a or XPS from a simple drag and drop user interface

• Convert PDF to .doc format for re-use in Microsoft Word

• Viewing of documents in multiple formats and a unique ‘flick view' to quickly browse documents

"gDoc Creator is the only enterprise quality PDF software tool that is available for free," said Gary Fry, CEO, Global Graphics. "Offering so much functionality for free will drive adoption in large enterprises at a time when their budgets are under extreme pressure. It also makes the basic free PDF software tools obsolete and puts real pressure on low-end paid-for PDF software."

gDoc Creator is part of Global Graphics' freemium go-to-market strategy for gDoc Fusion an easy to use desktop application designed to improve productivity. gDoc Fusion gives users fast and easy assembly of new documents with a simple drag 'n' drop action from a wide range of multiple document formats such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, XPS, JPG, TIFF and PNG. The product is designed to significantly improve knowledge workers' productivity by automatically formatting a wide range of file formats, saving hours of manual cut and paste activity.

"gDoc Creator gives immediate value to the corporate desktop. It also allows evaluation use of gDoc Fusion, demonstrating the ease of use and benefits of the full version. When an enterprise realises the productivity benefits of the full version of gDoc Fusion, it's a very simple process to then upgrade," said Fry.

"Businesses should no longer need to pay for simple PDF creation and we hope our disruptive pricing strategy will begin to redraw the lines of this market," added Fry. "Global Graphics is set to win a significant share of knowledge workers who find themselves having to compile information from a range of sources and formats, and our corporate licensing scheme will make it simple for companies to roll this out across the enterprise."

 

Get your free copy at www.globalgraphics.com/en/gdoc/

Free plugins with purchase of QuarkXPress 8 BOGOF

Quark BOGOF with FREE Plugins

XChange UK and ThePowerXChange, the sources for extended technology worldwide are pleased to announce a promotion which offers North American users a free Enfocus Instant PDF ($299 value) and UK/Ireland users a free MadeToPrint with Imposition (£318 value) with their purchase of QuarkXPress 8 as part of the Buy One QuarkXPress, Get One Free campaign. Users who purchase new copies of QuarkXPress 8 through either company not only receive the free QuarkXPress with their purchase, but also receive an additional free product through 31st December 2009.

"We wanted to give even greater value to our customers, especially with the economic situation and this makes it even more affordable to add the power of QuarkXPress 8, or additional copies to our customers' installations," offers Tami Stodghill, Press Relations Manager. "We work with our vendors to be able to provide the most value for our customers through these exclusive promotions. Not only can users take advantage of Quark's Buy One Get One Free, they also get to add the power of Instant PDF or MadeToPrint and either product offers real value."

Enfocus Instant PDF 08 makes producing press-ready PDFs easy for creative professionals. Using award-winning Enfocus Certified PDF technology, it's the simplest and most reliable way to create PDFs that comply with a print or advertisement vendors' specifications. While working in their favourite creative application - Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, QuarkXPress(TM), Adobe Acrobat - users simply select "Save as Certified PDF..." from the File menu and let Instant PDF 08 take care of creating their PDF, preflighting it, modifying it where necessary, and even sending it to their print provider  - all without leaving their application. Users can remain productive in their familiar environment without having to worry about print styles, PDF export or other complicated PDF creation settings. And if they do run into problems, Instant PDF 08's comprehensive in-application help not only gives them the answers they need quickly, but also contains tips on how to
avoid making the same mistakes again in the future.

For print providers, Instant PDF 08 significantly reduces the load on customer service and pre-press operators because Certified PDF files are always output correctly right at the designer's workstation. With award-winning Enfocus Certified PDF technology, the files are flagged as ready for output from the moment they arrive in an inbox.

MadeToPrint XT optimizes and extends output and print options in QuarkXPress and has been designed for professional users, who have to create, organize and control larger numbers of print-/output jobs. MadeToPrint XT helps to streamline these tasks as well as the creation of PDF, EPS and PostScript files. The XTension allows even complex print settings to be saved as repetitive jobs, thereby ensuring efficient and safe production.

MadeToPrint XT 8 provides features like batch processing, token-based file naming and flexible layer output that go beyond Quark's output functionality. More than that, the XTension allows hotfolder based processing of XPress 8 files, thus enabling users to output QuarkXPress documents completely unattended. MadeToPrint XT's latest version includes the new Imposition function, so users can print fully imposed PDF files from their QuarkXPress documents. Users can output fully imposed jobs, from booklets to N-up, choose between run list (e.g. 4 pages step & repeat) and imposition sheets (e.g. 2 pages A4 single sided). The preconfigured imposition schemes cover all common imposition configurations. Users simply activate the Imposition function and compile the required imposition scheme with the entries under the Runlist and Sheet configuration categories provided.

In addition, MadeToPrint XT allows for grouping of multiple print-job definitions into custom sets that can be invoked at any time to output the same document to multiple output devices, using the parameters specified for each device in its own print job. This means that with a single operation, a user can elect to have a document output to a black-and-white laser printer, a colour-proofing device, and a high-resolution imagesetter, and be assured that all settings in all dialogues are correct. Thus, MadeToPrint XT reduces media waste caused by improper settings of chooser selections, and allows for unattended output of QuarkXPress documents to any variety of formats.

The free Enfocus Instant PDF or Free MadeToPrint XT with purchase of QuarkXPress 8 - Buy One Get One Free promotion is available now through XChange UK and ThePowerXChange websites worldwide. Users who purchase upgrades to QuarkXPress 8 will also receive the free Instant PDF or MadeToPrint XT with their order, although upgrades don't qualify for the QuarkXPress 8 Buy One Get One Free promotion. To order, or for more information, users can visit the websites.

Free upgrade to latest Mimaki RIP software now available

Mimaki Rasterlink PRO 5 RIP

For several years now, Mimaki customers have benefited from a top level postscript RIP bundled with their printer purchase and the latest version of the RasterLink Pro package is now available. Customers using version 4 of the RIP can upgrade to version 5 via a web link, providing a host of new features and productivity gains - for free.

John de la Roche; National Sales Manager for Mimaki’s exclusive UK & Ireland distributor; Hybrid Services Ltd, said; “Adding productivity gains to the software is as important as our continued drive to develop the hardware side of the business, and to allow a large portion of our customer base to benefit from this for free is great news.”

With full support for the latest Windows 7 operating system, Mimaki RasterLink Pro 5 also delivers new features such as improved postscript handling, file and RIP detail annotation on printed images, greater productivity with improved hot folder functions and a new web update feature for simpler future product updating and profile downloading. Users upgrading from older versions benefit from the new application’s 16 bit rendering – providing seamless vignettes and smooth tonal transitions to blends and gradations.

Version 5 of the software is provided free of charge with all new Mimaki printers – with specific “Sign & Graphics”, “Textile & Apparel” and “Industrial Product” versions supplied, dependent upon the printer model. All versions support powerful white ink printing functions and achieve an exceptional quality of output.