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Carton maker in CAD coup

UK company takes sample system lead

St Neots Packaging is the first company in the UK to install the latest Esko-Graphics ArtiosCAD 6.0 software with two new seats. The company, which specializes in high end confectionery cartons for the fast food industry, produces an average of 200 new samples a week.

CAD manager Ian Wallis explains: “When we replaced an old Misomex table with a Kongsberg XL20 from Esko-Graphics, we were using an earlier version of ArtiosCAD. We wanted to use some of the new features in Version 6.0 and Esko-Graphics pulled out all the stops to make sure that we were a priority customer.” They have simplified the software, so it is much easier to operate. They have also added some very useful new tools, which makes the speed of construction phenomenal,” he continues. “Although they gave us training, I believe that anybody with CAD knowledge could teach themselves.”

He highlights the Standards Catalogue for special praise. “I just key in a size and it presents me with a selection of designs from the extensive library of folding carton styles. In the past you had to be much more specific and key in exactly what you wanted. This is much quicker and easier. I can also assign my own shortcuts on the keyboard for the tools I use everyday as opposed to using the standard ones, and that’s a great bonus.

“There are also useful icons like the line angle/offset tools, which previously could only be accessed via the keyboard and I prefer to use a mouse. File storage has always been well defined in ArtiosCAD, making it simple to reference jobs in client folders by anybody in the department if the designer is away.”

While these additional production features are benefiting the CAD Department, it’s the “exciting” new 3D Designer module that will enable St Neots Packaging to provide its customers with a three-dimensional package with full colour graphics from the CAD drawing.

No post

“This will make a huge difference, particularly for our overseas customers because it takes four or five days to post a sample,” he enthuses. “Then there may be several alterations and each time we send another sample. Now we will be able to reduce this time significantly because they will be able to see the 3D package design on screen. It will save a lot of time and cost because we will only physically send them one sample at the final stage,” he emphasizes.

Previously the CAD department sent the die maker basic CF2 files but the Diemaker feature in ArtiosCAD will now allow it to export fully operational die files with striping rules, bridges, and so on. This will not only save time and money, it will also ensure that the files are accurate, the company states.

The Kongsberg XL20 table often cuts several hundred samples a week when a client wants to test the carton for safety and transport checks prior to production.

Ian Wallis explains. “We bought it because we wanted quality cutting and full colour mock-ups. It cuts on a range of stock from 200 micron to double corrugated. As a general rule the blanks are 300 x 600mm, although it varies from carton to carton. We haven’t measured the XL’s productivity,” he continues, “but it has probably almost tripled our output and has certainly reduced the number of operators from two to one, which has made a significant saving.”

Workflow support

BackStage 2.0, an important upgrade for Esko-Graphics’ Scope workflow automation server, integrates all design and production components in one workflow, automating routine tasks through batch functionality and the use of hot folders. It streamlines communications within the graphics environment, and with management systems, customer service and directly with customers.

BackStage 2.0 is completely JDF-enabled, capable of accepting instructions that direct tasks to correctly process a job, and to remotely drive other software functions by JDF commands. It supports four different use cases: job creation linking an MIS/order entry system to the BackStageGraphics Information System; digital delivery between BackStage and an asset manager or proofing system; receiving feedback from a device such as a platesetter; and launching tasks, even from the web.

Other major features include an improved graphic user interface providing intuitive menus and faster access to desired actions; a job database, including job ‘life cycle’ milestones of pre-defined prepress activities; and the ability to import and export PDF 1.5 files. New functionalities include the ArtiosCAD plug-in, animated 3-D VRML files, and a range of new Adobe Illustrator plug-ins including stepX, barX, OutRight, ViewX and Ink Manager.

DeskPack is an integrated part of the Scope workflow environment for the packaging industry. It links Adobe Illustrator and PhotoShop users into the Scope environment. By extending DeskPack with extra modules, users can add valuable automation, step and repeat and collaboration features. Due to the strong ArtiosCAD and Adobe Illustrator integration, it can preview packaging designs interactively in realistic 3D, says Esko-Graphics.

Beyond trapping, design control and preflighting, version 2.0 of DeskPack is said to deliver a number of functional improvements and benefits. It can produce accurately folded and animated 3D models along with the design application. The resulting VRML file can be viewed in Internet Explorer by pre-installing free downloadable VRML viewers such as Cortona or Cosmo.

New Adobe Illustrator plug-ins include a tool that allows users to create dynamic bar codes from a full set of standards. ViewX is a powerful set of visual inspection tools to check separations, overprint renderings, and registration, including flexo plate preview. Tools include a total area coverage view, densitometer, simulation of press mis-registration to check trapping values, high resolution image preview including OPI support, and extreme zoom.


Tel: +32 9 216 95 79
St Neots Packaging
Tel: +44 (0) 1480 476161

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