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Partnering for innovation

EskoArtwork came into force in August, 2007, when Esko ‘combined operations’ with Artwork Systems Group, its chief competitor in the packaging pre-production market.

As a result of the merger, Enfocus, the PDF pre-flighting and editing utilities specialist, a subsidiary of Artwork Systems, is now owned by EskoArtwork. The combined entity will operate out of Esko’s headquarters in Ghent, Belgium, located just a few miles away from what used to be the headquarters of Artwork Systems. The company has also relaunched its logo which, incidentally, is similar to the original Esko logo.

With the initial integration and rebranding process now completed, EskoArtwork says it will focus on integration of its products and services.

So what does this mean for its customers? Although immediately after the merger, EskoArtwork experienced a “blip in sales due to lack of customer confidence”, Carsten Knudsen, ceo and president of EskoArtwork, says the sales are now “back on track”.

“Our priority after the merger was to make sure that our customers continued to do their business in the same way. This is still our driving force,” he emphasizes.

While EskoArtwork plans to continue its investment in research and development, its initial focus will be on integrating software driven systems. “Integration makes processes more efficient, reliable and cost effective,” stresses Carsten Knudsen.

EskoArtwork is, therefore, working towards enabling the products from the two entities – Esko and Artwork systems – to be compatible in competing file formats. For example, LEN now supports compression and XMP metadata while Nexus Rip 8.6 and DotSpy 4.0 support the latest LEN version. Similarly, Esko PackEdge and Esko BackStage can be exported to ArtPro native file format. EskoArtwork will also integrate other systems across its colour management range, as well as its screening, CAD, CDI, and graphic editing packages.

“Partnerships within the packaging industry help create innovation,” says Carsten Knudsen. In line with this principle, EskoArtwork plans to continue its collaboration with others in the industry. It recently teamed up with ExxonMobil to launch the PacVantage technology, which is aimed at “taking proofing off the press”.

“PacVantage is being trialled at five sites in the US and Europe and is already showing positive results,” says Arjen Maarleveld, senior vice president packaging solutions.

“We have already delivered a fair bit but we’ve only just started,” he concludes.

Case study: Digitalizing workflow

Belgium based Geraerts Etiketten, a specialist in the production of self adhesive labels, and printed packaging film, claims a reputation for quality, and short lead times.
However, prepress had been a problem for Geraerts at the start. Until May 2005, the prepress workflow at Geraerts was very much a ‘do-it-yourself’ affair, with step-and-repeat functions being carried out manually.
Because this task was slow and arduous, Geraerts set up a vision for the future, which contained four key features: digitalizing the link between order intake, order management from the administrative database with CERM software and the production workflow; automation of step-and-repeat; electronic job approval and simplification of the flexo printing press through standardization.
Geraerts decided to invest in a number of Esko’s BackStage modules in order to integrate the administrative work with the prepress system, and to bring the Intel PC and Macintosh driven software together.
This meant one centralized management system for all administrative and product data. Both, the CERM software and Esko’s workflow send information to the central database, so this information can be used by either system for general management, administrative or production purposes.
Consequently, BackStage software imports SQL details from the databank and the CERM databank communicates with the production system using standard SQL-queries. All information, whether relating to product or administrative data, is automatically printed off as a report, along with the client’s PDF proof.
Rita Geraerts, managing director at Geraerts Etiketten, says: “Unintended repeat job entries are now avoided, errors are practically eliminated and the step-and-repeat work is in most cases automated. The new workflow has enabled shorter turnaround times and a greatly reduced frequency of errors.”


Tel: +32 9 216 92 11
Geraerts Etiketten
Tel: +32 11 600 888

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Geraerts Etiketten