Pre-press Unplugged by Ravi Vaitiyanathan - The Noel D'Cunha Sunday Column

By 15 May 2022

PrintWeek in association with Esko hosted a webinar which highlighted ArtPro+ applications. The session was conducted by Ravi Vaitiyanathan of Esko and was attended by more than 100 delegates.

Vaitiyanathan talks about inefficiencies in the pre-press process and shares tips on how to handle complex packaging artwork production. Read more ...

Vaitiyianathan: Ten out of ten artworks requires editing

PrintWeek (PW): What is the latest version of ArtPro+?
Ravi Vaitiyanathan (RV): The latest version of ArtPro+ is 22.03.

PW: How different is this version from the previous edition?
RV: We have added some key features for this edition such as: stimulator for digital printing; creating warp grids from dieline; automated plate cut line based optimize plate usage or prefer to follow the stagger pattern.

PW: One of the inputs we received from a pre-media firm is, "I am unable to create my own colour spot in ArtPro+.  For example, I need a colour swatch named MCD global red. So how do I go about creating my own colour swatches?" Please highlight.
RV: You can create your own separation or colour by following the steps: click on “add separations” icon under the separation tab. Then name the separation “MCD global red” and press enter; and finally add the values for the colour in LAB/CMYK/RGB and press enter

PW: How can I create a plate ID object?
RV: If you are using ArtPro+ in combination with Esko's Imaging Engine within the flexographic printing industry, you can use Plate ID objects to identify flexo plates. For example, for reprint after being archived, or to be reused in a similar job.

PW: How so?
RV: It is a kind of smart mark created using ArtPro+

Without taking apart the PDF, ArtPro+ provides direct access to the right transparency and object level thanks to a unique navigation concept

PW: What are the types of files that can be deployed in ArtPro+?
RV: ArtPro+ is a PDF-based Editor. It can open the PDF file directly.

PW: One of the inputs we received from a packaging converter is, "Any provision to distort the image as per specific pattern. Our image shrinks 99.9% after printing …"
RV: Yes, we have flexo distortion faction and warp techniques based on the shrink patterns for flexibles.

PW: Is there a comparison option in ArtPro+ like the automation engine?
RV: ArtPro+ comes with an advanced compare option and it can list the separations which are different. Also it can auto align based on the content

PW: Does ArtPro have a pre-flight option like Enfocus Pitstop?
RV: ArtPro+ comes with a pre-flight option and it uses the same engine of Enfocus Pitstop.

PW: Can any graphic designer/practicing graphic designer use ArtPro+ without training or do they need training to start using the tool?
RV: Any designer can easily migrate to ArtPro+ with a basic training about the tools. Since this is a packaging production software there are many options available which are not seen in a generic graphic editing software

PW: Can you generate an auto cutting file/freecut in ArtPro?
RV: Yes, we can create a cutting file from step and repeated layout file.

PW: While processing, if some elements were deleted by mistake, is there any method to cross-check with the origin?
RV: We have a compare feature which is capable of highlighting even a 0.05% colour change.

PW: How can we use 3D views in ArtPro+, some of the brands and their design teams want 3D views, is that possible?
RV: ArtPro+ supports 3D generation of files when you use the CAD-structure for converting the 2D artwork to 3D.

PW: Is there any standard for PDF? What is the latest standard?
RV: PDF 2.0 is the latest version and ISO has recommended the same. ArtPro Plus writes the file in the same format. GWG sets the basic framework for the PDF which is used in the industry and all the RIP engines should be capable  of decoding the structure as specified by GWG.

PW: There are lots of errors that make it to the shelf due to faults in tech drawings + tech specs etc. How does one minimise these goof ups?
RV: Esko’s Web centre can eliminate the issues related to sharing information with the stakeholders and tracking them in an organised manner. Kindly reach to us to know more. Our eMail address is: info.sa.eg@esko.com

PW: Can customers work online in real-time - and from anywhere in the world to manipulate CAD and graphic files?
RV: Esko’s cloud-based solutions can make it feasible.  

PW: Packaging buyers and brands are seeking a shorter time to market. Is there a new normal for TAT (turnaround time) in this day and age?
RV: Yes, customers want their product to reach the market as soon as possible to gain the market capital. If you look at the trends in the market every brand comes with new variance in the product at least once in a quarter so the converter segment should be dynamic to absorb this new norm to reproduce and deliver to the market.  

PW: How can our industry further automate pre-press ops? So that the industry can work at high efficient levels with an automated engine solution?
RV: Esko’s automation engine can help integrate your processes together and also to automate your pre-press activities accordingly. Kindly reach to us to know more about automating the pre-press

PW: Esko says ArtPro+ can save 70% of operators time. How so?
RV: ArtPro+ provides the right tool to the designers to work faster and efficiently. It is also inbuilt with quality tools which can help designers to produce first-time right SKU’s. Some of the tools are pre-flight, colours, white underprint, action list for finishing embellishments, recolour, automated and object-based trapping.

PW: Any pre-press innovation that has emerged in the past 24 months? For example, virtual proofing or online approvals?
RV: We have seen customers moving towards virtual 3D mockup to get approval of artwork. COVID pandemic has resulted in restricted movement, so customers are preferring contactless 3D mockups for easy and quick approval of artworks. It also helps in turning their ideas into beautiful 3D, to impress customers.

PW: You train Esko users across India, some patterns you are detecting in the packaging industry? For example, how has the evolving supply chain (e.g. increase in e-commerce) affected packaging design, SKU's, packaging material choices, print methods and other components?
RV: I can see a lot is happening towards sustainable packaging solutions in recent times. Many developments have been witnessed in changing the SKU’s design, material choices and print methods to ensure that sustainable packaging is achieved. In Esko’s we are constantly evolving our solution to match the market trend. Equinox our fixed ink pallet solution enables customers to move towards sustainable packaging.

Today’s packaging industry demands faster turnaround times, high-quality results and key information. With an ever-growing number of SKUs and many last-minute changes, managing artwork and all packaging related information is a clear bottleneck today. However, with the correct information being available online, it is easier to communicate and get approvals while maintaining complete security and traceability.

Join the PrintWeek-Esko webinar on 17 May (Tuesday) at 3 pm to learn how to accelerate business with the WebCenter. The speakers are Samarth Chandrashekar, manager – pre-sales and customer support, suppliers business at Esko and Pankaj Arora, enterprise software sales manager, supplier business at Esko will present the capabilities of WebCenter.

Click here to register


Ravi Vaitiyanathan is a G7 certified CMP pro and first certified implementation specialist for flexo. His mantra is: "more and more jobs are required with fewer touches." The other requirement is, how to abandon rejections, missed delivery dates or claims. He feels Esko's ArtPro+ can centralise, integrate, standardise and automate. ArtPro+ has 200 rules to automatically check and identify potential errors and specifications violations.

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