Are you looking for solutions to your day-to-day color management challenges? ColorLogic offers a complete solution for all of your color management needs including measurement data optimization, ICC profile creation and PDF processing.
Miami Dade College of Florida has been a user of the ColorLogic ZePrA Smart Color Server since August of 2013. Prior to using ColorLogic’s color management solutions, Miami Dade College was struggling with the lengthy process of color space conversion using the GMG ColorServer. As an organization that deals with the color space conversion of large files for newsprint, digital, offset and sheetfed on an almost daily basis, it is very important to work with an application that is fast and provides flexibility for changing requirements.
Prior to the installation of ZePrA, Senior Graphic Designer Ricardo Delgado experienced a very ineffective and frustrating process with his color workflow. Delgado explained the change in efficiency he experienced with ColorLogic. “One file in particular that proved challenging was 78 MB that needed to be converted to a specific color space. After processing with our former solution the file grew to over 901 MB. In comparison, the ColorLogic’s ZePrA, with the same file and color space conversion produced a 172 MB file”, recalls Delgado. “We later learned that ZePrA — in most of the cases — does not need to rasterize the file to process to a new color space, which is necessary for many other products. The ColorLogic solution is just so much faster and more efficient than anything else we have seen.”
Changing color servers might seem like it would be a tough transition, but Delgado lets us in on how ColorLogic made the process so simple. “We were able to install the application and set it up with guidance from our local ColorLogic representative Rick Dieguez at Grafix World. The application download, the installation and the integration into our workflow was seamless, without the need of a scheduled technical assistant. The color server was up and running almost immediately! Not only were we able to obtain better results, but we found the ColorLogic conversions to be smaller, hence faster to transfer.”
Since upgrading its color server to ColorLogic’s ZePrA, not only does Miami Dade College experience faster processing times with high-quality results, but the College also receives superior customer support from its local ColorLogic representative, Grafix World LLC in Miami. ColorLogic is dedicated to building a strong relationship between their representatives, clients and their team of color management experts, which has proven to be a successful system, as seen in this particular situation. ColorLogic’s dedication to these relationships means that there is a network of representatives and dealers in both North America and in Europe available to provide color management expertise as requested.
Get an overview of ColorLogic ZePrA here:
Click here to learn more about the features within ColorLogic ZePrA and how they can benefit your facility.
Written by CrossXColor Inc.
CS Labels’ managing director Simon Smith: "This has been a steep learning curve but a very worthwhile process."
Being at the forefront of technology innovation brings its own pressures. At CS Labels in Willenhall, near Wolverhampton, innovation is seen as a point of differentiation, and that spirit saw it become a beta site for Xeikon’s new 30 metres per minute Cheetah press in March. It is, says managing director Simon Smith, 58% faster than other Xeikon presses (CS Labels is the largest reel-fed Xeikon house in Europe with five machines). Therein lay the issue however.
"While we were putting the press in, we also had to consider what we were doing in terms of streamlining studio processes to get the work through more efficiently. We were using a preflighting system but it wasn’t giving us the savings we were hoping for", he told Digital Printer
The company had met MyPressXpert sales director Kevin Caughtry at an EasyFairs event in February, and then spoke to Niall Coady from the colour calibration firm shortly afterwards at a Xeikon Café. In talking, it was recognized that there could be ways to simplify and improve the workflow at CS Labels and reduce errors in prepress.
Following this, MyPressXpert has undertaken further bespoke project work for CS Labels, creating a brand new job management system for the Xeikon workflow from scratch, which interrogates an Excel (.xlsx) file from the client and automatically creates and databases all the label barcodes based on sites and quantities. It has also put in a colour management software system – ColorLogic’s ZePrA colour management server and ReProfiler Digital colour engine – which is helping to improve CS Labels’ management of process control and calibration of the Xeikon engines, providing detailed reporting on the stability of the presses so that maintenance schedules can be optimised. This has been effective to such a degree that in September the label producer stopped using the colour control system that comes with the Xeikon presses.
"All digital presses face the challenge of colour consistency from print run to print run, and we also need to ensure that our presses are optimised to achieve Pantone colours", said Mr Smith. "Invariably we are given a label to match by printing CMYK. We need to get as close as possible to achieving the Pantones consistently and measure how close in Delta E we are. This system has helped us to do that. We are of the opinion that it actually takes it to a different level."
The impact of these implementations of automated preflighting and colour management within the company is that CS Labels is able to cope with higher volumes of work while utilising the same level of human resources. "We are also shortening lead times to get work on press and we are getting far fewer mistakes where files have to go back to the studio", Mr Smith continued. "It has streamlined the whole process for us and allows the studio to move away from more mundane tasks such as putting the bleed on a hundred files – those things are automated now. The system also automates the artwork and sends a proof back to the customer."
"The ideal is that we get a PDF from our customer and it goes straight on press without a human touching it. That’s what we are looking for, and we are making fairly substantial progress."
All progress in this direction is welcome, because in December a second Cheetah press will arrive, and further efficiencies will need to be found.
"This has been a steep learning curve but a very worthwhile process", Mr Smith concluded. "The biggest benefit is that we have been able to make this system bespoke to our unique requirements, rather than buying one off the shelf."
Written by Whitmar Publications
Pixartprinting specializes in providing a range of online print services: small format items (magazines, catalogues, postcards, stickers, labels, flyers etc), large format objects (high resolution prints, indoor and outdoor posters, banners, display stands etc), packaging and much more. Today, Pixarprinting has over 900 000 customers across Europe, receives an average of 12 000 orders a day and boasts the largest range of cutting-edge equipment in Europe. How did they become the leading web-to-print shop in Europe?
At Pixartprinting, they are convinced that the e-commerce landscape has been changing dramatically. They had to cope with a growing product range, bigger volumes, geographically dispersed markets, distributed manufacturing and – on top of all that – demanding customers. Conrado Camacho, Director of Technology at Pixartprinting, illustrates this: "We have to cope with quite some challenges: we need to scale to rapidly increasing volumes, build flexible processes that can pivot on the market’s feedback and adapt to new printing technologies. In the meantime, we must be conscious about costs to maintain Pixartprinting’s profitability." Alessio de Zotti, Manufacturing Software Manager at Pixartprinting, finishes his words: "Luckily, cloud-based computing and partnering with companies that understand these opportunities gives us the chance to scale based on our business needs."
Since 2012, Pixartprinting appeals to pdfToolbox for their production workflows. They have been managing a number of servers on the premises that helps them managing their peak volumes, even though the demand is not stable during the year. With the arrival of License Server, they could finally migrate to a cloud-based infrastructure where they are not bound by a specific set of servers that runs pdfToolbox. Now, they can add or remove servers at will based on the workload.
With License Server, we can quickly adapt to peaks on demand as well as making an optimized usage of our pdfToolbox licenses.
"With this move, we expect to migrate to a system that can automatically scale up or down, based on the needs on that specific moment. This should provide many advantages, such as cost optimization (we only pay for computing power used). With License Server, we can quickly adapt to peaks on demand as well as making an optimized usage of our pdfToolbox licenses", says Alessio de Zotti.
Pixartprinting has always been investing in automatizing its business processes to be able to serve its customers as best one can while maintaining competitive prices. "We are excited to enforce the partnership with callas software, as their automation technology can help us improving the quality of our support towards customers." With License Server, they can now offer their customers quick and easy access to the best printing solutions.
Disc Makers is the world’s largest CD, DVD and Blu-ray manufacturer for independent musicians, filmmakers and small businesses. Their goal is to help those independents compete head-to-head with larger companies. Since 1946, Disc Makers has offered everything to make a successful release: duplication, replication, printing, graphic design, audio mastering, DVD authoring, worldwide distribution and so much more.
The music business has changed drastically over the years. But even amongst the digital surge that has changed everything, there has always been a need for disc manufacturing. "The digital age has closed the gap between independent artists and major label acts. Streaming and social media platforms offer access to fans and potential listeners around the globe. That means there are more opportunities than ever for artists to achieve real career success, especially for those taking a DIY approach. The real challenge lies in supplying artists with what they need to be seen in the same light as the big artists", says Michael Dixon, ME Director at Disc Makers.
Disc Makers produces over 40 million discs for 40 thousand artists every year. To cope with such an amount of CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays, they needed to improve their efficiency. "We needed an automation solution to prepare us for the artwork and content management of the future", explains Michael. "And that’s where Imp came in."
We chose Imp, because of its development capacity, along with its ability to integrate with custom solutions.
Within three years of deployment, Disc Makers successfully improved their turnaround times and productivity by adding automation to their diversified labor force. "We chose Imp because of its development capacity, along with its ability to integrate with custom solutions. After just 30 days, the software proved to work even better than anticipated", clarifies Michael. "We could always rely on the service and support provided by both Four Pees and InSoft." Disc Makers is now ready for the next generation of independent artists!
Printi made its entry in the Brazilian print industry in 2012 and has made it to the biggest web-to-print company of Brazil ever since. Since 2015, they also became member of the largest group of online printers in the world, Cimpress. Their main goal is to improve the level of transparency and efficiency in the customization process of printed products.
They mainly focus on orders from end users and smaller companies. Rafael P. Cassola, Solution Architect at Printi, clarifies: "Other web-to-print companies usually don’t offer a good online experience for those markets. Their loss, our trump card!" They are determined to give everyone the opportunity to customize products quickly and easily at a low cost.
Printi’s biggest challenge is to offer a big portfolio of customized products, as each line of production has its own technical specifications. They were immediately on to the fact that software was the shortest way to achieve that goal. A dedicated team was focusing on bringing new solutions to their daily operation, and that’s how they discovered (and tested) Imp. "We identified a match made in heaven: we could exchange information between our MIS and Imp", says Rafael. The ability to create a smart, intuitive imposition without the intervention of an operator definitely won them over.
We identified a match made in heaven: we could exchange information between our MIS and Imp.
For 2 years, they have learned a lot about imposition, which made them able to identify other opportunities to improve their business. "The algorithm in Imp that decides which is the best solution to produce a big volume of orders allows us to focus on what brings real value to our company."
Imp allows us to focus on what brings real value to our company.
The best part? "We really value their support: they always have our back and are always open to suggestions! In case of a problem, they respond quickly with a workaround or an innovative solution." InSoft also constantly releases product updates, which often lead to Printi becoming more efficient in their process: "A good example would be the small imposition enhancement related to how PDFs were placed on the final page. This small update reduced the cutting time of some of our layouts from hours to minutes! Hats off to Imp!"
PA Digitale SpA is a leading software solutions provider on the Italian Public Administration market. It specifically targets the document and data management sector.
PA Digitale offers an integrated management information system, called URBI Smart that covers all functional areas of management and provides to Directors/Executives a support tool for real time management. Thanks to the availability of static and dynamic data reports it also offers a complete framework for integration with other data sources that is always up to date.
URBI Smart is completely web based, available in the Cloud, accessible from any PC and mobile device, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The PA Digitale software solutions also offer advanced electronic document management, from creation and classification to archiving and digital preservation. These functionalities are available in an integrated Web Portal for a more efficient Public Administration, “closer” to citizens.
With its new WebTec solution, PA Digitale is now not only entering the private market, but also introducing one of the first digital preservation solutions formally approved by the Italian government. callas pdfaPilot enabled PA Digitale to make a big leap forward in terms of management and digital preservation of electronic documents.
“Without a digital preservation service there is no dematerialization of paper workflows. Digital preservation is a key factor for the sustainability of the dematerialization process, to ensure that information and documents are stored in a way that guarantees integrity, authenticity, accessibility and readability.”
May 2014, Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale - www.agid.gov.it
An electronic document, like any document processed by a Public Administration (PA), must be classified, sorted and sent to an archive. Moreover, any Public Administration document is considered a cultural heritage and, for this reason, must be preserved according to government laws.
Public Administrations as well as private companies are obliged to manage the digital preservation of documents in various areas, where law requirements are in effect or imminent. Such documents are for example: electronic invoices, daily PA register protocols, administrative records, contracts, and any kind of document including a digital signature. They are all electronic documents and for this reason subject to digital preservation.
Within the private sector especially for financial accounting documents requirements exist enforcing digital preservation by Italian law. Digital preservation has to deal with the protection of legal validity, authenticity, integrity, reliability, availability and immutability of electronic documents.
PA Digitale’s preservation software solution is developed with the latest innovative technology, including callas pdfaPilot libraries for PDF/A document management. callas pdfaPilot allowed PA Digitale to design a software able to convert any document (generated from any management software on the market) to always-valid future-proof PDF/A documents, ready for the digital preservation process.
“The particular methodologies and technologies used to design and realize our systems also allow us to perform maintenance activities, software updates, etc… without any service interruptions. These features, combined with the web based access mode optimized for mobile devices, allow us to ensure access to the system in any place at any time.”
Explains Fabrizio Toninelli, Administrator at PA Digitale.
This was achieved by replacing the analog model with the digital one and by changing the management processes with the digital preservation objective in mind. Thanks to the callas software solution PA Digitale drives its customers in the right direction.
Based in Vanves just outside Paris, Made in Pack is a platform for multi-process pre-press packaging production. Its innovative team of packaging production experts works with the big names in industry. Made in Pack’s customers include brands like L’Oréal, Redken, Harrys, Charal and Régilait as well as packaging printers such as Amcor and Smurfit Kappa. Having numerous types of different customers also means producing a wide variety of packaging. Made in Pack has years of experience and manages the coordination, implementation, declination, photogravure and proofing of cartons, labels, bags, thermoformed films and other types of packaging. After investing in iC3D, Made in Pack now offers a new solution for 3D visualisation and validation for all media.
iC3D is a 3D visualisation solution especially for packaging. It lets you intuitively convert a 2D graphic design into a virtual prototype that can be manipulated and viewed from all angles and even integrated it into a virtual environment such as a store. The graphic design is applied to existing packaging from the model library or an imported model created in a third-party application. However, iC3D also offers a wide variety of templates and tools for creating your own models.
Jan Debacker, Production Manager at Made in Pack, is very clear: “We had the ability to create 3D visualisations before, but it was very laborious. iC3D is a fast and powerful solution for creating virtual packaging. The tools are concentrated in a single software and let you create, visualise and share 3D images as high-resolution or animated pack shots via IC3D opsis, the on-line sharing service built into the latest version of the software. The rapid evolution of this software means we receive new features with almost every update", continues Mr Debacker. "Besides the usual standards of the packaging industry, iC3D lets you create customised models in different types of environments. The multi-object approach also allows you to visualise several components (carton, bags, POS) assembled in a single environment. This simulation helps you identify certain optimisations at the earliest possible stage and advise the customer effectively."
The advantages are not just technical. "As a team on a human scale we always have to think about how we differentiate the major players", explains Laurent Sehier, Managing director of Made In Pack. “iC3D offers real internal and external added value. It gives us an economic way to capture potential errors early in the production process. This means we can offer an additional service to our customers, enabling them to make the right decisions regarding the technical and visual aspects of their packaging in order to achieve a product that stands out on the shelf."
To meet the needs and expectations of Purchasing and Marketing departments, Made in Pack offers a comprehensive management solution for the packaging graphics chain. Its role: to support you along the entire value chain of your packaging projects, to centralise and share resources in their entirety for all brands and all stakeholders.
Made in Pack is a dual-competence partner that offers marketing and creative sensitivity underpinned by recognised technical and operational excellence. It provides a tailored service enabling excellent control of the entire packaging graphics chain with multi-process experience to ensure on-shelf uniformity of the product range.
For more information, visit www.madeinpack.com.
Developed by Creative Edge Software, iC3D is a range of products for designing and sharing virtual packaging prototypes.
iC3D, the main application, provides functions for creating models of cartons, POS, bottles, flexibles, tubes, sachets, etc., and applying graphics onto the packaging in real time.
iC3D Carton Edition is the entry-level version that focuses on the visualisation of folded cartons.
iC3D opsis is an on-line 3D model sharing service integrated into iC3D and iC3D Carton Edition.
iC3D Automate is a solution for automatically replacing the graphics on existing models and generating all kinds of outputs such as images, 3D PDFs and more.
iC3D Viewer is the free application for opening native iC3D virtual prototypes on any computer, Mac or PC.
iC3D products are distributed by Four Pees. For more information, visit the Four Pees website.
Graphic communications agency Square SA has been active since 1979. With its comprehensive knowledge of the graphic chain, Square operates notably within the fields of pre-press and packaging, pre-media (documents and publications), image databases as well as resource management and editorial solutions. Graphic communications is the company’s core business, with a firmly technical approach. Based in Lyon, France, the company boasts a portfolio of customers that includes global players such as Adobe, BNP Paribas, L’Oréal, Le Monde, Danone and Volvo – to name but a few.
Roland Donzelle, CEO of Square SA, believes that customer demands have changed dramatically: "Time-to-market has become much shorter, which requires more flexibility from suppliers." Mr Donzelle explains further: "The demands on pre-press have spread towards supplying structured data and 3D simulations, as well as prototypes." For Square, this represents an opportunity as well as a challenge to anticipate these customer demands.
Enter iC3D. As a real-time 3D packaging simulation and design application, iC3D can bring ideas to life. Not only is it possible to create 3D environments in real time, but it can even generate three-dimensional models in complex scenarios. "The philosophy behind the software really appealed to us", Mr Donzelle explains. Thanks to its flexibility, iC3D has not gone unnoticed. Other software products can be a source of frustration as they continue to apply design processes in isolation.
In addition, Square was looking for a publisher who would listen to them. "Another instrumental factor was the publisher, who seemed to be very in tune with our needs", Mr Donzelle states. "The support provided by Four Pees, whom we know well, has also contributed to our decision." Clearly, to have a strong partner is vital in order to gain access to the market and generate sustainable and profitable growth.
Square has been using iC3D for more than a year now and has noted a remarkable change. Turnaround times have improved thanks to iC3D, and productivity has increased. iC3D thus gives operators the chance to improve their creative potential. Furthermore, it achieves higher-quality results leading to improved sales. Square now needs to persuade even more of its existing customer base and, perhaps more importantly, attract new customers. "We are completely satisfied", Mr Donzelle concludes.
Square SA is a graphic communications agency. In an age of constant connectivity and digital publishing, creating documents quickly, printing or enhancing them with multimedia content, transferring, translating, modifying, classifying and filing them has become a major issue for buyers.
Square SA’s areas of focus include pre-press and packaging, pre-media (documents and publications), image databases as well as resource management and editorial solutions. As such, Square provides comprehensive expertise over the entire graphics chain, taking a firmly technical approach geared towards new technologies.
For more information, please visit www.square.fr.
Developed by Creative Edge Software, iC3D is a range of products for designing and sharing virtual packaging prototypes.
iC3D is the main application, providing functions for creating models of cartons, POS, bottles, flexibles, tubes, shrink wraps ... and applying graphics onto the packaging in real time.
iC3D Carton Edition is the entry-level version that focuses on the visualisation of folded cartons.
iC3D opsis is an on-line 3D model sharing service integrated into iC3D and iC3D Carton Edition.
iC3D Automate is a solution for automatically replacing the graphics on existing models and generating all kinds of outputs such as images, 3D PDFs and more.
iC3D Viewer is the free application for opening native IC3D virtual prototypes on any computer, Mac or PC.
iC3D products are distributed by Four Pees. For further information, please visit the Four Pees website.
The callas pdfToolbox Server, isn’t that the workflow package that is especially suitable for larger companies? “Could be,” says Ronald van der Meer of Pim Print in Roelofarendsveen, “but we control our production with this software and we are very happy with it.”
Pim Print’s current premises, a former bulbshed, are bursting at the seams. Expansion on a recently purchased building plot nearby is in the pipeline. The company’s founder, Pim van der Meer, started his company in 1982. Ronald van der Meer - no relation - joined the company in 1997, and he became its co-owner in 2012. “The biggest change was without a doubt the digitization of our production and the arrival of a number of SRA3 volume printers and two wide format inkjet plotters. We took our most important decision four years ago by putting our money on web-based selling”, says Ronald.
Pim Print employs seven people. Some of them work on optimizing the company’s five webshops so that the company and, more importantly, its products are easier to find. Others are working on further streamlining of the workflow.
“Of course, our webshops are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We process hundreds of jobs each day, with all their associated administrative tasks. This is only possible with strict automation.” Ronald, a veteran in the printing trade, was trained at the Graphic Lyceum Rotterdam. “The graphic trade cannot do without IT. Fortunately, I am fascinated by these possibilities. When we found that web-based sales were increasing, we started searching for software that could relieve the prepress by automating the checking procedures. That is when we discovered callas pdfToolbox Server. Wifac, our local reseller, supplies us with the consumables and they understand automation, workflow and printers. If we have really in-depth questions, we can always count on Wifac for advice and support. This is essential when you run a 24/7 company. callas builds highly flexible tools, allowing for a wide deployment of the package. Of course, we had to enter our products and profiles in the database ourselves. This was a tough job, and we worked hard on it from early November to late December. Since January of this year, our production runs entirely on callas pdfToolbox. Because of this, we have minimized our margin of error. If you place a job order today, you will receive it the following day. Guaranteed.”
How does it work? A customer places an order via the web. When he sends us the confirmation, the customer attaches the job in the form of a document. “callas pdfToolbox Server provides the preflight, and our Content Management System generates and sends an invoice to the customer by return. The customer settles the invoice immediately, for example via iDeal. No humans are involved in this process. The callas software checks - and, if necessary, corrects - the job on bleed, inserts cutting marks, provides smoothing, calculates the correct color space and places a barcode, so that after printing, the job cutting or print finishing can take place without manual adjustments.” This reduces the workload and brings peace into the organization.
callas pdfToolbox Server is based on the Adobe PDF Library and includes advanced color management functions and on-board imposition. It takes the workflow to the next level with the use of hotfolders. Processing thousands of files is done without supervision or with minimal visual inspection by an operator. A command line version and a full SDK for developers are available.
“In order to have a fully functioning automated workflow you need to invest in knowledge and time. You are on the right track when you can let the software perform all kinds of repetitive tasks. Many printers are still burdening themselves with the idea that the press or printer should be the centre of the production. But not in our case. Automated production has the most pivotal role to play. This is what creates peace.”
Pim Print had a terrific first month and also February 2014 is looking fabulous. “Customers who want to have printing done, always search on the web for the cheapest option first and then choose the easiest solution.” Customers will find that there is more than just flyers. Posters, banners, magazines, stickers - there are many possibilities.
“A real runner is our man-size print. We pondered over how we could offer this product for a reasonable price, including postage. This applies to all products. You don’t start thinking about how to make something when you have already sold it. It all should be strictly arranged in advance. That way you can offer an attractive price with fast delivery times, and still earn from it.“
Ronald van der Meer is not finished yet. “The goal is to take on more projects with the existing team. The focus lies on further tightening of the workflow and even better findability of our sites. Moreover, we are going to work with affiliate networks, third-party websites that promote our work, for which they get paid. It seems simple, but this too should be carefully arranged. In addition, we will delve deeper into the possibilities of callas pdfToolbox Server. I think there are a lot more tools in that box that we can take advantage of.”
Tucanna designed tFLOW to streamline the way files get from customer to print. Jonathan Jackson, the soft signage & digital grand format Print Producer from Xarisma, says tFLOW does a great job with everything from preflighting to separating files, maintaining color consistency and eliminating redundant work.
Watch the short testimonial to learn more:
With the rising amount of new publication channels on the market, publishers not only need to publish content but also manage it. This has lead to a significant growth in the demand for content management solutions over the past years. Additionally publishers are more frequently looking for self-service environments to reduce the in-house cost of supporting their clients. This explains the success of the solution Penthion brought to the market, a self-service solution for the entire publishing process that provides complete and integrated automation using callas pdfToolbox Server for certifying their PDFs.
In June 2012, Penthion started evaluating callas pdfToolbox; the main reason was their involvement in a pilot project for a big customer who had a strong preference for the callas software solution. Based on their evaluation of the technology and their experience with the callas organization itself, they decided to not only use pdfToolbox for this one project but forge a closer business relationship with callas software. “We decided to replace our own PDF checker with callas pdfToolbox as this is a more economical solution for us. It also provides us with new features, improved efficiency, updates and better technical support” explains Mr. Tjepkema, Owner and Managing Director of Penthion Media Technologies. The first integrated solution went into production at the beginning of 2013.
callas pdfToolbox Server was integrated into Penthion’s online Ad|Portal delivery platform. The Ad|Portal upload module is their digital gatekeeper for publishers. Using the Ad|Portal advertisers can upload PDF files, which will be checked and - if possible - fixed instantly and converted into certified PDF files using the integrated callas technology. callas pdfToolbox Server does it all in the background: automated high quality preflighting and reliable automatic correction of PDF files. It speeds up job turn around times and significantly reduces error rates. Jan-Peter Tjepkema continues: “Uploading ads has never been more simple than with using the Ad|Portal. It also supports the workflow of the publisher and sends automatically generated emails to advertisers. It manages deadlines and will act according to these. With the integrated pdfToolbox Server, the Ad|Portal supports the upload of print and/or online material. And of course we can handle ready-made material or material ready for setting.”
The use of the Ad|Portal gives the publisher more time to spend on sales instead of tedious material handling. The pro-active approach of the Ad|Portal always means that both publisher and advertiser are in control.
“Our main challenge remains convincing publishers that there is a market out there and that there is still plenty of money to be spent and earned”, concludes Jan-Peter Tjepkema. “We are constantly striving for building sustainable solutions with our customers and our biggest opportunity is providing a pay-per-use business model. In this model we earn money when the publisher earns money without any major initial investment. It's in fact a turnkey solution.”
callas pdfToolbox Server automates and standardizes the process of file delivery and reception. For print, publishing, advertising, packaging and design companies, it offers the most comprehensive solution for automated high quality preflighting and reliable automatic correction of PDF files through the use of hot folders. Fully multi-processor aware, callas pdfToolbox Server easily scales with their customer’s needs and built on the Adobe PDF Library it provides rock-solid processing. A command-line version and full developer SDK are available when it’s necessary to provide closer integration. From the developers of Adobe® Acrobat®’s Preflight technology, pdfToolbox Server offers comprehensive, yet easy to use:
The optional DeviceLink set provides easy repurposing of files for different printing conditions.
Since more than 15 years Penthion Media Technologies operates as an A-Z supplier of automation solutions for both magazine and newspaper publishers. They offer a complete and integrated automation solution for the entire publishing process. Penthion works daily on optimizing and professionalizing automation processes. They do this by listening carefully to the needs of their customers and by closely following the developments in the market. Their solutions are user-friendly, scalable, time and cost saving. Penthion is the exclusive supplier of all products from the Finnish company Oy Anygraaf in the Netherlands and in Belgium. Penthion is privately owned and located in Assen, The Netherlands. For more information, visit the website: www.penthion.nl.
callas software finds simple ways to handle complex PDF challenges. As a technology innovator, callas software develops and markets PDF technology for publishing, print production, document exchange and document archiving. callas software helps agencies, publishing companies and printers to meet the challenges they face by providing software to preflight, correct and repurpose PDF files for print production and electronic publishing. Businesses and government agencies all over the world rely on callas software’s future-proof, fully PDF/A compliant archiving products. In addition, callas software technology is available as a programming library (SDK) for developers with a need for PDF optimization, validation and correction. Software vendors such as Adobe®, Quark®, Xerox®, Hewlett Packard® and many others have recognized the quality and flexibility provided by these callas tools and have incorporated them into their solutions. callas software actively supports international standards and has been participating in ISO, CIP4, the European Color Initiative (ECI), Ghent PDF Workgroup, FOGRA, AIIM and BITKOM. In addition, callas software is a founding member of the PDF Association and in October 2010, Olaf Drümmer became its chairman. callas software is based in Berlin, Germany. For more information, visit the callas software website at: http://www.callassoftware.com.
To satisfy the ever changing requirements of the printing industry you need flexible and yet still specialized solutions to address those needs in the best possible way. We spoke with Mr. Alberto Gómez, CEO of the printing company Impresiones y Prototipos, s.l. in Barcelona, Spain, who is mainly responsible for the strategic development of the whole company. He focuses on quality improvements, solutions to fulfill specific customer requirements while looking for new opportunities to expand the activities of his company.
Our company Impresiones y Prototipos, s.l., is a printing company located in Barcelona (Spain) with over 30 years experience in the printing industry. Three years ago we created a new division “Zeta Prototypes” which specializes in prototype packaging. Our main clients here are located in the high-end sector of perfumery. Due to the high quality of our prototypes and the great success we have achieved here in Spain, we just started our international expansion prototypes packaging division. Our goal for 2015 is to establish this international business.
We use CoPrA and ColorAnt to optimize our measurement data and create ICC and DeviceLink profiles. Afterwards we process files by using the color server ZePrA. After we validated how this powerful color management engine helped us to improve our print data, we also have included the ZePrA module for Spot Color conversion, which is very important for us. We also just started using the Reprofiler, which we think is a very interesting solution for handling slight changes in the print process without the need to regularly create completely new profiles.
A while ago we had some color issues in our production. I was looking for better ways to achieve color fidelity and shorter make-ready times. Someone recommended Daniel López from ID-Soft to us. He helped us to evaluate the right solutions and then integrated the ColorLogic products for us. Daniel is an excellent color consultant. He is very knowledgable and probably one of the best technicians for colorimetry in Spain. He also introduced us to the ColorLogic products.
We tried many other color management solutions, but we were never able to achieve our goal with them. Our goals are to create high-quality prototypes and ensure the same colors in the final print. It is also important to know that theses prototypes serve as samples for all further printing processes. With the ColorLogic solutions, we saw from the beginning that we could achieve this goal, because they are very powerful and versatile. Before we changed our production, we had to perform many tests to get a color fidelity prototype. Since we began using ColorLogic technology these tests have been drastically reduced while also giving us a substantial increase in production without comprising the print quality. Additionally, due to ColorLogic’s products we can manage color in all material we work with: Polyester, Folding, Leather, PVC, PET, etc, knowing that we will always obtain the best result of reproduction.
Each prototype we do is a unique work. Our customers rely on our quality and with our optimized production we have have been able to achieve for our prototyping a 95% realism in comparison to the final industrial production. Today we are the 1st company in Spain which is certified by the best companies. So, now that we have such an extensive experience in conducting professional prototypes, we begin our international expansion by offering prototyping to other countries.
It is not a cheap solution, but I think it is complex to define what is cheap or expensive… Of course, it depends heavily on the objectives that are achieved. In our case, although it looked like a major investment in the beginning, we believe this was worth the money spent. Meanwhile we improved production tremendously and added value based on the professional knowledge of Daniel López. And if we ever see new requirements we can always discuss those with him. So for sure, I would do the investment again.
The latest version 4 of the high-performance color server ZePrA, developed by the German ColorLogic GmbH, has successfully passed its test period at alprinta GmbH. For some time now, alprinta GmbH has used Colorlogic‘s products ZePrA, CoPrA, Reprofiler and ColorAnt for their daily color management tasks. Ever changing print conditions in digital and screen printing, along with the special needs regarding exact reproduction of spot colors, calls for high-end color management solutions as one of the key success factors for alprinta.
“I really like to test new products for our production. The printing industry is changing constantly and only by adopting your production process to these changing requirements, allows you to maintain and optimize it. I also appreciate the quick response of the development teams responsible for the products we use here at alprinta. In addition, it enables me to share feedback and ideas regarding future development which may benefit all users.“
Lukat explains how the ZePrA color server is used at alprintas‘ production in combination with ColorLogics‘ CoPrA (ICC profiling): “Instead of repeating the general advantages of the ColorLogic products, I like to focus on new features in ZePrA 4 / CoPrA 3 which are so beneficial for our daily print business:”
Until now the standard process was to generate printer and DeviceLink profile with CoPrA and re-profile with Reprofiler, each combination of printer, material and printing speed. The resulting DeviceLink profiles, were used for color conversion in ZePrA. Dealing with ten different print materials, three printers with three different speed settings ends easily in handling of 180 profiles (90 ICC and 90 DeviceLink profiles). The printing results are outstanding, but whenever something changes: material, settings, etc. all profiles need to be redone to maintain the quality. With the new SmartLink module in ZePrA 4 it is now possible to share DeviceLink settings between CoPrA 3 and ZePrA 4 and cuts with one “click“ the amount of profiles in half. ZePrA calculates automatically the required DeviceLink profile based on the related output profile. There are also pre-defined settings available for SmartLink.
This new feature is one of my favorites. Especially in large format printing with its different kind of materials and reproduction capabilities. All clients require perfect reproduction of their CI colors and spot colors. Therefore, it is essential to know if those colors may be reproduced with the chosen settings. With ZePrA it is possible to define a variable for DeltaE2000 (deltaE2000 fits nicely to human color prediction) to track if the color shift is good enough to continue with the print or not. This goes very well together with the new rendering intent Minimal Compression in CoPrA 3 which allows the best possible nearly absolute colorimetric reproduction. Who can ask for more!
With the new Flattening options it is possible to reduce transparencies quickly either on single jobs or whole plates and ensure the best possible reproduction without running into problems with transparencies or spot colors. Daily print production has proven that reduction of transparency is required. Even working in a PDF-X/4-Workflow can lead to those unpredictable problem which can be solved now.
All job settings may be stored manually in ZePrA by using the report function – in ZePrA 4 it is now possible to do this automatically and store it in a folder. I believe that this is essential to guarantee future reproduction and archive customer data. Thank you, ColorLogic, for realizing this customer request!
Finally, the most important point for all decision makers: Even if all topics mentioned are already more than helpful in daily reproduction work, you will enjoy the SaveInk module in ZePrA 4 and CoPrA 3 on top of it. I was able to realize approximately 20% ink reduction in 1000 print job without any loss of quality. Especially in large format printing where ink costs define the print costs – this could make the difference. This function pays off from your first print job on. Additionally, with the different SaveInk levels you are able to define quality and rentability.
The German alprinta GmbH located in Leverkusen has been successfully working in print and display production for more than 30 years. Their core competence lies in digital and screen printing as well as advertisement, displays and UV offset. Alprinta is one of the market leaders in the area of display advertisement. This success is based on over 50 motivated and highly experienced employees.
“My sincerest thanks to ColorLogic for the new ColorAnt tool for measurement data preparation!” writes Ulf Wittenberg from Appel Grafik, who as a long-standing customer was involved in the beta testing of CoPrA 2 and ColorAnt in 2011. The report from Ulf Wittenberg at Appel Grafik on his experiences shows why…
Appel Grafik is a media service company based in Germany with sites in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich and Stuttgart. The Appel Grafik sites have been using the DeviceLink profiles created by ColorLogic CoPrA for many years for high quality and standardized color conversion of PDF files and pixel images. Ulf Wittenberg, Color Manager at Appel Color department creates, tests and optimizes the DeviceLink and ICC profiles centrally for the Appel Group, enabling him to ensure consistent color quality throughout the company.
Ulf Wittenberg continues:
“At last with ColorAnt there is software for MacOS and Windows for applying corrections such as measurements smoothing or compensation of optical brighteners to the measurement data – and as a CoPrA 2 purchaser it is free of charge, too. ColorLogic has also integrated even more extremely useful functions with the help of its outstanding and highly customer-oriented team.
The measurement data correction and smoothing are extremely helpful in our everyday work, particularly in calculating output profiles for color laser printers that despite careful calibration often still have notable irregularities. In addition, papers with a significant amount of optical brighteners are often used in production that in turn generate problems of a different kind when their effects cannot be corrected. Using ColorAnt, the necessary corrections can be included in the measurement data and their effect checked in advance of the profile calculation. The corrected data are then reflected in the CoPrA profile as well.
The other tools in ColorAnt are also fantastic – some outstanding examples include:
The whole package is rounded off by a comparative function with statistical evaluation and a PDF report. This provides a really comprehensive overview of the quality of the printers measured.
This combination of advanced color management tools was previously only possible using several different programs from various manufacturers – to have all this in just one program that is really easy to use makes us really happy!
In summary: ColorAnt easily exceeds our expectations and feature requests and has become an indispensable tool in our workflow.”
The German SKN printing and publishing group has a long tradition which dates back to the last century. SKN currently employs approximately 450 employees. The publishing area covers over 30 different telephone books, the monthly magazine “Ostfriesland Magazine” and also publishes books. With its daily newspapers “Ostfriesischer Kurier”, the “Norderneyer Badezeitung” and two additional weekly newspapers, the SKN is also well known in the German newspaper publishing.
Beside these activities, the SKN is one of the largest industrial printers for high volume printing in Germany. According to their motto, “SKN – Competence in printing and publishing“, the SKN delivers high quality on a good price-quality-level. Besides highly educated and motivated employees, it‘s essential for the development of such multifaceted company to use the right technology and to have a close contact to all clients. Therefore, it is very important for the SKN to take special care about job printing and close customer relation. In other words, to present itself as a competent and reliable partner with whom it is easy to work with.
Tielko de Groot is the Manager of Prepress at SKN and, in addition, responsible for training and internal complaints department. Several years ago, a print consultant introduced him to the products from the color experts ColorLogic. The possibility to handle all print related data in the correct color space convinced Tielko de Groot to ColorLogic was the obvious solution. Due to the importance of using InkSave in SKNs production, they decided to work with ColorLogic ZePrA and the ColorLogic DeviceLink profiles.
Tielko reports: “Working with a reliable and fast color server, which can be configured in an easy and understandable way, is really great. ZePrA is responsible for most of our color conversions and ink saving calculation of print data for sheet-fed and web-fed offset printing. For example, to adjust color data to the different Fogra characteristics of several paper types is an easy and fast task. Furthermore, by using an automation software like Enfocus Switch, the automation process in production can be additionally increased”.
Regarding the DeviceLink profiles, Tielko says: “At first, I like to highlight the fact that the DeviceLinkSet profiles have proven its usability during several print tests with Fogra certified color consultants. That main advantage is that it enables proprietary systems to deliver the same results as ZePrA. Therefore, we are using those profiles especially in newspaper production with Kodak Prinergy to apply SaveInk directly before printing. Before deciding on this production method, we tested a competitive product, which produced several errors. The generated print data were useless for production. However, the ColorLogic products are very reliable and need more or less no support at all. The few questions which have been raised so far, have always been answered fast and sufficient by ColorLogic and Karsten Schwarze from our dealer Impressed.”
Another advantage regarding the correct output in production rests, based on Tielko de Groot statement, in the fact “that the color server can be set to only adopt the images inside the PDF (or image files itself) and does not rip the complete PDF files or creates a complete new one or does any additional modification. This leads to a higher performance, too. And it keeps me independent from any PDF library settings …” He went on to say, “I believe investing into a color server only happens once – and therefore you should better proof that it lasts. With ZePrA return on investment is ensured. By the way – we are also using ZePrA in our subsidiary OPD.”
Ringier is the largest internationally operating Swiss media company, producing more than 120 newspapers and magazines worldwide as well as running printing plants, several radio and TV stations and over 80 web and mobile platforms.
In 1996, Ringier installed axaio MadeToPrint – at that time for Quark Publishing System. Since then, the software has been used first and foremost to create fully automated print data. This primarily consists of high resolution PDFs following the PDF/X-3 standard, but also includes lower resolution PDFs and thumbnails for downstream systems.
“Back then, we implemented MadeToPrint so that we could standardize and automate our print output,” explains Martin Werren, Head of Business Solutions IT for the Publishing and Content Management Technologies department at Ringier AG. “Standardization is really important to us. MadeToPrint supports all of the required ISO standards for PDF output and helps us avoid mistakes. It relieves our layout artists from repetitive tasks and lets them focus on their real job: design.”
By using MadeToPrint, Ringier saves 60 to 90 minutes of valuable working time per day. The software is very robust and reliable and its performance with the appropriate hardware is outstanding.
axaio MadeToPrint is available in three different versions: MadeToPrint Standard (€349) is an InDesign plugin that allows you to optimize and safeguard the output of individual files in PDF format or other file formats. Using predefined JobSets, you can achieve identical output results on every workstation with a click of the mouse, thus ensuring a higher level of efficiency and fewer mistakes. MadeToPrint Auto (from € 2,490), is a plugin that enables a standardized, automated output from InDesign. MadeToPrint Server (from € 5,490) is based on processing with Adobe InDesign Server (included in the package). With the server version, output processes are fully automated around the clock to process high document volumes faster and more securely and meet the highest demands in publishing and printing environments.
For many years, Ringier optimized its output workflow with the MadeToPrint Auto version, operating on seven computers. Due to its scalability and speed, the decision was made to upgrade to the server version of MadeToPrint recently. “The increase in productivity in comparison to MadeToPrint Auto is roughly 30 minutes per day for each publication,” reports the IT chief. “Another motivation for the upgrade to the server version was the consolidation of the infrastructure, meaning less time and effort required for support in the IT department.”
In the meantime all titles (“SI Style”, the “Glückspost”, “Landliebe”, “Schweizer Illustrierte” and the integrated newsroom of the “Blick Gruppe”) are produced with the server version of MadeToPrint.
“The integration into our existing Woodwing editorial workflow was completely smooth and easy,” beams Martin Werren. “To help us get started with MadeToPrint, our system integrator provided support for our colleagues for a single day. Everything else could be set up gradually with internal resources. In combination with Woodwing Enterprise, nothing else on the market comes close. MadeToPrint is really efficient, flexible, and it meets all our requirements. Plus, we can count on very good 2nd level support from our integrator A&F and excellent support from axaio."
With the massive changes in the publishing and media world, customer needs have of course also changed over the years. And Ringier has felt the shift from analog to digital media. Whereas before there was only “print”, now web, smart phones and tablets have been added to the mix. Ringier provides its services via all of these channels, keeping all of its people and lifestyle customers happy in the process.
By acquiring other companies and making various investments, Ringier has been able to extend its field of expertise. In addition to publishing, Ringier AG has also established itself in the digital sector: internet-based and mobile e-commerce services such as shopping portals or Groupon services, and classified ad services such as car, furniture and job platforms. And that’s before we get to the entertainment sector, covering everything from TV, radio, events and entertainment services (ticketing, etc.).
Mr Werren provides a summary: “MadeToPrint Server is by far the most effective tool for generating highly automated ISO standardized output files from an editorial system. We’re delighted with the product, and we’d take that step again anytime.”
Ringier is the largest internationally operating Swiss media company, producing more than 120 newspapers and magazines worldwide as well as running printing plants, several radio and TV stations, and over 80 web and mobile platforms. Situated in the heart of Zurich, the Pressehaus has served as the headquarters of Ringier AG since 1978. Over 1000 employees visit this location every day. Together with its branches in Germany, Hungary, China,Vietnam, Romania and Africa, the company is comprised of roughly 8000 employees. With its 180-year history, Ringier stands for a pioneering spirit and individuality as well as independence, freedom of expression and diversity of information. The company’s hallmarks are excellence in products, journalistic quality and first-class entertainment. Founded in Switzerland in 1833, Ringier has been family run for five generations.
With more than 18 million members, ADAC is the largest automobile club in Europe and the second largest in the world. ADAC is particularly active in the fields of road transport, consumer protection, transport safety and education about road safety. The ADAC Verlag uses MadeToPrint for archiving and for the creation of the ePaper ADAC Motorwelt and for delivering texts to news archives.
Aste Helsinki are builders of innovative media communications providing comprehensive digital and print communication as well as marketing solutions for various types of organizations, publishers and brands. At the moment 70 committed professionals are helping more than 200 brands and enterprises to process and share content in the right way and in the right place: books, magazines, online, brochures, social media, tablets, phones – wherever each target group is best reached by your messages. MadeToPrint helps Aste Helsinki to publish its materials with the highest quality and efficiency.
Axel Springer SE is one of the largest digital publishing houses in Europe, with numerous multimedia news brands, such as BILD, WELT, and FAKT and nearly 14,000 employees. Headquartered in Berlin, Germany, the company is active in more than 40 countries with subsidiaries, joint ventures, and licenses.
Bauer Media Group is a large European-based media company, headquartered in Hamburg, Germany that manages a portfolio of more than 600 magazines, over 400 digital products and 50 radio and TV stations around the world. The portfolio extends to include print shops, postal, distribution and marketing services. For years, the publishing house uses MadeToPrint for PlanSystem 4 for its production process.
The WIENER Bezirksblatt is the leading free newspaper in Vienna that is delivered to households. With a range of 35.9% it reaches 536,000 readers. In order to achieve such great values, it not only needs a great team, but also good, stable technology.
Within the Funke media group, FUNKE magazines covers several publishers and service companies such as Gong Verlag, FUNKE Programmzeitschriften, FUNKE Women Group, FUNKE Frauenzeitschriften, Deutscher Rätselverlag, Verlagsgruppe Bahn, FUNKE Zeitschriften Marketing, FUNKE Zeitschriften Service and MZVdirekt. The magazine portfolio consists of tv program magazines, women's magazines, numerous special interest magazines and various special publications.
Founded in 1877, HORNBACH is the only company in the DIY sector that can look back on a company history spanning five generations. At present, the independent, family-run company operates 148 large mega stores with garden centers in nine European countries and is satisfied MadeToPrint user.
The LEGO Group is a privately held, family-owned company with headquarters in Billund, Denmark, and main offices in Enfield, USA, London, UK, Shanghai, China, and Singapore. Founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen, and based on the iconic LEGO® brick, it is one of the world's leading manufacturers of play materials.
maidl-service is a German media service provider and an long-time axaio OEM and Sales partner. Its own solution isobella_media is a production ready workflow system, designed for PDF creation. The graphical workflow engine PowerSwitch (Enfocus) drives products like MadeToPrint Server (axaio), pdfToolbox Server (callas) and the built-in Colorserver. This enables automated processing of InDesign data on a powerful central system. Have a look at the video.
Media Markt is Germany's and Europe's Number One consumer electronics retailer. Media Markt offers a huge variety of branded products at low prices, competent staff, excellent service, and a distinctive advertising presence. In Germany, the company currently has 260 markets. For the production of its promotional materials the company uses the solution axaio MadeToPrint.
Medienpartner International GmbH is a company of Hubert Media. Next to IT media, photography, advertising applications, video and the development of highly efficient workflows, their core competency is digital prepress. Every year, the company processes over 140,000 magazine pages - from yellow press to the premium segment. Magazine titles like BUNTE, ELLE and FOCUS magazine, are just a small selection.
Premedia AT is a system partner for customers in trade, heavy industry, banks and insurances who want to automate their print data processes. 25 years of experience in the optimization of processes in the production of communication make Premedia a leading service provider for renowned customers.
The Mondadori Group is one of the top publishing companies in Europe. It is Italy’s biggest book and magazine publisher and the third largest in the consumer magazine segment in France. Mondadori’s activities also include advertising, digital, radio, retailing and direct marketing. The Group is the absolute leader in Italy’s book market, operating through publishing houses including Edizioni Mondadori, Einaudi, Piemme, Sperling & Kupfer and Electa.
Premedia AT is a system partner for customers in trade, heavy industry, banks and insurances who want to automate their print data processes. 25 years of experience in the optimization of processes in the production of communication make Premedia a leading service provider for renowned customers.
Ringier is the largest internationally operating Swiss media company, producing more than 120 newspapers and magazines worldwide as well as running printing plants, several radio and TV stations and over 80 web and mobile platforms. Since 1996 Ringier is a convinced axaio MadeToPrint user. Thanks to MadeToPrint Ringier saves between 60 and 90 minutes of valuable working time per day.
Read the full report here.
For the production of its promotional material Saturn relies on the solution of MadeToPrint axaio. The electronics retailer Saturn offers a wide range of electrical appliances and consumer electronics at the best price as well as competent service and expert advice. Saturn is currently represented at 157 locations in Germany. For the production of its promotional material Saturn relies on the solution MadeToPrint from axaio.
Somedia is the leading media company in south-eastern Switzerland. The publishing house is family-owned and offers information, knowledge and entertainment through print, radio, TV and online to people in south-eastern Switzerland. As a competence center for communication, Somedia produces and publishes for companies, third-party publishers, associations and authorities in the field of print, video and web. In total Somedia has 930 employees.
“We use the software MadeToPrint for the production of magazines for our customers including PDF provision for everyone, printouts for image editors, editing cycles with comments,labels, etc ... - We are thrilled that our need for printing has significantly reduced. The complete workflow has become much more transparent, because with the PDF files we always have an overview of and access to the current status of the entire project”, Dr. Markus Schönmann (CEO storyboard GmbH)
“We use MadeToPrint for years and are very happy with it. Specifically, the output of our editorial system WoodWing Enterprise runs very reliably and efficiently using MadeToPrint Server”, says Patrick Stalder, Project & Application Manager at Tamedia. Tamedia is a Swiss media company based in Zurich. Tamedia's daily and weekly newspapers, magazines, online platforms, together with its printing facilities make it one of Switzerland's leading media enterprises. The company was established in 1893 and has been listed on the Swiss stock exchange since 2000.
TUI Germany GmbH is the German market leader in tourism. It is a subsidiary of TUI Group, the world's leading tourism group based in Hannover. Besides the core brand TUI and 1-2-FLY, Airtours and L'TUR or TUIfly belong to the German TUI Group. For their catalog production TUI Germany has been counting on MadeToPrint fro years: “MadeToPrint is the ideal complement for the delivery of files to our production system for print production. Our MadeToPrint jobs ensure high reliability and short processing times. Especially in the field of our catalog production we appreciate these benefits”, says Hendrik Bender, Consultant Media Technology.
WEKO is a traditional, family-run company for furnishings with currently 1,000 employees and is located in several German cities: Pfarrkirchen, Rosenheim , Linden and Eching near Munich. The Group includes two large furniture stores, two discounters and a 5000 sqm retailer specialized in kitchens.
“Thank you for MadeToPrint. - A great help for our production ... and everything runs smoothly. For the possibility to run layers separately, we even get tributes from the print shop! Thumbs up ...!", Thomas Schilling (Graphic Studio Mathias Weintz GmbH)
Gennaro Marfucci offers solutions for DTP, color and print, and works with ZePrA, a color server software solution developed by ColorLogic.
Gennaro Marfucci is a certified media expert for digital and print media. His full-service bureau offer solutions all around DTP, color and print. Located in Darmstadt near Frankfurt, he serves clients all over Germany, but especially in the Rhein-Main area. Gennaro Marfucci works mainly for ad and design agencies, prepress and service bureaus. Based on Corporate Identity and production requirements, he creates layouts, print copies and finalizes also print production – from layout to final print control. He does the DTP work on his own and serves everything around digital printing, prepress and color management.
For Marfucci, it is common in his business to be expected to prepare print data immediately. This an present a big problem for a small company. Therefore, it is even more important to quickly prepare ad campaigns with respect to different printing conditions.
“I searched for hardware and software solutions to help me to work faster and more efficiently. It was my goal to differentiate myself from competition. I wanted to work “solution oriented“, respect quality, work effectively and still offer more attractive prices than my competition. During this evaluation, I got in contact with Impressed (the German distributor of ColorLogic). They offer professional advice and if there is any issue, I get excellent support. To solve my color management issues they recommended products developed by ColorLogic. ColorLogic is specialized on development of color management solutions and offered exactly the kind of product I was looking for: ZePrA. My main problem that I wanted to solve is that I don‘t have the time to generate “clean“ printing data. Using ZePrA, I am now able to solve all tasks within a short timeframe: fast realization of ad campaigns, converting RGB to CMYK, adjust data to different color spaces or convert existing legacy data to respect new printing conditions. Quite often I have to convert existing designer publications, such as brochures or magazines, prepared as a PDF/X-4 file, to PSO Uncoated and do scaling and sharpening of the images in one step. Sometimes I have to replace Corporate Design colors in Corporate Design Manuals for different printing standards (in CMYK). It‘s also possible to adjust advertisements to DUON conventions. All these different tasks are handled now easier, smoother, with less mistakes and definitely much faster.”
Marfucci is satisfied: “My situation concerning orders has been improved tremendously since I started to work with ZePrA. Without ZePrA I wouldn‘t been able to accept so many orders and realize them in time. Doing so, I get many new customers and found some niche markets as a service provider. My advantage is that by using ZePrA, I am able to work faster, better and more price attractive than most of the other competitors which don‘t use such a solution. In addition, we have to face the fact that prepress production changed dramatically since the introduction of the Adobe Creative Suite. A media expert has to solve now different tasks – from the first draft until the final preparation of print data. For a one-man company like mine, the investment into ZePrA was the perfect decision to increase work production while offering better quality and to differentiate me from the average standard. In addition, my customer relations are much closer nowadays because my clients recognize the advantages and quality improvements by using DeviceLink profiles for color conversion and they don‘t want to refuse this.“
Beside ZePrA (including SmartLink) Marfucci uses also ColorLogic DeviceLink profiles (DLS) and DocBees-ProfileTagger to detect unprofiled or wrongly tagged data.
ZePrA is a high-end color server running under Mac OS X or Windows. The application supports DeviceLink and ICC profiles and offers conversion and optimization of complete PDF print data and images (PSD, TIFF und JPEG) via hotfolder. Therefore ZePrA is the perfect solution to convert delivered printing data to a standard printing condition. ZePrA supports CMYK, RGB, gray scale, Lab and multicolor and is suitable for any kind of printing process. This application sets standards regarding quality, performance and price wise!
De Persgroep Publishing (dPP) is a 100% subsidiary of De Persgroep, which has expanded from a local, Flemish media company to a leading bi-national organization. dPP is active in newspapers, magazines and new media and home to a number of market leaders such as Het Laatste Nieuws, Dag allemaal, Goed Gevoel and HLN.be. The turnover of de Persgroep is around 750 million euros; for the whole group this is one billion euros, which makes it one of the largest media companies worldwide.
Like other publishing houses, dPP faces significant challenges going forward. The ongoing financial recession puts pressure on revenues – especially from advertising. Additionally the advertisement market is experiencing a shift to digital media and television, taking away revenue from traditional print advertising. Lower consumer confidence is yet another trend in the reader market; people buy fewer individual issues and are switching titles more often.
dPP still flourished in this changing landscape; through focus on traditional print and embracing new digital media, the group managed to maintain and for a number of titles even improve reader numbers. dPP also invested in a joint IT platform which improves performance and reliability while decreasing costs. This is where Elpical Claro Premedia comes into the picture.
In 2009 de Persgroep Publishing started a division in the Netherlands, acquiring some of the major local newspapers such as Algemeen Dagblad, de Volkskrant and Het Parool. All existing ICT systems were migrated and integrated in the existing ICT platform in Asse, Belgium. Marc Roelants, ICT Project Leader - Editorial and Advertising Systems explains: “With the growing number of publications, automating the production of these publications became crucially important; it is the only solution to reduce human intervention and therefore errors. Especially because we also face the challenge to automate our production workflows in such a way as to make it possible to publish both to paper and digitally online and on mobile devices.
As part of this automation and ICT integration process dPP migrated their image workflows to Claro Premedia in December 2012. They invested in two Claro Premedia 9 environments; one for production and one for testing and development, each consisting of two virtualized servers. This implementation happened in close collaboration with dPP’s ‘Flash Center’ department that takes care of all production related operational processes within dPP; such as PDF and image optimization. Steven Baelen, Flash Center Manager explains: “We chose Claro Premedia as our image enhancement software based on the intelligent image processing and therefore the excellent image quality.”
In order to make the integration possible, the software needed to have robust automation capabilities, coupled with excellent image optimization that allowed individual images to be further optimized by dPP’s Flash Center. It also needed to function in a dynamic way, using job tickets and web services to drive it from the larger workflow system. Elpical Claro Premedia fulfilled all of those needs, and that is why dPP finally went with the solution after analyzing the different products on the market today.
Marc Roelants adds: “If we have to pick the 2 main reasons why we chose to work with Claro Premedia then it would be high availability and product quality. On top of that, the implementation of Claro Premedia in our workflow went very smoothly. We’ve received excellent support from Elpical and their distributor Four Pees. We have worked closely together in the development stage and beta testing of the new Claro Premedia 9 version. Even now that we use the product in our daily production, we can always count on an excellent and swift support.”
In order to ensure 100% uptime for Claro Premedia as it is integrated into their production workflow, dPP and Elpical worked on comprehensive cluster support for the new Elpical Claro Premedia 9. This ensures that a server with software or hardware problems doesn’t affect the entire image processing system; the load is dynamically shifted to the remaining processing servers.
De Persgroep Publishing handles a huge number of images day-in, day-out; so many that it would be cost prohibitive (not to mention too time-consuming) to optimize all of them manually. This is the typical scenario where Elpical Claro excels. Not just because it can handle a vast amount of images in a short period of time, but also (and mainly) because it knows its own limits.
“Starting with version 9, Elpical Claro can be configured in a true cluster configuration. This ensures high availability and provides load-balancing across multiple servers, ” explains John De Jong, CEO of Elpical Software: “This is of course very important to our bigger customers. However, it is the built-in quality control that is the most important functionality”.
Elpical Claro automatically calculates how good its image optimization algorithm performed on every single image it processes. Depending on the workflow, you can then decide what percentage of images you want to process completely automatically and what percentage to keep aside for manual inspection and
further manual cleanup. Claro comes with a Claro Inspector plug-in for Adobe Photoshop where a retoucher can see the original and processed image. This allows a quick decision on whether the original or the processed image is better and allows further manual processing in Photoshop.
“You can mix this automatic and manual mode in one Elpical Claro installation,” continues John De Jong: “This allows a publisher to make different workflows for different magazines or newspapers for example. For some publications completely automatic processing might be the best option, while for high-quality, glossy magazines every image could be pre-processed by Claro but quality controlled and further optimized by a photo retoucher in Photoshop. That’s really the best of two worlds”.
"Metamation's Imp software has become an invaluable planning tool for our organization in past two years. Now estimating has becoming an exact science. With Imp software young estimators can deliver accurate plans as many years of experienced estimator would. Because for our variety of functionalities, Metamation solution was a perfect fit, and we are aiming to integrate it with our ERP system so it could be the heart of our planning, estimating and imposition." - Angel Viveros
"Metamation has streamlined the planning function and enabled automization of some prepress processes. Efficiency and accuracy can now be achieved when calculating ganged jobs by using the Metamation Ganging Module. Whereas it may have taken an hour to manually calculate ganged jobs, this can now be done in as little as 10 minutes using the Metamation Ganging Module. It has also become simpler to process nested jobs and create dielines for diemaking. This has decreased the overall processing time for packaging work and has realized significant savings especially in stock (paper) usage.
The team at Metamation have been very helpful to COT during the trial of the product and in after service. The product is also very economical when compared to similar products COT has investigated. Also the features are more advanced than the other competitive products especially in relation to nesting." - Dana Moore
"We had deployed Imp five years ago in our commercial print operations. A wide range of products - books, folders, calendars, stationery, among others - are planned efficiently by Imp. We have also set up a system in which information about products goes from our SAP ERP system to IMP, which eliminates re-entry and mistakes. The plan made on IMP is then transferred as a JDF to our Esko workflow system - again eliminating any manual entry of imposition details. We have also implemented IMP in our packaging unit’s workflow over the last 18 months. Imp has a strong feature set for non-rectangular jobs and the nesting created by it is great. The feature of reel to sheet allows us to plan job seamlessly across available substrate - whether in sheets or reel form. This has allowed much more efficient use of our paper stocks and allowed us to reduce our inventories by about 30%. With Imp the complex job of creating nested layouts has become efficient and quick. Our CAD department now has more time to focus on creating better folding cartons designs." - Harsha Paruchuri
"IMP has been an effective tool in helping our company create efficient, accurate layouts for multiple presses that all have very different demands. We were spending as much as six hours per day creating layouts manually and with IMP we hardly spend an hour per day with the same amount of work. Our Pre-Press department now has the time to be proactive with layouts and other important tasks like color and more efficient scheduling instead of just creating layouts in a hurry to keep jobs moving. We have been impressed by the IMP team in every way, they were helpful in training us and have been responsive to our inquiries. I would recommend IMP to anyone looking to automate their shop. Aside from all of these benefits, they are also affordable, the initial cost to get all the automation that IMP offered was less than other comparable solutions." - Andrew Pinch
"IMP has automated our entire job planning, completely eliminated the imposition in pre-press, increasing efficiency, productivity and accuracy. The feature of defining grain direction in planning stage and the comprehensive production reports have fully streamlined our entire production process right from Job estimation to finishing." - Falit Pandya
"IMP has drastically reduced our Job Planning time and has streamlined our pre-press production. The learning curve was very small and entire team is happy & comfortable with this unique solution." - R. Narendra
"After 6 months of use IMP has become the back bone of our prepress set up. I checked with my pre-press team on their experience using IMP, they said that they are a lot more relaxed after IMP. To me, IMP’s greatest value lies in its acting as a mistake filter; that is where I see the pay back for the product. I see a great potential for the product." - NR Kumar
As it became common to receive dozens of jobs everyday that were due in a matter of hours, executives at Image Craft realized they needed to make a fundamental change: They began looking for a way to automate. As industry veteran and VP of Operations Doug Madeley summarizes, “Client expectations are being driven by online ordering platforms such as Shutterfly – and we have to keep up, especially on the custom products side. There are two ways to do that: adding labor and extending your costs or automating to cut the time it takes to get it ripped and ready to print.”
Image Craft evaluated a range of solutions from big names like EFI, Heidelburg, and Caldera, but a referral from color management consultant Dan Reid really stood out: Tucanna’s tFLOW workflow automation software. Explains Mr. Madeley, “The personal interaction there was a critical factor. It’s a smaller company: I can pick up the phone, get a hold of someone, and get what I need quickly, dealing directly with principals and software developers.” Image Craft was also impressed by the fact that Tucanna staff have strong color management backgrounds and understand the challenges of the industry – particularly in wide format, which is driven by demand for shorter turnaround times and compressed margins. “The key is automating workflow from the moment a file is uploaded: get it preflighted, ripped
and to the printer ASAP. In order to grow and meet client expectations, you have to reduce timelines, and the biggest place to do that is prepress, which is why we chose tFLOW. Once we set profiles for clients
– which vary according to their experience level – the system works extremely quickly.”
Image Craft describes the implementation as smooth and straightforward. “Our clients already love it, says Mr. Madeley. “The functionality is outstanding.” The firm has found that some of their clients already expect a drag- and-drop preflight system that provides a preflight report in a matter of minutes – and more will continue to do so. tFLOW software met demand to reduce service times while maintaining sustainable profits for Image Craft, and the adoption of tFLOW has moved internal processes into lightspeed. “We saw the value immediately as soon as we reviewed it, and created a timeline for integration right away. The speed was much faster than we expected. Another aspect we really appreciate is Tucanna’s technical background. We can come up with an idea, discuss it with them, and have a functional coded solution in a matter of days. Exciting stuff!”
S2K Graphics is an established firm with more than 25 years specializing in POP graphics, digital large-format printing, and screen printing. Based in Tennessee and California, S2K Graphics is part of the Franke Group and has a nationwide sales network. Frustrated that their ERP workflow system required too much paperwork to manage digital files, VP and General Manager Phil Garcia sought a new solution. When he heard about Tucanna tFLOW from Mike Ruff in November of 2012, he immediately recognized the potential of tFLOW automation.
Tucanna conducted an in-depth analysis of S2K Graphics’ needs, and then developed a custom workflow solution. The tool allowed S2K to manage all of their workflow online and greatly reduced the amount of time needed to get approval. Says Mr. Garcia, “tFlow Approval was customized to our needs, which is the main reason we chose it. We upload 200 files per day. With no email chains from Graphics to CS, the client, Sales, and the Art Department, tFlow Approval cuts through layers of complexity and dramatically improves throughput and accuracy.” The software also lets S2K provide better service to their remote sales people, which in turn benefits their bottom line.
Tucanna’s affordable, easy to use solution has been transformational for S2K Graphics. Implementation led to an impressive 80% reduction in paperwork, reduced labor 20-30%, and freed up 1.5 FTEs from prepress duties to work on other functions. The company’s need for traditional prepress work has been almost completely eradicated, allowing them to reallocate resources, reduce labor costs, and significantly shorten approval times. Mr. Garcia explains, “Clients love the fact that they’re getting stuff quicker. They can see it real time, and we’re not having to interpret their requests. Best of all, online workflow management gives them the highest accuracy. After two years, it’s hard for me to imagine being successful without this system. For anyone who is managing a significant amount of digital fields, this is a must have.”
SmartRepro sought to maximize in-house talent to improve processes and final product quality. A new infrastructure included the establishment of publication-specific repro hubs that would, for example, address timeline bottlenecks within and across publications (such as reduction of proofing cycles). Each hub is connected across the network, making it easy to move work around when necessary. Specific strategies included training design staff to better assess images and print-ready work, as well as understand color space and conversion fundamentals to recognize color problems and correction requirements.
The broad thinking underlying the approach was to provide best in class resources to fit the needs of internal magazine clusters, including staff equipped with the expertise to address each publication’s particular creative requirements. “It meant a fundamental culture change,” says Hargreaves, who designed the internal repro team to be flexible and able to juggle any of the work that might come up, thereby
balancing the load with the publications’ creative teams and creating a fast, effective, and quality process. “We created a hybrid of the design teams and the repro team,” he said. “That meant winning hearts and
minds in the beginning, negotiations, and carefully structuring how we rolled this out, with a constant eye on how we would safeguard quality. We started in May 2006 - and a year later we successfully incorporated the process with all of our titles.
“Visually the results speak for themselves. There is a definite quality improvement in images accross the board.”
Picking the right tools and adapting them over time has been key to the effort, as well. “We invested in workflow tools to insure that we had a robust, industry standard workflow,” said Hargreaves.
BBC then layered a few key “best of breed” tools on top of the workflow. One standout choice? Elpical’s Claro. Claro’s image tools have their roots in the high quality Hasselblad imaging technology. Building on
that base philosophy of quality photographic output, the Claro analysis tools individually analyze images to ensure sharpness, contrast, brightness, color balance and other parameters. The results are consistently superb image quality.
“We are increasingly pushed for time, and with the schedule backloaded on a monthly magazine – we can have chaos!” Hargreaves says emphatically. “There is frequently a need for us to standardize what we get in”, he explains, ”But because of those time and budget constraints, we often have to work with what we’ve got -- and that’s where Claro can optimize and standardize in automated ways.” “As time constraints grow more severe, quality expectations remain high, so we’ve got this balancing act to achieve quality levels while simultaneously having less time to do it. I was looking at automated solutions and found Claro.”
The hit automotive show Top Gear and its popular magazine must shine like an Aston Martin Vantage Roadster gliding through the S curves to Monaco. In fact, one of the fi rst tests Claro passed was the editors’ eyeballs at Top Gear. “Top Gear has to be very current and topical, with a very short amount of time to turn around -- and Claro brings big benefits there. Top Gear was really into it when I showed
them what it could do,” says Hargreaves.
Alan Dixon of Workfl owz, Elpical’s UK partner, joined Elpical’s John de Jong in going to BBC to set up an in-depth demo and product evaluation with initial set-up and training for BBC to build upon. Further tweaking and enhancements to match BBC’s internal departments’ requirements were developed with Hargreaves’ guidance, before the system was rolled out to various titles. “We threw lots of different images at the software, tweaked it, and got proofs that achieved what I felt was a significant difference, and once I showed the editors here at Top Gear what can be achieved, it was met with such enthusiasm that it drove sign-off on the investment,” Hargreaves says.
The system also shines in the challenging areas of greens, blues, and skin tones - and that’s something that BBC’s Gardeners’ World magazine needs to get “Just Right”. Not surprisingly, the plant photography across this well-known gardening publication contains a lot of greens, not to mention highly varying levels of subtlety from green to green. Hitting the quality bar while meeting a rigorous production schedule was challenging. “With Gardeners World we’re using the new green tones setting, and getting great results,” Hargreaves reports. This achievement was made possible by his decision to give each publication its own, unique profile.
Integration also makes for success. For example, Hargreaves says BBC integrated Claro with its workfl ow to take advantage of Claro’s sharpening function. “When our pages are submitted to the workflow, it makes calls to Claro. The ICC conversion happens in Claro and images are sharpened there as well, so it’s a two-pronged, integrated approach,” he says. As an added benefi t, Claro insures that all images are analyzed in some way. Claro analyzes the CMYK profile against the gamut of the image going in. If the image is out of gamut by more than 20%, Claro applies a perceptual conversion. This, says Hargreaves, brings a whole new level of consistent quality to the process.
“Visually, the results speak for themselves,” says Hargreaves. “There’s a definite quality improvement in images across the board. We wouldn’t have had time to make all these sharpening and other enhancements. This approach lets us have those benefits while working to our tight deadlines. If we didn’t have Claro, we might not be able to achieve the results we have been able to, in certain titles.”
ELPICAL Software, based in Giesbeek, The Netherlands, develops and markets software solutions for the production and enhancement of digital images and the automation of the image workflow. Based
on extensive image analysis, the technology enables publishing houses to automate the enhancement of produced images. ELPICAL was established in 1997 by a management buy-out of the Electronic Imaging department of Victor Hasselblad AB. ELPICAL since has grown to become a leading specialist in the field of digital image enhancement and management.
The Saarbrücker Zeitung is a daily newspaper published with a circulation of about 180,000 copies and 11 regional editions. The prepress processes at the SZ are completely digitised and work under colour management conditions. Since October 2004, the new ISO 12647-3 process standard has been applied. The Elpical Claro PreMedia server has been used in conjunction with Adobe Photoshop for control of the image workflow and image optimisation, or pre-optimisation, since the beginning of the year 2000. An interface to the CCI editorial system was realised for this purpose.
At the Saarbrücker Zeitung, every image is checked after automatic image optimisation. Gerhard Merker, IT production manager at the Saarbrücker Zeitung, considers this to be essential for reasons of quality: "The standard of quality of some of the material we receive is so poor that we cannot rely on automatic optimisation alone. However, despite this quality check, we have still succeeded in reducing the processing time for colour images from 15 minutes in the past to about one minute today”.
All agency images (received via Fotoware software) first enter an image in basket in the CCI editorial system where all images, whether from the newspaper’s staff photographers or freelancers, are put. The integration with the editorial system makes available the images to the editors in their own environment. The editor can pull a selected image directly on to the page in a non-processed state (RGB-JPEG). Then he defines the image section and size. It is only after that that the image data are sent as a raw file and the accompanying metadata (image size, section, position, etc.) as XML file are exported for optimisation to Claro. Claro works with various reproduction channels, depending on whether the image is destined for the daily newspaper, the web or a different product, e.g. an insert produced outside the company. Accordingly, different settings (output profiles) are stored that are used as a basis for the automatic processing. It can also be determined whether all images should be sent to the reproduction department for checking (as is the case at the Saarbrücker Zeitung), or only images that fail to satisfy certain specified criteria.
With InSpector, a Photoshop PlugIn, the image processor can retrieve the automatically optimised images one after another at his workplace for checking, or after-processing respectively. He is shown the processed image (in CMYK) alongside the original (in RGB). He now has a choice of two options: either he accepts the processed image ("use processed”) or he further processes it. If the optimised version is unsuitable for use, the original image can be processed immediately before he returns it to CCI ("use original”). According to Gerhard Merker, this is a very useful arrangement that has a direct effect on the image quality and therefore the quality of the product as a whole. At the end of this process, the complete page goes to the PostScript RIP and finally to the imager.
The images are archived in their original state (i.e. non-processed). The CCI editorial system keeps all versions of the image ready for retrieval. An automatic routine transfers the images (and the text, but not the pages) at night to the Elias archive. At the same time, the images are exported in a corresponding version for the internet page.
An interesting difference to the procedure in widespread use is that, in the workflow at the Saarbrücker Zeitung, the images, are not processed in advance, but only after size and section have been defined. "I do not think it logical to optimise the images before”, says G. Merker and explains why as follows: "There is a difference whether you produce an image as a single-column or four-column element, especially as regards image sharpness. Sharpening must be done in the final size, otherwise you will inevitably experience a loss of quality. The situation is exactly the same if you subsequently take a small section from a large, already optimised image. The complete image may perhaps be all right by itself, but this does not mean that the section will be so. The image must be optimised on the basis of the actual section.” A second point concerns the data volume "When the image section is defined, the rest that is not required will be removed. The image data will be converted accordingly by Claro. This reduces the data column and optimises the resolution.” The program carries out the colour space transformation or colour separation respectively from RGB to CMYK via the profile.
As the user confirms, Claro is relatively simple to administer, everything is comfortably browser-controlled and largely automated: "I don’t think that it could be much better.”
It proved more problematical to realise the interface to the CCI editorial system, a project on which both Elpical and CCI cooperated. Some trade-offs were necessary, but the final result was a highly-integrated image workflow.
“ ... we have still succeeded in reducing the processing time for colour images from 15 minutes in the past to about one minute today. ”
Sanoma Magazines Belgium is part of the international magazine division of the Finnish Sanoma Group. In Belgium, the company is primarily known as a magazine publisher, but it is also a modern multimedia company with multiple sites for its magazines. Divided into two branches; one in in Antwerp and one in Diegem, the company counts more than 500 employees. It is a leader in its segment and has developed a strong reputation with many famous magazines such as Flair, Libelle, Femmes d’Aujourd’hui, HUMO, Feeling, Goedele and Marie Claire.
Fancy magazines ask for beautiful images. Clear, sharp and with fresh colors. Nevertheless, in reality most of the supplied images are not ready for use and image correction is required. Bart Van Looy, ICT Publishing Project Leader at Sanoma Magazines Belgium explains: “Before we started to work with Claro Premedia, all image adjustments were made manually in Photoshop® and that took a very long time. Generally these are fairly simple but necessary adjustments to the color balance, color saturation, sharpness, brightness and contrast. Moreover, there was much time lost searching, opening and saving the images in the right place.” A solution that not only automates repetitive corrections, but also saves the images through intelligent routing to the right place would help.
“The various solutions that we tested, had similar characteristics, but with the Elpical team it matched right away.”
At Sanoma Magazines they work in a complete RGB setting. The conversion to print-ready files is done only at the very last minute. Therefore it was particularly important that the image optimization solution would support this process. Bart Van Looy: “The various solutions that we tested, had similar characteristics, but with the Elpical team it matched right away. The willingness to listen and the speed with which they responded to our questions and suggestions, were exceptional. Besides, by the time we chose Elpical, most of the modifications we had requested were already implemented in Claro Premedia. Truly unique!”
The impact of Claro Premedia was immediately measurable and noticeable after installation and configuration. Thus the flow of images and color correction of images for the various TV magazines is now fully automated. Without any manual intervention, the imported images are corrected in Claro Premedia and saved in the correct location. Bart Van Looy: “It is fascinating to see how quickly the corrections are made and how it ends up in the correct folder. The predictability also improved since Claro interprets and corrects an image always in the same way.“ For exceptional cases, or when doing extreme adjustments, with Claro Inspector for Photoshop® the image editor has the possibility to compare the original and corrected versions side by side.
“Claro Premedia is definitely a unique product. Personally I am surprised again and again how good the image corrections are.“
The image routing is done using file naming conventions and IPTC data. This approach guarantees an unlimited number of correction channels with corresponding hot folders, to collect and save images. The support and addition of XMP data also ensures perfect compatibility between the various workflow systems at Sanoma Magazines. All information about the image is kept, so you can always see what and when something has changed in the image.
Bart Van Looy concludes: “Claro Premedia is definitely a unique product. Personally I am surprised again and again how good the image corrections are. Thanks to the automation there is more time now for working on delicate images, such as fashion photography, where corrections often go deeper than just color and contrast. Thanks to Claro Premedia adjustments are no longer ignored, we work more efficiently and the quality of our magazines has improved a lot. What else can you wish for? “
ELPICAL Software, based in Giesbeek, The Netherlands, develops and markets software solutions for the production and enhancement of digital images and the automation of the image workflow. Based on extensive image analysis, the technology enables publishing houses to automate the enhancement of produced images. ELPICAL was established in 1997 by a management buy-out of the Electronic Imaging department of Victor Hasselblad AB. ELPICAL since has grown to become a leading specialist in the field of digital image enhancement and management.
The manufacturer’s key products include Claro Premedia Server, 4LeafCover, EmailManager, SlideShowEnhancer and the Claro module for Gradual SWITCH. ELPICAL’s core competence in the field of digital images makes the company an ideal partner for other software suppliers who want to combine ELPICAL products with their own applications, or for system integrators who want to integrate expanded image functions in their own products. ELPICAL has concluded an OEM agreement with, among others, OCÉ ©
St. Galler Tagblatt AG, the largest media company in eastern Switzerland, publishes daily newspapers as well as professional journals, weekly magazines, customer magazines and electronic media. Ronny Bleichenbacher, who is head of Production IT Support at St. Galler Tagblatt, learned about ELPICAL's Claro Premedia Server software solution when he chanced to pick up a company brochure at Ifra 2006 in Amsterdam. The headline, "automatic image enhancement based on comprehensive image analysis", caught his eye. Bleichenbacher wanted to switch the group's Macintosh-based workflow to Windows and had been searching for an image correction and automatic retouching solution that reduced the number of image management processes currently in place. When he learned more about the Claro Premedia Server's capabilities, it was a 'eureka!' moment of discovery – "I said, this is it!" recalls Bleichenbacher.
Ronny Bleichenbacher reports that the investment is delivering strong return on investment in the form of productivity, ease of operation and improved image quality. "The Claro Premedia Server provides us with more possibilities for automatic image enhancement than we had ever dreamed of," states Bleichenbacher.
The Claro Premedia Server solution replaces a previous program for image correction and automatic retouching that was Mac-based. When the company converted to a Windows workflow in 2003, the Window's version of the former program still didn't have the right capabilities to handle St. Galler Tagblatt's demanding production requirements. "Prior to installing Claro Premedia, our images went through eight different production workflows before finally being printed. Now we are able to condense these image management processes into a single workflow," explains Ronny Bleichenbacher "All processes from copying, transporting, proofing, retouching and final image checking –run in the background and are fully automated."
Claro Premedia analyzes each image based on parameters like sharpness, brightness, contrast, color balance, natural greens, skin tones, IPTC information, etc. Depending on the sharpness and noise levels of the original image, the unsharp masking process varies in terms of intensity, radius and threshold. The solution's special contrast algorithms modify the contrast wherever necessary in an image, making it possible to enhance definition even in dark areas.
As an option, images can be sorted by quality criteria and checked manually. Ronny Bleichenbacher is particularly impressed that the original image and the image edited by Claro Premedia can be compared side-by-side and further retouched. His verdict: "Since Claro was installed in March 2007, our image enhancement results have improved significantly and become more uniform." In turn, the time required for image enhancement and data handling has been reduced by some 15 percent. St. Galler Tagblatt AG has converted one of its publications to the Claro Premedia workflow almost every month since the initial installation. Thanks to the freed-up capacity and improved image quality, prepress production activities for the company's own publications are now handled in-house again after having been outsourced. The new capabilities are also opening the door to increased business with existing clients and the possibility to attract new customers.
Another key advantage is the ability to connect Claro Premedia with the K4 editorial system from SoftCare, a popular industry standard. According to Bleichenbacher, one of the main advantages is the central settings option for the image workflow. He can now centrally control changes or individual pre-settings for automatic image enhancement for all networked editorial departments within St. Galler Tagblatt's group of publishing houses. "I never would have believed how few buttons are required for the high-quality enhancement of an image," concludes Ronny Bleichenbacher.
Established in 1789, today St. Galler Tagblatt AG is the leading media company in eastern Switzerland. In addition to daily newspapers, the company also publishes a number of professional journals, weekly magazines, customer magazines and electronic media. Tagblattmedia, 70 percent of which belongs to the regional "Neue Zürcher Zeitung" newspaper, has access to an ultramodern printing center. St. Galler Tagblatt AG has some 660 employees and generated sales of 134 million Swiss francs in 2006 (approx. EUR 82 million). It is a member of IFRA CQC 1994 – 2008. www.tagblattmedien.ch
ELPICAL Software, based in Giesbeek, The Netherlands, develops and markets software solutions for the production and enhancement of digital images and the automation of the image workflow. Based on extensive image analysis, the technology enables publishing houses to automate the enhancement of produced images. ELPICAL was established in 1997 by a management buy-out of the Electronic Imaging department of Victor Hasselblad AB. ELPICAL since has grown to become a leading specialist in the field of digital image enhancement and management.
The manufacturer's key products include Claro Premedia Server, 4LeafCover, EmailManager, SlideShowEnhancer and the Claro module for Gradual SWITCH. ELPICAL's core competence in the field of digital images makes the company an ideal partner for other software suppliers who want to combine ELPICAL products with their own applications, or for system integrators who want to integrate expanded image functions in their own products. ELPICAL has concluded an OEM agreement with, among others, OCÉ© for the enhancement of embedded images from PDF documents. www.elpical.com.
"USA TODAY has required and maintained a high quality visual standard from the very beginning,” says Ron Cobbs, Operations Manager in the Production department. “Our charter has always been to use both words and graphics including widespread use of color, photos and other artwork to grab our readers’ attention and tell them the story of what happened in the last 24 hours, and what to expect in the next 24 hours.”
Ready acceptance and adoption of the latest technologies has been a hallmark of the publication’s success. Without such technologies, the newspaper could not exist. The technology it employs is both extensive and sophisticated, incorporating communications satellites for file transmissions. And the entire USA TODAY production system, from pre-press to Computer-to-Plate, satellite network, and through to the actual printing plant, was designed with quality as the key goal.
Cobbs says, “From the beginning USA TODAY has always expected the highest imaging quality. We have always placed a very strong emphasis on the quality of our color, from taking pictures and scanning images in the early days, through color correction and output of film, and finally to press.”
He continues, “For us, making the transition to an all digital workflow was about maintaining that level of quality. We wanted to make sure we could translate the knowledge we gained in an analog/manual/
partly digital world into our transition to fully digital production tools. We continue to monitor and implement the latest products and technologies that will help us achieve this goal.”
The latest technology plays a major role in the publication’s prepress operations department, which processes material provided by both its customers and the editorial department.
95% of ads are uploaded to USA TODAY via its web-based ad portal. The remaining 5% usually come in on CD-ROM or DVD. The ads are processed and saved as PDF files, which are converted to different
file formats based on the production need. EPS files are sent to the paper’s CCI pagination system for placement on editorial pages.
Ron Cobbs says: “For us, making the transition to an all digital workflow was about maintaining that level of quality.
G4 TIFF files are sent to Newsway, the CTP system, for transmission to print sites. All advertising and editorial images are already in digital format when they come into the department.
Up until a few years ago, image quality assurance and optimization during the “pre-media” phase of production at USA TODAY was purely a manual proposition, except for whatever QC could be achieved using the department’s standard applications, including Adobe CS4, Acrobat, Photoshop, Pitstop, and a few other tools. It wasn’t the most efficient use of operators’ time. This changed about three years ago, shortly after Print 07.
Cobbs and his staff had already been looking at tools for optimizing the imaging production process when they found Elpical at the Print 07 show, and saw the Claro image analysis and optimization software
The Claro software individually analyzes each individual image for a range of specific parameters including sharpness, brightness, contrast, color balance, natural greens, skin tones, Exif information and more. It handles image manipulation tasks automatically and optimizes the files for their intended uses.
Cobbs says, “We knew the people behind the company, and their software looked like it had a lot of promise. We decided to start testing and evaluating it to see how it would work in our production environment.”
Mike Grinder, a technician in the prepress operations department, says “We were looking for something that was priced right and could handle the volume and wide range of images we process each day, as well as give us more control.”
Grinder explains, “We have so many input profiles and we get pictures from different sources all over the world.” Cobbs concurs, saying, “We aren’t always in the position of having the best quality image to work with; so having the right tools to maximize quality is important to us.”
With Claro in the workflow, images are automatically converted and corrected based on USA TODAY pre-defined criteria. This allows the operators more time to work with images that require manual intervention. Claro can be helpful in those cases, as well – for instance, the software makes it possible to compare the enhanced image with the original in order to determine best next-steps.
In addition to working with many image input sources, the USA TODAY prepress operations department works with images already pre-formatted for different devices. Some images may come in formatted for web, coated for high ink density, for example, and need to be corrected and have a new profile for newsprint applied.
Grinder says, “Claro lets us do that and maintain both quality and the integrity of the image. Having the Claro software to automate the transformation process for using the images in different places, the web and print, for example, really decreases our workload. We’re using Claro to branch off for uses in other USA TODAY products. We can choose the correct profile depending on the use of the image and have it come out right, automatically, over and over again. We tune the profiles we use with Claro to our specific needs. With 35 domestic print sites, this is a great time saving.”
Mike Grinder says: “We were looking for something that was priced right and could handle the volume and wide range of images we process each day, as well as give us more control.”
In total, USA TODAY is now processing more than 2000 images a month using the Claro software, and Cobbs and Grinder say their use of the application has brought a high degree of operation efficiency to the prepress operations department’s workflow. “With the Claro software”, says Grinder, “We no longer need to look at each individual image. We have set up our own rules, based on our requirements, for when an image needs to be checked manually. As a result, Claro automatically corrects and pushes 60-75% of the images through, and flags the remainders that need manual intervention based on our criteria. The Claro software lets us control how we want the images optimized and gives us plenty of flexibility, but for the most part it’s an automated process. We press the button and send it on. We may see the image in the proofing pages, but otherwise we let it fly….”
Another advantage the Elpical Claro software offers is the ability to work directly in Photoshop, a familiar tool to everyone involved in image editing and processing. Says Grinder, “Claro doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel; they let Photoshop do it. Photoshop is integrated into the process.”
Concludes Cobbs, “Elpical Claro is helping us on the operational side by increasing our productivity as well as helping us meet and maintain our quality standards. And working with Elpical has been great. They listen to us and often incorporate our input about making their product better, and work hard to resolve any issue we come up with. In short, they’re tremendous to work with.”
Elpical Software, an international company with offices in The Netherlands and Germany, develops and markets software solutions for automating image production, manipulation and optimization as well as image workflow processes in general, based on extensive image analysis technology. Elpical, established in 1997 by a management buy-out of the Electronic Imaging department of Victor Hasselblad AB, is a leading specialist in digital image enhancement and management.
Elpical‘s key products include Claro Premedia, Claro Single, Claro Layout, 4LeafClover and EmailManager. Elpical is an ideal partner for software suppliers and integrators who want to integrate Elpical technology into their own applications, Elpical has concluded an OEM agreement with, among others, OCÉ© for the enhancement of embedded images inside PDF documents.
More information on www.elpical.com
Showpad enables companies to turn their tablets into sales and presentation tools. It allows controlled distribution of content that is always up-to-date, follows company-branding rules and provides in-depth usage feedback. The platform provides a win-win for sales reps, sales and marketing managers and customers.
The majority of the content being uploaded to the Showpad platform consists of PDF documents. To use those in the most optimal way on tablets, they need to be properly optimized and Showpad was struggling to convert those PDF documents that didn’t fully comply with their exact PDF standards. That’s when callas pdfToolbox came into the picture. Peter Minne, Co-Founder & CTO at Showpad: “We needed a solution that would increase the number of files we could optimize, allow extensive tweaking of the optimization process, return feedback on possible PDF issues, and offer better performance.”
Showpad runs a cloud-based Online Platform as a central clearing house to upload content and administer their solution. The pdfToolbox engine from callas can easily be integrated into such an environment using the CLI (Command-Line Interface). It provides a full range of functionality to optimize PDF documents: quality control, fixing potential problems, creating preview images, impositioning… And it runs on all major platforms including Mac, Windows and a number of Linux and Unix flavors. Peter Minne continues: “We installed the pdfToolbox CLI early in 2013; the fact that it supports Linux was a real benefit to us, allowing us to stick with the operating system we are most familiar with”.
If necessary pdfToolbox CLI can easily be moved between platforms, as installation and usage are fully platform independent. On top of that it can scale with an online platform, supporting load balancing in environments where volumes are high or response times are critical and can be installed on owned servers or virtual servers at companies such as Amazon. All the while pdfToolbox is built on industry-standard Adobe PDF Library technology and provides the same robust quality control capabilities as found in Adobe Acrobat itself (the preflight plug-in for Adobe Acrobat Pro is developed by callas).
“An additional important benefit,” explains Peter Minne, “is that most of the work in testing and further development of the advanced optimizations for PDF documents can be done on our desktop machines. We simply create configurations using pdfToolbox Desktop and send them to the server when we’re convinced they will do the job. Very convenient.”
These remote configuration and administration capabilities of pdfToolbox Desktop were one of the most important features when pdfToolbox 6 was released. They allow pdfToolbox Desktop on Mac and Windows to act as remote client to a pdfToolbox Server or CLI running anywhere on the network. In a cloud-based environment they can overcome the need to perform all testing and configuration tasks on the server machine itself, often resulting in significant time gains.
Expanding development horizons on a wide range of supported platforms, the well thought-out commands, easy installation and comprehensive documentation make it a breeze to get started developing with callas pdfToolbox CLI for all levels of developers.
Customers can rapidly integrate the very highly performing, industry-standard PDF preflight and correction tools into any type of solution from truly versatile web applications to submission platforms. pdfToolbox CLI provides the thorough and comprehensive processing required to complete any solution, meaning the sky’s the limit as to what needs to be built.
From web applications running on UNIX based platforms to file submission systems using the latest PDF/X standards; from enterprise level document management systems to any other kind of PDF workflow - whatever the requirements, callas pdfToolbox CLI provides stable and proven PDF technology.
Showpad is a Mobile Sales Enablement application aimed at drastically improving the sales effectiveness of any enterprise with a sales team. Their technology enables businesses to create and manage a tailored sales and presentation app, distribute content to tablets and get insights in user activity and content usage. With the Showpad App, sales reps can easily present and share content, gather contact data and collaborate with co-workers. Showpad is a privately owned company established in 2011. Headquarter in Ghent, Belgium with offices in Germany and the United States.
Soar Printing, an Auckland based company that was founded back in 1920 as a family busi-ness, is considered to be at the forefront of the printing industry in New Zealand. Soar Print-ing now employs over 70 people and they offer an extensive range of services, from short run digital printing to long run offset printing and large format poster prints. Within their specific industry segments, the Soar divisions are market leaders utilizing the latest technology to de-liver the best possible result. They are constantly evaluating and adapting new technologies that will add extra value for their clients. This is especially true with their commitment to en-vironmental issues and the ongoing policy of sourcing the most environmentally friendly pro-cesses and products.
“The printing industry has changed radically since we started out but one thing has remained the same – behind every single job is a customer who wants it done right. Soar Printing under-stands this. It is the heart of our culture. It guides our investment in new technologies and it helps us to continually evolve our business. We need to grow with our customers’ business and be aware of the trends and opportunities they are facing globally. From the smallest print job to the most complex, we want our customers to have the utmost confidence in our company” Fred Soar – Managing Director Soar Printing.
Soar Printing mainly focuses on printing for commercial business such as marketing material, business forms, Point of Sale display items and packaging. They can count brand names like Nestlé, Estéé Lauder, ASB Bank, Telecom New Zealand, Air New Zealand and Sky City Casino amongst their clients.
“We’ve noticed a big change in the printing industry over the past few years” says Fred Soar.“Print runs are getting shorter, and printing has been substituted by other means of mar-keting communications such as social media and online marketing. We at Soar Printing try to adapt to these new trends by making sure we can offer reduced setup costs, taking care of short-er runs and offer more RIP print services”
Anticipating this new trend in the printing industry and entering a new market, Soar Printing wanted to offer a WEB2PRINT solution for people who know how to use Adobe products and how to create print ready PDFs. Soar Printing was looking for a way to provide instant quot-ing and instant preflighting to people and at the same time remove the cost of quoting, pre-flighting and job creation.
With callas software the first WEB2PRINT model has been setup as an independent store-front, targeting new customers throughout New Zealand.
The ease of setting up preflighting with callas software offers them to further streamline the preflighting process internally. So it is not only an online tool, but also an application used in-house. And all this can be done with only one pdfToolbox Server.
The geographical distance between Soar Printing and callas software did not cause any issues. “The fact that callas software is situated in Europe and we in New Zealand created no problems at all. The model was developed over 6 months. Early problems were quickly lined out and some-times the time difference made it easier because the problems were solved over night. It was an interesting way to work.”
PDF2PRINT is a print upload portal build with callas pdfToolbox that allows preflighting and correction. It is an affordable and fast way to do easy print jobs without sacrificing quality. PDF2PRINT uses the newest digital and offset machines for highest standard. In order to offer amazingly low prices, Soar Print has kept a standard range of products that can be ordered through PDF2PRINT which include business cards, flyers, postcards, brochures and posters.
What happens in the background, when a customer orders through the PDF2PRINT button? The file appears on Soar printing’s server with the order and the price that was ordered at. This file is then automatically transferred into a job ticket in the reminder system. Once this is done, the production can be started. In the background, calculations are running to work out where the break is between digital and offset printing for each product and price accordingly.
Depending on those calculations, the order is printed either on an HP Indigo 5500 digital printing press or on a Heidelberg Anicolor press.
The callas software was installed about a year ago and was launched earlier this year. Soar Printing started a marketing campaign, which includes online marketing and direct market-ing, to attract new businesses. So far, there has been a lot of traffic on the website, a lot of visi-tors, a lot of sightseeing and orders are coming in.
In the future, Soar Printing is looking to expand their web to print products. Their next in-vestment will be more business-to-consumer oriented, offering online design options to ena-ble customers to do both design and order online.
“My web developers and me had a look at a few products but we felt that callas software fitted the bill best” , states Fred Soar. “It’s quite easy to use and it gave us what we want. What really stood out was the ability to set your own preflight parameters to your own work environment and the option to provide error messaging as well as other options for auto fix” he concludes.
Founded in 1958, London based F.E.Burman Limited is a well known supplier of high quality short run printing and digital media services. However, for numerous British publishing houses, F.E.Burman is also a synonym for rock solid web-based production tools. The company supports its customers in a variety of print and data handling tasks including magazine production, handling advertising mate-rial, and commercial print and mailing services. Clients include publishing houses such as Condé Nast Publications, The Guardian Newspaper Group, the British Medical Journal and The Economist.
Before investing in pdfToolbox, F.E. Burman already gained some experience with pdfInspektor (a callas PDF preflight solution, now integrated in pdfToolbox). They used it to check incoming PDF files in Auditor, an in-house developed web-based tool for publishers. Auditor centralizes the final stages of checking and distributing PDF files, allowing publishers to manage their publications more effectively. Andy Psarianos, F.E.Burman director in charge of development comments: “With Auditor, it takes editors only a few seconds to check complex PDF files. Running in the background, pdfToolbox checks every single PDF file, and depending on the type of application, some basic things like hair-lines, spot colors and transparency are fixed automatically. Files that aren’t suitable for printing are immediately identified, and detailed reports help editors and employees to quickly identify and solve eventual problems. Before, our prepress employees often had to open defective files manually, find the problem, and then attempt to correct it. These time-consuming procedures and costly problems definitely belong to the past. To put it bluntly, it’s the most accurate preflight engine we ever worked with.”
When F.E. Burman started to develop web-to-print solutions for their customers, the in-house development team quickly realized that tasks such as PDF creation, PDF checking, online proofing, color management and imposition, had to be fully automated in order to flawlessly and timely process the vast variety of incoming files. Andy Psarianos explains: “Creating a good-looking and user friendly front-end is one thing, but making sure that the back-end is capable of processing all the incoming files is another. Let me give you an example: For Savills, a global real estate service provider with more than 80 offices worldwide, we created more than 200 different templates to choose from. Things like layout, imposition and paper are different for most templates, so manual intervention is no option. We knew callas had a solution that fit our requirements, but we had to see it with our own eyes. After some extensive testing, and comparison with other solutions, pdfToolbox was unanimously elected as the winner. Our previous experience with pdfInspektor, and the fact that these products are very accurate and extremely easy to integrate played an important role in our decision.”
F.E.Burman Reception Desk Installation and implementation was very fast. In just a matter of days, the in-house development team was able to automate the complete web-to-print back-end process. They no longer have to worry about selecting the appropriate print queue or imposition scheme, and thanks to the intuitive user-interface, creating a new or modifying an existing workflow is like a walk in the park.
Andy Psarianos Andy Psarianos concludes: “pdfToolbox allows us to build some very powerful and sophisticated products. It’s like putting a Formula 1 engine in our web-based products. We have processed literally hundreds of thousands PDF files through the software, and I honestly can’t recall of one instance where we ever had to question the accuracy of the system. The quality of the imposition and preflight engine is outstanding and the software is extremely user friendly with clear instructions on how to use it. Implementation by our in-house development team was therefore very easy, fast and successful. Thanks to the increased speed, repeatability and accuracy brought in by pdfToolbox, we help our clients work faster and more effectively. And in the end, isn’t that the real purpose of any solution or business.”
Mercedes-Benz Schweiz AG wanted to achieve greater transparency, uniformity, security, and compliance in its document storage. With its decision to use consistent electronic long-term archiving in PDF/A, the company is very much following the current trend. Mercedes-Benz Schweiz AG was looking for a flexible, powerful, and stable solution. Today, pdfaPilot from callas software, provider of powerful PDF technologies for publishing, print production, and document archiving, is used for the fully automatic conversion to PDF/A of the 30,000 or so order-related documents that arise each year. Mercedes-Benz Schweiz AG will therefore be able to give up its physical archive and benefit from the advantages of long-term, uniform, digital storage.
Mercedes-Benz Schweiz AG is a subsidiary of Stuttgart-based Daimler AG. As a sales and marketing company with around 400 employees, the company is involved with the registered brands for passenger cars Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz and ‘smart’ and the Mercedes-Benz and FUSO brands for commercial vehicles. For the many documents produced during order processing for vehicle fleet business with suppliers and dealers the company used a document management system in conjunction with its system for order processing, but this did not include an archiving function that enabled documents to be stored electronically in compliance with legal regulations. Instead, the scanned documents were saved in image format and the original documents archived on paper. This resulted in duplicate data retention and a large amount of space required for the physical archive.
In October 2011, when Mercedes-Benz Schweiz AG decided to replace the order processing software, one requirement was that the documents should only be archived electronically. It was clear that the company should use PDF/A, the most suitable format for long-term archiving, in order to meet legal requirements. The search began for a suitable product to put this into practice. “We wanted to offer users the most flexible solution possible. We also needed the conversion to PDF/A happen in the background within the application. We were therefore looking for a stable solution to convert image formats and MS Office documents to PDF/A,” explains Fabrizio Tuena, IT - Business Consultancy & Service Management at Mercedes-Benz Schweiz AG.
The analysis of the market resulted in comprehensive tests on three products that made the shortlist – one of which was pdfaPilot from callas. “We were particularly looking for reliable, compliant conversion to PDF/A format and good performance,” says Fabrizio Tuena. “And of the three tools we tested, pdfaPilot turned out to be the most reliable.” The company chose the pdfaPilot Software Development Kit, the programming library that can be integrated easily and flexibly. During subsequent implementation, various questions relating to installation in a multithreading environment were quickly clarified. Tuena states: “The collaboration with callas was competent and very fast, from sales consulting and implementation right through to support for the ongoing project.”
Document-intensive processes are common at Mercedes-Benz Schweiz AG: The company uses them to commission its suppliers to alter vehicles to meet customer requirements – e.g. including interior fittings for commercial purposes or labeling them accordingly. Dealers then take on final tasks such as handover including registration of the vehicle with the authorities. All order-related documents such as the contract, orders for bodies, delivery documents etc. are scanned and uploaded to the new order processing software. There, pdfaPilot converts all documents to PDF/A, thus making them ready for long-term archiving.
The documents are then given a digital signature to meet the legal requirements regarding proof of immutability. Finally, the documents are archived in a document management system from OpenText.
The project has been concluded in February 2013, and Mercedes-Benz Schweiz AG is very satisfied with the results. “Because conversion is fully automatic, no manual intervention is required. In addition, pdfaPilot is a flexible solution that permits a wide variety of scan formats,” concludes Fabrizio Tuena.
Entry-level PDF/A support, standalone, inside Acrobat or fully automated as Server version
For businesses and government agencies, archives and libraries, that store and long-term maintain documents, callas pdfaPilot is the professional desktop tool to validate and/or create PDF/A-files. It turns all kinds of PDFs into ISO 19005-1 conform PDF/A documents:
With pdfaPilot it is a snap to check whether your documents comply with the PDF/A standard. And if they don’t, callas pdfaPilot contains a wealth of tools to bring them in line. Working as a plug-in inside Adobe Acrobat or as a fast standalone application, callas pdfaPilot offers the broadest PDF/A support on the market in the easiest package. callas pdfaPilot works on single documents or – using its batch functionality – on complete folders at a time.
To process higher volumes of files or to free up operators by hands-off automation, callas pdfaPilot Server provides just that. The hot folder interface lets you setup different watched folders that automatically pick up files and process them. The engine inside callas pdfaPilot is fully multiprocessor aware so it takes advantage of all of the speed available in your server. Additionally callas pdfaPilot Server has load distribution capabilities to enhance performance by using multiple servers. Both the Desktop and Server version run on Mac and Windows. A command-line interface and a full developer SDK are available when closer integration or more fine-grained control is of the essence. With their additional availability on many Unix flavors, the CLI and SDK allow painless integration in a wide range of operating environments. Other supported platforms are Sun Solaris and IBM AIX.
The Rosendahls group is a company with a rich tradition and roots going back to 1902. Located in Copenhagen, Odense and Esbjerg, it has offered a comprehensive range of services in the areas of communication, publishing, warehousing and distribution for more than a century. Rosendahls is on top of new developments and continues to be a technology front-runner to support its customers. As many of those customers traditionally come from public administration organizations, Denmark’s embracing of the ISO PDF/A standard had a direct impact on Rosendahls.
PDF/A, the ISO standard for PDF files to be stored in long-term archives, has been steadily increasing in importance, especially for use by governments and public administrations. In April 2011, the Danish Ministry for Economics, Innovation, and Education decided to require accessible PDF/A documents as the compulsory format for all public sector documents. As a full-service provider, it was important for Rosendahls to be able to convert existing documents to PDF/A and check compliancy with the ISO standard when needed.
The standardisation by the Danish government on PDF/A didn’t take Rosendahls by surprise. While HTML was still the required format for agencies, Rosendahls already saw the European trend towards PDF/A. It started looking for a solution to support this upcoming standard early; the corresponding market research culminated in a visit to the 4th international PDF/A conference in Rome in the fall of 2010. The conference provided a wealth of information and access to experts from the different technology vendors with PDF/A technology.
“This is when we decided to use pdfaPilot by callas software”, Jens Bjerre Kirkegaard, Document Accessibility Specialist at Rosendahls, recalls. “Our requirements for creating valid PDF/A files were best met by pdfaPilot, which also offered convincing reliability and an easy-to-use intuitive operation”. Rosendahls faced additional challenges because it had to be able to provide accessible PDF/A files, which requires support for the technically ‘more challenging’ parts of the PDF/A standard known as PDF/A-1a, but pdfaPilot easily meets those challenges. “On top of that,” continues Jens Bjerre, “callas pdfaPilot offers a range of additional features such as splitting PDF documents or creating hand-outs for example and those come in very handy in our daily use”.
callas pdfaPilot is ideal for the demanding workflow at Rosendahls because it supports direct conversion to PDF/A from a wide range of formats such as Microsoft Office, Open Office, Postscript and a variety of image files. It is built using the same technology licensed by Adobe for Adobe Acrobat and provides seamless scaling for large-volume environments. The fact that so much of the work can be automated gives Rosendahls additional time for the manual steps required for accessible conversion.
For the media services provider who often receives individual documents from many different sources – which creates very different requirements opposed to high volumes that always have the same structure – the ability to automatically convert to and validate PDF/A is particularly important. “We convert either to PDF/A-1a or PDF/A-2a“, Kirkegaard explains, “We usually have to process Word, InDesign, or PDF documents, and callas pdfaPilot automatically resolves many stumbling blocks for us. E.g. it checks for and removes unnecessary metadata, marks or corrects incorrect color spaces or embeds fonts retroactively”.
The fact that the pdfaPilot can ‘repair’ problematic documents or – if this is impossible – recreates them completely from scratch, saves Rosendahls a lot of time and work. But there is still a lot to do for the accessibility specialist Jens Bjerre Kirkegaard: “Provisioning of accessible documents is a demanding and often finicky task which requires a lot of know-how and a few manual steps”, he explains. It is impossible to setup a completely automated workflow, especially when receiving diverse and often-problematic native document formats. But here as well pdfaPilot comes to the rescue by providing manual editing of metadata, colors, images and many other PDF properties.
For challenges surrounding PDF/A and accessible documents Jens Kirkegaard benefits from the fast and competent support of the callas distribution partner Actino Software. “Media service providers such as Rosendahls are often confronted with the fact that customers want their heterogeneous documents provided as PDF/A files but they have no idea how complex the required work really is”, Actino director Michael Karbe explains.
Since the installation of the first version, Actino has been supporting their customer Rosendahls reliably and has worked closely with callas software to resolve any questions or problems that arose during the project. callas software integrated all improvements into further development of pdfaPilot. “The continued development of the PDF/A standard also requires adjustments to the PDF/A toolsets”, Dietrich von Seggern, Business Development Manager at callas software explains. “We are highly dedicated to this area and thanks to constant updates to pdfaPilot, we can ensure comprehensive implementation of all requirements and therefore provide optimal conformity.“
Rosendahls recently migrated to the latest version of pdfaPilot: version 3.0. This version allows embedding documents inside a PDF/A file and implements support for the PDF/A-3 standard. This allows Rosendahls to embed all documents belonging to a certain project or file inside their accessible PDF/A documents. And whenever they want to take advantage of PDF/A-3, the solution is ready for them.
Accessibility and creating accessible PDF files is a topic that really drives callas software and its sister company axaio software. The InDesign plug-in MadeToTag was created by axaio software to simplify and speed-up preparation of Adobe InDesign documents before they are converted into accessible PDF/A files.
Jens Kirkegaard explains its importance: “Accessible PDF files require a clear structure and this is accomplished by adding tags to the PDF. These tags provide additional information about the structure and order of text, provide alternative text to clarify what embedded graphics represent and can discriminate between real content and design elements. These tags are essential for good accessible documents.”
Using axaio MadeToTag, which is now in public beta, it becomes much easier to quickly and reliably add those tags to InDesign documents. Once the document is then converted to PDF, it becomes a high-quality accessible PDF/A document.
“The effort involved in converting agency documents to barrier free PDF/A documents depends on the complexity of the layout. Sometimes one simply reaches the limits of the cost-benefit ratio. For my work, it is a considerable relief to know that a lot of the steps which previously had to be completed by hand are now done by callas pdfaPilot”, Kirkegaard explains.
The PDF/A trend is really taking off in Denmark, so Rosendahls is expecting a major increase in its future order volume. Thanks to callas pdfaPilot and the service from Actino Software, they are already well prepared and equipped for it.
When legislation and practice converge, complying with the regulations is simpler. That’s been the case with the deeds that firms deposit with the Chambers of Commerce Companies’ Register - computer documents that from this year on have to be produced in PDF/A format. Infocamere carries out systematic compliance checks on them using procedures from callas software’s pdfaPilot application, which has been entrusted with the prompt validation of the files sent to the Register.
Michele Piva, Head of Marketing for the document area of the Italian Chambers of Commerce IT department: “We’re dealing with a standard that was already widely in use before the Ministerial Decree (of 10 December 2008 sanctioning its use) came into effect, exactly because it derives from the PDF which firms had been widely using for some time”.
Of the possible candidates for the long term archiving of electronic documents the PDF/A won out over XPS (XML Paper Specification), TIFF G4 and JPEG. “The PDF/A – Piva adds – was set as the standard ahead of the legislation. Infocamere has invested in it both for the necessity of making available documents that must keep their legal integrity and value over time — considering that the elimination of paper is a must in public administration — and because it considers that, as it is a reinforcement of the PDF, the shift over to it could be taken for granted”.
And the statistics are indeed showing this: whereas from the beginning of March to the middle of April already 47% of the deeds presented to the Companies’ Register were compliant with the new measures, the documents deposited in the following month and a half achieved a format validation of over 58%.
“Looking in particular at company constitution deeds, the most frequent type received in total by the Chambers of Commerce among the over 580,000 analyzed in the period under consideration (excluding the documents classified as ‘other deeds’) turns out to have been in PDF/A compatible format. And for a good 89 of the 105 Chambers the percentage of valid ones is over 80%. This is the proof that the adoption of the PDF/A is being generally and rapidly confirmed over the whole of Italy”.
According to the ISO 19005-1 standard, PDF/A offers a mechanism “for representing electronic documents in a manner that preserves their visual appearance over time, independent of the tools and systems used for the creation, memorization and rendering of the files”.
In other words, the PDF/A files are self-contained and, since they incorporate the information (content, colour, image, text and so on) necessary to display the document, they do not require any additional data for its correct visualization. However, exactly on account of this property, the format must exclude determined functions allowed in normal PDF files such as transparency and multimedia content, and cannot include macro-instructions or rely on links to external resources.
The validation check
“In order to facilitate the file production operations — continues Piva — we have also chosen the blandest compliance to the standard – which corresponds to the sub-category PDF/A-1b, for which no explicit logical structure is needed. Despite this we have noted that there are some recurring errors: on the one hand, the poor indexing and aggregation of the deeds attached to the form; on the other, the widespread habit of creating a copy of the document which then doesn’t have the original’s representation (and its metadata) and so loses its validity”.
As well as all this, the possibility of visualizing a document “in PDF/A form” is not in itself synonymous with standard compliance: “It happens — even with Adobe Reader 9, which provides this indication — a source of a widespread error. Thus the only way to ensure adherence to the standard is the validation control”.
To check this it is necessary to use products such as Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro or pdfaPilot from callas software. The alternative is the free service, accessible from the tools section of the WebTelemaco site, which employs the same pdfaPilot tool used by the Companies’ Register office and which enables the validation of any document whatsoever supplying the result online, complete with details of any non-conformities encountered.
Negative outcome — rejected form
“For our validation procedures — explains Piva — we have used the server version of pdfaPilot, which the application we’ve developed makes appropriate calls to, determining the correspondence to the PDF/A-1b specifics. A good number of the people we work with, from service professionals to notaries and accountants, get a great deal of benefit from the tool on WebTelemaco. And, once we’ve received the files, we regularly repeat the checks. If the outcome is negative, the form is rejected”.
“The management application was created over the space of three months from the approval of the Ministerial Decree and required an investment of around 30,000 Euro. An expense which has already been repaid by making available a standard that guarantees long term document validity and integrity: a guarantee of uniformity to a defined standard and, therefore, also of quality. Among the further benefits, apart from the return on image, is the improvement of cash flow, since compliance to the standard ensures that homogeneousness which is a key element for its subsequent conservation and concession — on payment — to distributors and information agencies who use it for commercial purposes”.