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Duomedia pre-Drupa event focuses on innovation

March 31, 2008

Duomedia’s Drupa Discovery Tour, a gathering of 83 journalists from 26 countries, took place March 20-24. In Gent, Belgium, the city EskoArtwork’s CEO Carsten Knudsen calls “the cradle of packaging software,” several companies previewed the hardware and software products they’ll introduce at Drupa in Dusseldorf, Germany, May 29-June 11.


Knudsen reports EskoArtwork will occupy 800 sq m of exhibit space at stand A23 in hall 8b under a theme of “Connect More!” On the software side, Esko will present Studio and Studio toolkits, plug-ins that bring interactive 3D package design to Adobe Illustrator. Studio is said to reduce the need for multiple, costly mockups and to spot design errors faster. Studio Toolkits for Flexibles supports pillow bags, gusseted bags, and stand-up pouches, while Studio Toolkits for Boxes allows designers to create box shapes that can be decorated and folded inside Adobe Illustrator.

Dynamic Content is a new plug-in that links text content with any Adobe Illustrator artwork file to separate the package’s textual content from its layout. Editing and approving can be handled separately, reducing time to market.

Cyrel Digital Imager (CDI) Spark 4260 Auto for flexographic plates is built for fully automated plate loading, imaging, and unloading. Targeted at the flexible packaging and folding carton market, the unit is able to process three full-size digital flexo plates at once.

CDI Advanced Cantilever platesetter, built for the wide web flexible packaging market, comes with a cantilever air cylinder said to allow for a very fast exchange of print sleeves without the need for additional handling equipment such as a crane. The unit enhances throughput, as the removal of the mandrels and the offline exchange of print sleeves is no longer required.

The introduction of three models in the Kongsberg XP series of digital cutting tables targets corrugated packaging companies and manufacturers of POP displays that need a fast, reliable solution for short-run production. The machines are designed for continuous, high-speed manufacture of all grades of corrugated board, display carton, corrugated plastic, and other substrates.

Also presented at Drupa will be a fully integrated, end-to-end JDF workflow for package production said to enable streamlined and efficient communication of production-critical data across the supply chain. Package developers, graphic designers, prepress departments, engraving plants, print shops, converters and brand owners reportedly save time, cost, and materials. Said to reduce errors, cut paper waste, and provide traceability of entire process.

Knudsen also announces the company’s acquisition of Gent-based Gradual Software, whose staff, assets, and technology will be merged with EskoArtwork’s Enfocus operations. Peter Camps, founder of Gradual Software, joins the EskoArtwork management team as Sr. VP of Enfocus.

Peter Camps, chairman/CEO of Gradual Software, Gent, returns to Esko as Sr. VP of Enfocus, following Esko’s acquisition of Gradual. Also back with Enfocus is Gradual’s COO David van Driessche.

At just his fourth day on the job, Camps made no specific Drupa announcements. Instead he discussed the technological areas the company is working to improve such as third-party system interface, document formats, metadata, and quality assurance.

Camps and van Driessche said Enfocus is 100% committed to Crossroads, which was launched by Gradual in August 2007. Centered on SWITCH automation technology. Crossroads is a communication platform that draws together a large system of software vendors offering automation products for publishing workflows.

The objective is to present users with solid information on solutions that combine products from various vendors. Crossroads offers a website, user forum, and seminars, and will be present at selected trade shows and industry events.

Learn more in hall 7/7.0C.

Agfa Graphics

Agfa Graphics president Stefaan Vanhooren reports parent company Agfa-Gevaert will de-merge during 2008, and Agfa Graphics will become an independent company. He predicts inkjet printing gradually will replace flexographic and screen printing, and says the company’s strategy is to become a player in the first generation of UV inkjet.

At Drupa Agfa will be located at stand B63 in hall 8a. The company will introduce :Azura TS, a ThermoFuse-based, chemistry-free, thermal digital plate said to feature a substantial increase in throughput, an advanced clean-out system, and improved contrast. For violet platesetters, :Azura V, a chemistry-free digital plate, and :Aspire, a polymer plate, will be new at Drupa.

The :Avalon N series of thermal imaging CtP platesetters is available in 8-up and VLF formats that accommodate a variety of plate sizes and plate-per-hour capabilities.

A new modular workflow solution, :Apogee Suite, integrates all content, project management, prepress, and production functions. The suite includes Publish for content management and page creation for print or web; Portal for communication between printers and their customers; Prepress for JDF-enabled prepress production; and Color for color management, as well as Media for content integration and management. The suite is said to offer highly functional integration that further improves overall management of the graphic communications process.

The latest additions to Agfa’s industrial inkjet portfolio include :Anapurna XLS, which comes in a choice of speeds and is said to produce top-quality printing with highly saturated, wide gamut colors in the medium, large, and extra-large formats. The :Anapurna Mv can add a spot of flood varnish to improve cosmetic appearance while the M4f is the entry level printer in the range.

Synaps is a polyester-based synthetic paper for offset presses and UV inkjet printers. It’s said to offer superior printability and exceptionally fast drying time. Available in a range of weights, Synaps can be used in harsh outdoor environments.

Pressroom supplies making their Drupa debut include CtP Plate Cleaner, an environmentally friendly product with low VOCs, and ANTURAfount AFS1 fountain solution additive used for alcohol-free or low alcohol printing on sheet-fed offset presses.

Punch Graphix Intl.

Punch Graphix Int. presented on the basysPrint and Xeikon product lines. Here, chief technology officer Frank Deschuytere says a breakthrough still is needed in inkjet due to slower speeds, water-based inks that affect print quality, and UV inks that cannot be recycled.

At Drupa, a new generation of platesetters for UV plate exposure will be shown. The basysPrint UV-Setter 400 and 800 series offer a modular platform and more efficient plate handling for commercial, package, and book printers. Users can choose between semi- and fully automatic versions, with single or multiple cassettes, automatic slip sheet removal, and press-ready punching. Manual versions also are available.

For the rollout of the Xeikon 8000 digital color press, Punch Graphix employed an actor to portray the CEO of a retail chain in need of the kind of customized marketing campaign the 8000 can deliver. This includes personalized invitations in five languages, customized photobooks, and eco-friendly textile transfers for t-shirts. The Xeikon 8000 offers a print speed of 230 A4 pages/min, which equals a monthly volume of 8.5 million pages. The system uses optimized dry toner electrophotography for 1200 dpi imaging quality.

Atlantic Zeiser

Day Three of Duomedia’s Drupa Discovery Tour began with a presentation by Oliver C. Mehler, CEO of Atlantic Zeiser, Emmingen, Germany. The company’s core business is personalized, digital inkjet printing and coding solutions for challenging substrates that include bank notes, checks, passports, and ID cards. Mehler reported the soaring gift card business, especially in the US, is a new business opportunity for printers; it can offer a return on investment in just six months.

Atlantic Zeiser will introduce two high-resolution inkjet printers at Drupa: the Omega 36 HD and the enhanced Omega 210. These compact printers can be installed on web or sheet-fed applications. The Omega 36 HD offers a resolution of 720 dpi and is said to offer crisp printing of extremely small characters and to produce barcodes with excellent readability. The enhanced Omega 210 increases print width to 210 mm with black and spot colors. The Omega range prints on a variety of substrates, including paper and carton, as well as specialized materials such as aluminum, polymer foils, and plastics.

The SmartCure series is the company’s second generation of LED UV curing technology. It’s eco-friendly due to low energy consumption compared to lamp-based systems, a ten-times longer lifetime, no ozone generation, and lower cooling requirements. Compact size allows for easy integration, and it comes equipped with an instant on/off functionality that eliminates energy consumption during machine stops.

Also being shown are the company’s latest developments in its range of fast-curing and security, as well as spot and process color inks.

Atlantic Zeiser can be found in hall 11 on stand C56.


Next up was Francois Martin, EMEA graphic arts marketing director at HP, Tel Aviv, Israel, who said the company wants to accelerate the transformation from analog to digital printing. To that end, HP will provide an extensive rollout of products at Drupa.

The HP 7000 digital press is designed for high-volume print service providers and reportedly delivers production speeds of 120 four-color A4 (letter size) pages/min with offset and photo quality. Said to offer a low total cost of ownership for customers exceeding the 1 million-page level, significantly increasing the breakeven point against offset.

The HP Indigo W7200 digital press is designed for even higher production, including high-volume, personalized, color direct-mail campaigns. It features a roll-fed liquid electrophotographic printing (LEP) dual-engine solution that can produce up to 7 million A4 color images/month.

For label and package converters, the WS6000 prints seven colors and includes a new improved white. At four-color speed, the press prints at 98 fpm (30 mpm) on a broad range of media from 12–450 microns, including thinner flexible packaging substrates and folding carton, as well as label and shrink sleeve media. The repeat length of 38.58 in. (980 mm) permits higher productivity and less waste.

The company’s first-ever workflow portfolio, HP SmartStream, provides end-to-end workflow management from job creation to fulfillment. It was designed to be an open environment to allow customers the choice to expand into additional market segments, including commercial printing, publication printing, labels, and packaging. The new presses will be the first hardware devices to employ the HP SmartStream Digital Workflow Portfolio.

The HP Inkjet Web Press, a high-speed color digital press, arrays printheads across a 30-in. paper path and outputs either to a rewind unit or finishing devices. It is designed to perform in high volume, 24/7 environments such as direct mail, transactional and transpromotional printing, and book and newspaper publishing. Run speed is 400 fpm (122 mpm).

Designed for direct-to-disk CD/DVD printing, the HP Scanning Imager 1000 features high-quality process color printing at speeds to three disks/min. It uses thermal inkjet technology to deliver vibrant image quality, the company reported.

In the area of large-format signage, HP Latex Printing Technologies uses new water-based HP latex inks to produce high quality, dry, odorless prints. Latex is used as a descriptive term for aqueous-dispersed polymers, chemically different than natural rubber latex and non-allergenic. Durable output is said to achieve display permanence up to three years. Produces outdoor-quality prints at about 800 sq ft/hr and indoor-quality prints at about 400 sq ft/hr.

Under a tagline of “Progressive, Profitable Printing,” HP can be found in Hall 8a. The company will occupy the largest booth displaying digital products and the third largest booth overall.

Alwan Color Expertise

Elie Khoury, president of Alwan Color Expertise, Brussels, said the company is a strong advocate of standardized color management solutions. As an ICC member, the company will continue to develop ICC profile-based solutions for the graphic arts.

At Drupa, Alwan will launch Version v2.0, an Adobe Photoshop plug-in that enables users to apply ICC DeviceLink Profiles within Photoshop for print-oriented workflows. It enables non-color experts to benefit from advance features such as the calculation of individual inks and the total ink consumption to print an image.

The Alwan Color Processor is called a powerful, cost-effective color management solution. It’s based on open ICC standards and comes with a predefined set of Device and DeviceLink profiles.

Demonstrations of CMYK Optimizer 3.5 software will highlight an improved user-friendly interface and technical strengths such as preflight features, problem-free printing, and dynamic analysis and calculation of optimal total area coverage of ink. The product line includes Photo, aimed at photographers and small agencies; Prepress, reportedly the first pre-flight standardization and optimization software for color separation files; Press, suited for small- to medium-size printers; and ECO, for large offset and gravure printers, that comes equipped with Dynamic Black generation said to deliver substantial ink, paper, and energy waste savings.

Alwan will be located in hall 7/7.0 C.


Mark Verbist, managing director of PerfectProof (Mechelen, Belgium), reported the company will demonstrate proofing, large format production, and packaging prototypes at Drupa.

A turnkey proofing solution, ProofMaster Certify software comes pre-packaged with tailor-made profiles for the different production processes, allowing users to produce guaranteed ISO-certified digital proofs. Enables printers, publishers, and graphic designers to create certified proofs without the hassle of set-up and profiling.

Print Factory builds on ProofMaster’s modular architecture and provides the specific tools needed in the different parts of the workflow. It allows users to set up advanced manual and automated tiling, generate eyelet markers, and add seam lines, as well as generate die-cut lines. Also permits users to drive different machines from the same platform.

PakReady is reported to be an extremely efficient and affordable solution for the creation of carton-based prototypes on the final packaging material. Uses actual carton board or corrugated carton. Reduces the time to create a prototype to a couple of minutes, allowing for more extensive testing with customer focus groups and an optimized time-to-market.

PerfectProof’s ProofMaster Certify and PrintFactory can be found in hall 7, booth 7.0C while Pakready can be seen in hall 7, booth 7.0E.


Our Discovery Tour bus next took us to visit Canon Europe. David Preskett, European marketing director, welcomed our tour at the company’s new 600-sq-m showroom. The Professional Print Demonstration Centre, located outside Brussels in Diegem, opened in January.

Under the theme of “We Speak Image,” Canon will show its newest additions to the digital color production range: the imagePRESS C6000 and imagePRESS C6000VP. The C6000 offers resolutions of 1,200 dpi with 256 graduations at 60 impressions/min on paper stocks to 135 gsm with the ability to print on a variety of stocks to 300 gsm. The C6000VP, a production press, delivers the same print quality with a constant rated speed of 60 color impressions/min onto paper stocks up to 300 gsm. Both press engines are available with several server options and include such imagePReSS technologies as V-Toner, T-Developer, and E-Drum.

It’s not all about color, however. Also announced is a new range of imagePRESS monochrome engines that are designed for the commercial print, CRD, transactional, and print-for-pay sectors. They will run at 135 A4 pages/min and will feature finishing and output options including booklet trimmer, paper folder, saddlestitcher, high-capacity stacker, professional puncher, and document inserter.

Canon will release version 2.0 of the X-Rite-developed i1 Process Control System. It features an enhanced graphical user interface and an interactive profiling function.

Helix Production Workflow, a new software suite for print management and production, will provide an extended feature set and enhanced graphical user interface. The software is designed to help print providers automate and streamline the production process.

For the large, corporate CAD and GIS (geographical information systems) businesses, Canon is launching the imagePROGRAF 720. The large-format printer is equipped with an 80GB hard drive.

For the light production market, the imagePRESS C1 is reported to be the first-ever color device with clear toner to enhance the final print product. A new strategic alliance with Agfa Graphics means Canon’s imagePRESS digital presses will be capable of full integration with Agfa’s Apogee Suite JDF workflow solution.

See Canon at Hall 8a, stand B46.

It’s a wrap

Day Four of Duomedia Drupa Discovery Tour began with a lively roundtable moderated by Laurel Brunner of UK-based Spindrift, and Andy Tribute, Attributes Assoc., Cornwall, UK. Panelists included René Delbar, senior VP of business development at EskoArtwork; Richard Barham, VP R&D at Agfa Graphics; Lode Deprez, R&D inkjet for Xeikon at Punch Graphix; David Prekett, European marketing director, professional print at Canon; Peter Camps, senior VP of Enfocus at Esko; and Francois Martin, EMEA graphic arts marketing director at HP.

Participants tackled the hot topics of sustainability, automation, and emerging applications, and debated inkjet versus toner and digital versus conventional print. On the subject of sustainability, HP was quick to point out that on-demand digital printing has environmental advantages because it reduces waste when you print only what you need when you need it. In addition, it’s greener to print locally rather than ship printed pieces over long distances.

Web-to-print strategies also were discussed. Canon reports that results of a study the company conducted showed 25% of respondents don’t know what web-to-print is. Also mentioned was the fact that user interfaces are not easy for inexperienced print buyers.

Monika Kissing of Messe Dusseldorf, organizers of the Drupa show, presented highlights of what she called the “XXL version” of Drupa, which will cover 170,000 sq m in 19 halls. New this year is the “Drupacube,” a cube-shaped construction in the Congress Center South parking of the Dusseldorf fairgrounds that will be the site of workshops and symposia.

The 1,250-sq-m Drupacube is expected to be a hot spot for print buyers. Each day, including an after-hours party, will be dedicated to a specific theme, such as direct advertising day (May 29), newspaper day (May 30), magazine day (June 2), packaging/brand protection day (June 10), etc.

On June 9-10, the 4th Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Global Paper Forum will be staged in tandem with Drupa. At this international forum, members from the worldwide paper and pulp sectors gather to examine market opportunities. Forum discussions, workshops, and information on all the latest developments in the FSC paper sector form part of the event.

During the weeklong event, journalists competed in a “Graphic Arts Genius Competition” by testing their knowledge of color in a series of questionnaires created with the expertise of the Flemish Inst. for Graphical Communication. Paul Lindstrom of UK-based Spindrift earned the title. Did you know that if you are checking the colors of a proof, you have to take into account both the light source and the color of your clothing?

PFFC is a sister publication to AMERICAN PRINTER.

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