The secret to productivity in sign production does not rest solely with machine speed. It also requires automation and the elimination of idle time—on the press and on the finishing table. Typical wide format workflows and finishing operations can be inefficient and unprofitable when tools and processes are not optimized. Too many manual steps, equipment setup times, incorrect material handling, and lack of controlling a workflow are all impeding print providers from being successful. Esko (www.esko.com) at booth #3180 during the ISA Sign Expo 2017, April 20-22, in Las Vegas will feature software and hardware tools that will help companies get the most out of their production workflows, their equipment, and their staffs.
“Recently Esko introduced new production efficiencies to companies that produce signs and displays. We have demonstrated that by offering solid, integrated operational control and management tools, operators spend up to 30% less time in job preparation," explains Greg Stewart, Esko Digital Finishing Product Marketing Manager. "At ISA Sign Expo 2017, we will demonstrate how we reduce idle time and significantly increase productivity.
Wide format workflow software boosts production throughput
Featured at ISA will be Automation Engine Avant, a dedicated wide format workflow software bundle that combines wide format workflow automation with the Esko’s i-cut Suite tasks of preflighting, file editing, adding cutting paths and optimal nesting on a sheet. Automation Engine Avant creates productive workflows that increases throughput on digital printers and digital finishing platforms, while reducing errors and improving file management and communication to customers.
Included in the Avant bundle is Esko's Device Manager. This new software is used to communicate job status and helps to manage jobs based on precise cutting time estimates and substrate selection. Precise production planning and prioritization of digital finishing jobs becomes easier to manage. Operators can prioritize table queues, insert rush jobs and balance workloads between different tables, even at different sites. With the Estimating software within Esko Device Manager, better job quotes and accurate production planning are easy. Automation Engine Avant is a unique lever to optimize wide format production, from design to delivery.
Simplifying display design
Also on display will be Esko's powerful structural design software, ArtiosCAD, the world’s leading packaging structural design software that also is ideal for all POP, POS, and free standing display designers. The ArtiosCAD Display Store (www.esko.com/en/lp/artioscaddisplays/) makes designing attractive displays possible for everyone, and gives printers quick access to new parametric designs.
Wide format finishing: Simplified Kongsberg platform choice—and a reduction of waiting time between jobs
Esko has streamlined and improved its Kongsberg table portfolio to help customers more easily identify the systems that best suit their needs. They can choose from two primary families – the greatest flexibility for versatile and creative jobs (Kongsberg X), or the best productivity for efficient production runs (Kongsberg C). On display at ISA will be a Kongsberg X24 and Kongsberg C64 finishing tables. Both tables will be demonstrated with innovative attachments that make the tables even more functional and productive.
The Kongsberg C64 table will be shown with a new, automatic feed and stacking system that frees personnel from loading and stacking. It can be fit to any Kongsberg C—no matter the size. It means that operators can control a number of machines concurrently or can be reassigned to other tasks. Media is always ready and waiting for the cutter, which eliminates delays loading and unloading the table. The system is also modular: companies can install the feeder first, and add the stacker at a later date. Visitors to the Esko booth will see that the system has a moderate footprint.
The Kongsberg X24 finishing table, featuring the LubriCool tool that sprays a light layer of oil to keep substrates cool and assure a good clean cut on difficult materials, like aluminum.
What companies are learning is that marginal increases in table cutting speeds do not significantly affect productivity,” adds Stewart. “Typical finishing operations are less efficient because their equipment is not used optimally: there are too many manual steps; setting up cutting tables takes too long; and prioritizing jobs as well as optimized material handling is not always possible. That is why Esko has focused on ways to accelerate the feed and stack cycle of its finishing tables, so that idle time is minimized. By eliminating the wait time in the prepress workflow and in the finishing areas, we make it easier and faster for companies to increase throughput."