Software
Quark Software Inc. introduced what it describes as significant new updates to its content automation platform. The new release, the second major update in 2017, adds enhancements to content management and Web-based content review, including the ability to assemble and manage PowerPoint slides at a component level.
 
Quark explains its content automation platform enables business users and editorial teams to collaborate throughout the multi-channel content life cycle – from creation and management to publishing and delivery. By creating and reusing content components – rather than traditional static documents and files – teams can share, search, track, and reuse content, which translates into greater cost savings, more valuable content, and ultimately better content experiences.
 
“With the new updates to our content automation platform, we are especially proud to announce the first release of component-based PowerPoint slide assembly. Keeping PowerPoint presentations up-to date through manual processes is unsustainable and unmanageable for most large organizations. One update to a single slide could require manual changes to tens or hundreds of copies of the original deck including slides that are translated to multiple languages,” said Dave White, Chief Technology Officer at Quark Software.

White continues to explains that now subject-matter experts and business users working directly in PowerPoint can reuse entire slide decks, individual slides, or components within slides such as multimedia, tables, and charts – all from within a centralized content hub. “With one-click synchronization of slides, this effectively eliminates the need to copy, paste, recreate, or manually update content, which allows our clients to communicate in a more accurate, timely, and compliant manner,” said White.
 
The Quark Content Automation Platform consists of modules, including the following ones affected by the new update: Quark Publishing Platform, QuarkXPress Server, Quark Author Web Edition and Quark XML Author.

QuarkXPress Server leverages the graphic capabilities of QuarkXPress with server-based automation. New updates to this module include the ability to directly access new productivity and design enhancements to QuarkXPress 2017, such as responsive HTML5 output and native image manipulation. It also now includes automated item styles to produce infographics using the new automation features for styling boxes, frames, corners, drop shadows, and more. The new features also include transaction-based font management, which can include licensed fonts as part of a rendering request.
Kodak has added digital capabilities in Prinergy Workflow 8.1, which includes new bi-directional connectivity to a range of digital presses and what the company describes as a unique new Preset functionality.

“Prinergy Workflow 8.1 will provide our customers with the widest choice when connecting to a digital device,” said Allan Brown, VP and GM of Kodak’s Unified Workflow Solutions.

Version 8.1 now offers bi-directional communication with EFI Fiery and HP Digital Front Ends allowing an operator to make digital document decisions within Prinergy Workflow. This adds to existing press connectivity with Ricoh, Konica Minolta, Landa and Komori machines.

Kodak’s updated software version includes the Prinergy Workflow 8 universal Digital Job Ticket Editor, which uses real-time information to make production decisions.

Version 8.1’s new Preset feature, explains Kodak, streamlines production by removing multiple touch points. Customers will be able to define, save and re-use print product specifications that will result in the ability to customize jobs for specific Digital Front Ends.
Toronto-based Messagepoint Inc., which develops software and services within the Customer Communications Management (CCM) market, has had its cloud-based content management platform, Messagepoint, named as a 2017 SIIA CODiE Awards finalist in the Best Multi-Channel Publishing Platform or Service category.

More than 30 years old, the CODiE Awards are recognized as a top program for the software and information industries. The SIIA CODiE Awards is the only peer-reviewed program to showcase business and education technology’s finest products and services. This marks the second consecutive year Messagepoint has been recognized by the program, having won the award in 2016.
 
“We are honored that Messagepoint is once again recognized by this prestigious organization,” said Steve Biancaniello, CEO, Messagepoint Inc. “It reflects the innovation and commitment of our dedicated Messagepoint team to continue to disrupt the status quo with solutions that make it easier for enterprises to communicate effectively with their customers.”
 
Messagepoint explains its hybrid-cloud platform provides tools for common problems companies face when managing different types of customer communications, making it possible for business users to directly own and control touchpoint messaging content and business rules for customer-facing, omnichannel communications.

Messagepoint is one of 205 finalists across 59 business technology categories in the peer-recognized awards program. Winners will be announced during the CODiE Award Business Technology Winner Announcement & Celebration on July 25 in San Francisco.
Infigo Software has entered an OEM partnership with Enfocus, with the goal of allowing customers of Infigo’s Catfish e-commerce platform to add PDF quality control for print ready files.

Enfocus PitStop software analyses artwork automatically for errors, flags items to be addressed and can also auto-correct for output that requires PDF. The OEM partnership with Enfocus means that Infigo Catfish customers can license the Enfocus preflight and correction functionality as an add-on option in Catfish that Infigo will support as part of a workflow.

“We’ve been focused on creating new and exciting automation partnerships because we recognize that automation is key for businesses to future-proof their operations,” said Douglas Gibson, Managing Director, Infigo. “This latest integration with the brilliant Enfocus PitStop software streamlines artwork management and preflighting, creating genuine cost and process efficiencies.”

The newly integrated software aims to allow customers to submit error-free, print-ready files automatically through the cloud-based Catfish e-commerce platform. By integrating Enfocus PitStop with Catfish, Infigo explains it’s possible to automate every aspect of artwork management into a workflow, from design and proofing to preflighting, printing and archiving, reducing the risk for human error. Users can update artwork within Infigo’s design tool, MegaEdit, once it’s been verified by Enfocus PitStop, so there’s no need to go back to a designer to update the PDF.    

“We’re delighted to welcome Infigo Software as an OEM Partner,” said Angelo Manno, Global OEM and Strategic Accounts Manager at Enfocus. “PitStop is the ideal PDF preflight and correction solution for businesses in a vast array of verticals, and this is true for Infigo's Catfish e-commerce solution too, so it was a natural fit to bring these two powerful solutions together.”
Onyx Graphics Inc. released ONYX 12.2 software, the latest version of the company’s wide format print workflow and RIP products. The company explains ONYX 12.2 features improved RIP and data transfer processing speeds, new multi-roll functionality, job scaling and rotation, and cut workflow enhancements.

ONYX 12.2 software is available for the full ONYX software product line including ONYX Thrive workflow software; and ONYX ProductionHouse, ONYX PosterShop and ONYX RIPCenter RIP software.

The company explains the new multi-roll user interface delivers an interactive workflow showing a live view of loaded media with automated roll selection between jobs in the RIP-queue. ONYX 12.2 also features a new user-interface showing device specific information based on bi-directional data including, easily visible ink levels, printer status and media information.

The new software version also includes enhanced media and page-size handling to streamline printer configurations and job setup. Cutting workflow updates include the ability to handle multiple cut-path prefixes and duplication of cutter device settings enabling greater automation. ONYX 12.2 also allows for job scaling and rotation directly from the file-open dialogue before sending jobs to the RIP-queue.
 
The software provides full support for the Konica Minolta Autoscan Spectrophotometer FD-9 colour device, with fully automated chart reading to improve print workflow and productivity. The new software version’s faster RIP and data transfer speeds are based on optimized colour calculations across all applications.
Canon and EFI have launched the new imagePRESS Server H300 from Canon, powered by EFI Fiery technology, and designed specifically for the imagePRESS C850 and C750 digital presses for commercial printing and in-plant production, as well as the imagePRESS C65 digital press aimed at creative design production operations.

The imagePRESS Server H300 is based on the new Fiery NX Pro hardware platform and Fiery FS200 Pro system software. The new Fiery QuickTouch software on the H300 server’s LCD colour touchscreen display, according to the companies, offers faster views of job status information and easier device management. The touchscreen display gives operators access to intuitive system installation, backup and restore functions, plus system diagnostics information.

The NX Pro server can be housed in the new, optional EFI Fiery NX Station LS, which holds a 20 percent smaller footprint than previous Fiery workstations. It also features an adjustable-height work space, proximity sensor, and sliding server shelf for maintenance.

The imagePRESS Server H300 is designed to provide image quality, colour management and image-processing performance. Its Fiery DFE technology can process the new Ghent PDF Output Suite version 5.0.

Users can also leverage the latest version of EFI’s JDF-certified Fiery technology, which can connect users' imagePRESS operations into plant-wide workflows. It provides integration to EFI MIS/ERP and web-to-print products, Canon’s PRISMA software suite of workflow for production print, and other prepress workflow solutions – including Kodak Prinergy, Heidelberg Prinect and Agfa Apogee.

This server supports the Adobe PDF Print Engine rendering platform and a variety of variable-data formats and standards, including PDF/VT 2 and PPML 3.0, giving users added flexibility to create higher-value, personalized documents.
After making its debut at drupa 2016, Enfocus has released a new PDF approval technology for its Switch automation software. Based on PitStop, Enfocus’ other technology for the preflight, correction and editing of PDF files, the PDF Review Module allows users to review and approve or reject native PDF files. The tool has been pilot tested by 50 customers and 40 partners since Drupa, some using it in full production.

“The project actually started as something completely different,” said Andrew Bailes-Collins, Senior Product Manager responsible for the PitStop product family, “We had a completely different product idea initially, but when we discussed our plans with customers to obtain their feedback, it became apparent that there was another need.

Customers were looking for a very simple prepress-based PDF review and approval solution. One that could be used by a wide range of customers, from the average man-in-the-street, up to a prepress professional, without cumbersome job setup requirements or the need for training. That is how the PDF Review Module was born.”

The goal of the solution, explains Enfocus, is to replace manual email soft proofing and to overcome the problems and inadequacies with that process. Bailes-Collins explained, “We found when talking to customers, even those who have sophisticated portal solutions within their workflows, that email proofs were still a part of their daily production process. They use their portals for customers with whom they do regular business with, but for ad hoc jobs, or customers who they do one or two jobs a year for, they instead send email proofs.”

The PDF Review Module is provided as an app for Switch and as an external web server application. The app is installed in Switch and can be added to any Switch flow. The Web server can be installed either locally or externally in a customer’s DMZ, in a data centre or on a cloud server.

The PDF Review Module sends an email to a single customer, which can be designed in HTML and branded, and which will include a link. When the link is clicked, the customer’s default browser opens and the high resolution PDF file is loaded. Crucial for the customer is that nothing else needs to be downloaded or installed, nor is a user name or password required. The interface is dynamic supporting different designs for tablet and desktop viewing.

With PDF Review Module, users have the ability to look at the individual colour separations, check for ink coverage, add annotations, a densitometer tool is available, as is a wireframe view. Document information can be seen, and when an object in the PDF is selected, then they can see the attributes of that object just as they can in the PitStop Pro Inspector.

The approval options for the PDF Review Module are also completely customizable. They are based on the Switch flow. The number of approval options and the approval terminology and language used can vary from Switch flow to Switch flow.

The PDF Review Module requires the Switch Core Engine 13 update 1 and above. For maximum automation and efficiency it is recommended to include the Switch Metadata Module to the Switch configuration.

The PDF Review module is currently available in 17 languages, including: Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Spanish, Swedish and Russian, other languages will follow.

The PDF Review Module includes 5 concurrent clients and costs $3,600 for the license plus mandatory first year maintenance of $720. Additional client packs are also available.
QuarkXPress 2017 is the newest release of Quark’s fully-integrated design and layout software for print and digital production.

With this new software, users can now edit images in QuarkXPress with features such as non-destructive image editing, transparency blend modes, new shape tools, item format painters and enhancements to multicolour gradients.

Users will also find new typography features such as text stroking and shading, column spanning and splitting and smart quotes. And when it’s time to output, users can take advantage of unlimited free iOS single apps creation, responsive HTML publications and adaptive layout conversion for digital and print.

Quark has also implemented the following user-requested features into QuarkXPress 2017, including:
  • Merge text boxes;
  • Proportional leading;
  • The most recent fonts;
  • Line between columns;
  • Enhanced word import;
  • Non-breaking text attribute;
  • Cursor key increments/decrements;
  • UI enhancements on Mac and Windows;
  • Enhancements to convert to native images.
QuarkXPress 2017 supports the three most recent operating systems from both MacOS (10.10, 10.11 and 10.12) and Windows (7, 8.1 and 10).
Agfa Graphics has released the next generation of its StoreFront, version 4.0, which now features what Agfa describes as responsive stores for optimal ease of use, a ‘save for quote’ functionality for pricing information, and new packaging algorithms for cost-effective shipping.

The new StoreFront version is optimized to be viewed on smaller screens and large desktop monitors, as store pages automatically adapt to any device. “StoreFront’s responsive design minimizes scrolling and zooming, and maximizes the print buyer’s comfort,” said Andy Grant, Global Head of Software, Agfa Graphics. “Even in the B2B market that StoreFront focuses on we’re seeing a marked increase in the number of visitors accessing private stores using a phone or tablet.”

Another addition to StoreFront 4.0 is the ‘save for quote’ functionality. It allows resellers and agencies to get instant pricing information for an entire product bundle, including shipping costs. “Let’s say a print buyer needs a quote for priority shipping a large quantity of posters for a concert, or several different products for a promotional campaign – StoreFront swiftly displays the total cost for the entire project,” said Grant. “White label shipping is a growing market in which such a feature allow printers to compete more efficiently.”

In StoreFront 4.0, the shipping module is completely reworked with new packaging algorithms for the grouping of order items and for calculating the optimal number of boxes needed for shipping. Also a new packaging type has been introduced for posters, banners and similar types of signage. These products can now be combined on a single packaging roll.

“StoreFront 4.0 is designed to be versatile and relies on industry standard file formats like PDF and JDF,” said Grant. “Because support for open standards and easy integration remain key for Agfa Graphics.”
Electronics For Imaging (EFI) has introduced two new digital front ends (DFEs), the embedded Fiery E-24B DFE and external Fiery E-44B DFE. The new DFEs are based on the latest Fiery FS200 Pro platform and were launched to drive Ricoh’s print engines, the Ricoh Pro C5200s and C5210s.

The DFEs can process graphically complex files with EFI’s Fiery SmartRIP technology and streamline production with the Fiery Command WorkStation interface. Optional add-ons such as Fiery Impose and Fiery JobMaster or the premium edition of the Fiery Graphic Arts Package allow users to access visual preview and advanced make-ready capabilities or troubleshoot digital designs before printing, respectively.

“With Fiery E-44B DFE, users also get the advantage of EFI’s innovative, proprietary Dynamic HD Text and Graphics feature for accurate, high-quality reproduction of ultra-thin lines and fine details in text,” Vice President of Fiery marketing at EFI John Henze says.

Both DFEs are now available from Ricoh and authorized Ricoh resellers.
In March, Roland released the ErgoSoft Roland Edition 2 RIP software for its Texart dye-sublimation transfer printers. ErgoSoft has developed the RIP specifically for the Texart XT-640 and RT-640 to support high-fidelity digital textile printing of sports and fashion apparel, soft signs such as polyester banners and flags, curtains and other interior décor, as well as promotional goods and personalized gifts.

ErgoSoft Roland Edition 2, according to Roland, includes more than 40 new features and enhancements. A new dithering method increases rasterization speed and improves dot placement accuracy resulting in what the company describes as 40 percent faster RIP times and smoother gradients. Roland explains a new PDF engine displays colour-accurate previews of PDF files. The RIP also includes up to eight simultaneous RIP Servers to reduce processing time when working with high-capacity data or multiple print jobs. A new Printer Pool feature allows the same file to be sent easily to multiple devices and a Hot Folder feature is aimed at batch printing of images with the same specific print settings.

Image Add-Ons functions support new effects like barcodes, rulers and drill holes. Multiple effects can also be applied to a single set of data. Specific editing functions support file formats that are commonly used for textile printing. The Step & Repeat feature is for repeating textile patterns from a single image is now available for PDF and EPS file formats. The Color Replacement feature for creating multiple colour variations is also now available for TIFF and PSD file formats. Variable Data Printing for producing personalized goods and apparel is now included as standard.

Roland  has also launched Roland PrintStudio by Caldera, its new RIP and print management software for the latest MacOS.

According to Valery de March, OEM business director at Caldera, Roland users will be able to “take advantage of extensive colour management features, create an unlimited number of presets and use automated functionalities and hot folders, as well as advanced tiling and nesting tools.”

Features:

-    ICC profiles creation,
-    Adobe PDF Print Engine,
-    Template-driven tiling options,
-    Optimized contour nesting,
-    Roland Color & Metallic System Libraries with hundreds of spot colours,
-    Supports low-cost colour spectrophotometers,
-    Supports RAL, HKS and Pantone® colour swatches,
-    Access to the online Roland Profile Center and its library of media profiles,
-    A blur and bleed function that removes the risk of white lines at cutting edges,
-    Application guide tool that automatically assigns a number to each tile while generating a summary PDF.

Roland PrintStudio by Caldera can be ordered through authorized Roland dealers.
In March, SmartSoft, introduced new enhancements to its PressWise software which provides web-to-print, MIS and workflow tools. This includes what the company describes as a major update to Purchase Order to better accommodate outsourcing. Users can now purchase non-inventory items, including services and finishing tasks. Outsourced Products POs can be automatically created upon order injection, PO line items associated to specific jobs, and POs emailed directly from within PressWise.

Imposition enhancements include new support for Work & Tumble as a work mode on quotes. The system now includes full support for Grippers throughout the system for each press device, from quoting and ordering to batching and auto-impositioning. PressWise has automated the process to apply for, receive, and install/utilize SSL certificates for custom domains, allowing admins to obtain an SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt. This optional feature is free of charge.

Inventory/stock purchases can now have minimum stock order amounts by substrate with the additional option of specifying a quantity per carton. Single Sign On (SSO) options are now available. User Interface Enhancements offer in-line editing in many areas with enhanced grids to make viewing, searching, and filtering information easier than ever before. Recently added reports include a Customer Aging Report, Customer Statements, Customer Activity, and more.
SA International (SAi), which develops software for wide-format printing and CAD/CAM for CNC machining, at the ISA Sign Expo (April 19-22 in Las Vegas) will launch its new MyFlexi mobile app. It will be released in conjunction with its SAi FlexiSIGN version 11 and FlexiPRINT version 12 software.

The MyFlexi app is available for IOS iPhones and iPads and Android mobile phones and tablets. SAi explains it provides tools to improve throughput and minimize overall job production time – from set-up to completion. It includes remote access to the Web-based FlexiQuote tool to remotely create customer quotes.

The Web version of FlexiQuote comes pre-loaded with a database of standard media and costs to configure pricing, while factoring in materials, labour, commissions, discounts and taxes. SAi explains the FlexiQuote wizard can give a customer quote within 30 seconds.

MyFlexi also features the MyFlexi QR and Barcode Tester to test the QR codes generated in Flexi’s QR Code Creator. MyFlexi builds on the company’s first app, SAi Cloud.
Agfa released Asanti 3.0, described as an automated production hub and workflow tool for sign and display printers, pointing to version 3.0’s new graphical user interfaces, added automation and more integration possibilities with equipment and Management Information Systems, as well as software like PrintSphere and StoreFront.

Asanti 3.0 now includes IntelliTune, which, according Agfa, automatically analyzes and improves image quality. The company explains this can include optimizing skin tones or by eliminating noise, staircasing and blurriness. Other new Asanti 3.0 features include QuickProof proofing support; an improved digital alternative for see-through graphics on clear material; and improved automation through updated parameter presets and smart image repetition.

Version 3.0 of Asanti graphical user interface (GUI) includes improved job layout and positioning visualization, as well as a new interface for tiling large jobs. Asanti’s production dashboard displays information like print jobs, the number of prints, status data of multiple engines, ink levels, elapsed time. “It is all HTML5-based and works perfectly for those in close contact with clients and financial connections,” said Erik Peeters, Marketing Manager Workflow Solutions, Agfa Graphics.

New to Asanti Color Management is a mode that allows printers to use a wizard for managing colours and shortening throughput time. The software also features new white printing options, as well as an ability to overrule spot colours with alternatives colour mapping to reproduce them.
In April 2017, Enfocus plans to launch PitStop version 2017 to help mark the 20th anniversary since the PDF-preflight software was first released. Signaling the company’s initial move to an annual PitStop release cycle, version 2017 includes what Enfocus labels as PDF Geomapper technology, which provides new ways for objects to be selected or ignored.

PDF Geomapper, for example, can be used for configuring preflight checks to check only the objects needed to render or print a PDF file. Any additional hidden or unneeded elements can be ignored or removed, which Enfocus describes as a way to reduce the complexity of files and false error messages.

Initial implementations of PDF Geomapper, specifically to help reduce the amount of false error messages, were first highlighted at the Drupa 2016 in June. Described as a first in Preflight by Enfocus, these checks could be restricted to within an irregular shape such as a cutline or structural design information. Expanding the PDF Geomapper technology, Enfocus now allows decisions to be made based not just on a single object, but also by taking into account other objects, underlying or overlapping the original.

“The new PDF Geomapper technology opens up an exciting new world of possibilities for preflight checking and correction,” stated Andrew Bailes-Collins, Senior Product Manager at Enfocus. “For example, a text segment can be preflighted based on its legibility, by checking the colour of any objects underneath it.”

The newest versions of PitStop Pro and PitStop Server include the addition of 40 Devicelink profiles based on standard ICC profiles, to help users with CMYK-CMYK colour conversions. These profiles have been made available with the support of Enfocus’ sister company X-Rite, leveraging its position as a Danaher company.

Enfocus explains the PitStop ICC profiles are  particularly useful for customers in packaging, labels and large format, in that the check for Ink Coverage has been improved to work with selected inks and ignore named separations such as ‘white’ or ‘varnish’. This results in a more accurate check, explains the company, as only the actual printing inks will be used.

PitStop Pro also includes a new Inspector interface for analyzing and editing page and transparency groups directly within the PDF file. There are also new Action Lists for customer requested functionality, such as automatically generating round cornered rectangles (for dielines) and new ways of modifying page sizes and objects within a PDF file.

A new PDF Report function is available for validating the presence and configuration of layers within a PDF file, and new checks and fixes are available within the Preflight Profile Editor.

The Adobe transparency flattener within PitStop Server has been updated to the latest version, and Mac OSX Sierra and Windows 10 anniversary update are now supported.
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