Software
EFI has introduced new version 6.2 upgrades to its Fiery software and Fiery proServer frontends for wide-format inkjet printing, including what the company describes as major improvements in processing speeds for EFI VUTEk printers.

EFI states the new Fiery software and Fiery proServer 6.2 provide average speed improvements of over 60 percent for EFI VUTEk users, compared to previous versions. The software upgrade is combined with EFI-developed FAST RIP technology.
 
New printer drivers are also available for Agfa, Canon, EFI, Epson, HP, Mimaki and OKI systems in these latest Fiery product releases, which increases the supported printers in EFI’s Fiery offering to more than 700 wide-format printer models. As well, EFI is noting new finishing enhancements that provide smoother integration for cutters as well as faster and more flexible file processing on jobs that feature cut paths.
 
“Graphics professionals need more than just a RIP to advance their businesses,” said John Henze, VP of Marketing for EFI Fiery, “and the faster processing and automated cut path extraction technologies announced today answer our customers’ need for an integrated, best-in-class workflow.”

A bidirectional job definition format (JDF) link included in these upgraded products provides information about the printer status, job status and consumables usage to EFI’s Midmarket Productivity Suite MIS workflow as well as to EFI Digital StoreFront Web-to-print software.

Electronics For Imaging (EFI) has merged Corrugated Technologies Inc., which develops software for corrugated packaging manufacturing, into its Productivity Software business unit. In recent years, CTI expanded its software range to also include business and management capabilities, aimed at sheet feeders, sheet plants, and corrugated box plants.
 
The existing EFI Enterprise Packaging Productivity Suite is aimed at the folding carton, tag and label, and flexible packaging segments, which EFI explains is now strengthened with the addition of CTI technology and expertise. “We are thrilled to add the CTI team and technologies to our growing portfolio of industry-leading software solutions for the print and packaging industry,” said Gabriel Matsliach, Senior VP and GM, EFI Productivity Software.
 
CTI will become a part of the EFI Productivity Software business unit, joining a portfolio of MIS, Web-to-Print, Value Added Products and Business Consultancy Services. Headquartered in San Diego, California, CTI brings more than three decades of global experience to EFI with operations in the United States, Latin America and Europe.

“EFI has a scale and reach that will enable existing and future customers to benefit from our technology for years to come while being exposed to new growth areas,” said Gordon Hay, President and CEO of CTI. “I look forward to being an active member of this world-class organization and to continuing to help our industry and customers advance and prosper.”
Two of the world’s most-dominant document players, Adobe and Dropbox Inc., have entered a technological partnership to integrate their applications and services on mobile devices and the desktop for faster and more seamless access to all of the content stored as PDF files. Claiming to have more than 400-million users, Dropbox is Adobe’s first file sync and share partner.

With this partnership, customers of Adobe Acrobat DC and Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is used on more than one billion mobile devices and desktop computers worldwide, can access and take common actions on over 18 billion PDF files stored in Dropbox directly from within the Adobe apps. Currently, users can add their Dropbox account in Acrobat DC or Acrobat Reader on desktop, but iOS integrations between Acrobat Reader and Dropbox will be available in the coming months, with Android and web integrations to follow in 2016.

Eventually, all Dropbox users can open, edit, and save changes to PDF documents in the Adobe apps directly from the Dropbox Website, iOS app, or Android app. The integration addresses a strong need, according to the two companies, as PDF is the most common business file type in Dropbox.

“As the inventor of PDF, Adobe brings over 20 years of experience with secure digital documents,” said Kevin Lynch, Senior VP and GM of Adobe Document Cloud. “The requirements of our customers have constantly evolved over time; today, mobile has become the rule and people expect to complete work quickly and simply wherever and whenever they need. Our work with Dropbox, as our first file sync and share partner, will help Adobe Document Cloud customers and people around the world be more productive with the documents at the centre of their daily lives.”

With the free Acrobat Reader mobile app or Acrobat DC on desktop, users can view and take additional actions on PDF files stored in their Dropbox Basic, Pro and Dropbox for Businessaccounts. Any changes are automatically saved back to Dropbox and, once completed, users can the share the updated file using a Dropbox link or shared folder.

With the Adobe apps, users can highlight, annotate or add comments to a document. Acrobat DC users can also complete a range of tasks on the PDF files, including editing text, organizing pages, or converting the documents to their original format. The new version of the file can then be shared with colleagues directly from Dropbox to collaborate further. These capabilities build on existing integration between Adobe eSign services and Dropbox, which enables users to access, track and sign PDF files stored in Dropbox.
Enterprise Print Management Solutions (EPMS), a developer of print MIS, and Montreal’s Ultimate TechnoGraphics Inc., a developer of imposition and finishing software, have reached a technology integration partnership. EPMS’ Gang Run Wizard will now be integrated with Ultimate’s AutoFlow Estimator to plan and produce gang runs, allowing users to access key information when submitting a production work order.

“Tools to plan the production gang runs have always been very expensive,” said Joanne David, President and CEO of Ultimate TechnoGraphics. “We felt that a simple, more accessible and automated tool is exactly what was needed.”

The Gang Run Wizard developed by EPMS helps a user find common jobs that can potentially run together. The software allows the user to engage definable filters like substrates, inks, finishing requirements, sizes and product type when looking for gang-run work. This module can be extended to also use Ultimate’s AutoFlow Estimator as an added option to determine the Gang Run layout for each group of jobs and lay out different scenarios for a user to make decisions about how to best produce a group of jobs.

The AutoFlow Estimator developed by Ultimate is available as standalone software that can be connected as a back engine to a MIS to supply gang run layouts for production and estimation, or as an option for Ultimate Impostrip’s customers to automatically calculate gang runs.

Enterprise Print Management System provides a range of MIS modules to printers in North America like quoting, client relationship management, accounting and JDF integrations. “EPMS is excited to interface with the Auto Flow Estimator,” says Mark Andersen, President and CTO of EPMS, “because it provides [an] easy to configure, easy to use, affordable tool to enhancement our Gang Run Wizard module by quickly and automatically calculating Gang Run Layouts that we can then use within our Scheduling, Job Tracking/Data Collecting, and Job Costing modules.”
Avanti Computer Systems of Toronto has completed CIP4 certification testing to position its Avanti Slingshot MIS platform as an officially JDF-certified product for both MIS to Prepress and Integrated Digital Printing. The company states Slingshot is now the only JDF-certified cloud-based print MIS in the market today.

Avanti Slingshot, built from the ground up as a cloud-based platform, was first launched at Print 13 in Chicago. “The guiding force behind the future direction of Avanti remains an unwavering commitment to provide the best possible service to our clients,” said Patrick Bolan, President and CEO of Avanti, which was founded in 1984. “We are driven by our desire to innovate for our customers, so that they can benefit from information in ways not even imagined.”

CIP4, which stands for the International Cooperation for the Integration of Processes in Prepress, Press, and Postpress Organization, is the not-for-profit standards association that oversees the integrations of third-party machines through the JDF protocol. Avanti’s Slingshot certification was tested by Printing Industries of America (PIA).

“JDF Product Certification allows printers to integrate software and hardware seamlessly into their existing JDF-enabled workflow,” said Dr. Mark Bohan, VP of Technology and Research at PIA. “Recognized for focusing on third-party integration and cloud technology, Avanti has completed many JDF projects, making them one of only a few leading companies in North America with real-world JDF experience.”
Software developer Aleyant has purchased San Francisco-based Keen's Web-to-print business, including its Web-to-print technology platform, Web-to-print customers and its name, logo, and brand. Current Keen Web-to-print customers will be able to transition to Aleyant's Pressero Web-to-print platform.

Keen's PrintMo marketplace service is not part of this transaction and will continue to operate as a separate service.

“We welcome Keen customers to the Aleyant family and hope to meet some of them in person during GraphExpo…," said Greg Salzman, Aleyant's President. “The Keen Web-to-print software has some interesting technology, which of course we will be exploring.”

Founded in 2010 by Vitaly Golomb, Keen Systems is venture capital-backed by 500 Startups, IDG-Accel and other investors. Like Aleyant, Keen was a former recipient of Printing Industry of America's InterTech Technology Award in 2012, being recognized for its multi-tenant Software-as-a-Service approach and its advances in user interface design.

“We’ve gotten to know Greg and his team at Aleyant over the years and more recently,” said Golomb. “I couldn't be happier to work with them in this transition. I'm confident our customers have a bright future in Aleyant's family as the industry further modernizes and evolves.”

Aleyant Pressero is a cloud-based B2B or B2C online storefront solution, which includes mobile-first design for branded sites to ensure proper display regardless of the viewing device being used. Pressero can be enhanced with the addition of Aleyant eDocBuilder, a Web-based variable data publishing system built specifically to integrate into Aleyant or third-party Web-to-print or MIS solutions.
EFI of Fremont, California, has made significant enhancements to PrintSmith Vision with the release of version 3. The browser-based MIS software is designed for small-sized printing companies, with estimating, point-of-sale, account management, production management, receivables and sales analysis tools.

The updated version of EFI PrintSmith Vision includes new mobile views in the software for users to check work-in-process, view job statuses or check arriving shipments remotely. New dashboards in the software, explains EFI, provide users with faster access to needed information, including specifics to the logged-in user, such as orders entered by that user and a list of pending estimates that can be opened from the dashboard and converted into orders.

Focusing more on mobile access, EFI explains users can view a range of customer and estimate history details using an HTML5 mobile interface. Data security is another key improvement, according to the company, with new tools to schedule automatic backups of the MIS software's database. EFI also points to PrintSmith Vision’s new flexibility in logging customer interactions, whereby users can access a new feature for logging follow ups, meeting reminders, issues and questions from a variety of windows. Logged entries are listed chronologically in the software’s dashboard.

With PrintSmith Vision, users can manage and automate their printing workflow based on integration with EFI Fiery Central and Fiery digital print servers with Command WorkStation, as well as with EFI Digital StoreFront Web-to-print software. EFI explains Digital StoreFront integration provides real-time, bidirectional status updates for immediate communication to both operators and customers.

In terms of purchase order generation, users can create and manage purchase orders for paper, charges, jobs and invoices. They can also create generic POs to track other purchased items. Version 3 of PrintSmith Vision features several email enhancements, according to EFI, including the ability to email purchase orders, integration with Microsoft Outlook Exchange Server, and HTML email templates.

The software’s digital assets window now includes a “show preview” button for previewing PDF, JPG and PNG files, saving users time in job preparation and customer service tasks. With PrintSmith Vision version 3, users can perform enhanced scheduling and job tracking with data collection in a new scheduling offering, which includes a direct link to the MIS software’s tracker module.
Avanti Computer Systems Limited of Toronto, which develops Print MIS software, unveiled details about feature enhancements that have been made to its Avanti Slingshot MIS platform, which will be released this September at Graph Expo 15.  

“It’s really our customers who were the driving force as we developed these new capabilities,” said Josh Perkins, Avanti Slingshot Product Manager. “Their input helped us make some of our best-selling modules even better, further solidifying Avanti Slingshot as a leader in Print MIS.”

One of the new Avanti Slingshot features includes Grand Format Estimating, which leverages complex algorithms to consider unique imposition/layouts (number across/number along), material requirements, edge sealing, grommet placement, ink coverage, square inch/feet calculations, and substrate utilization to optimize workflow. The company continues to explain the software feature accounts for all aspects of the process, including tiling, handling multiple rolls across the bed, ganging, as well as logistics like finishing, assembly, installation, and multi-location shipping.
 
The upcoming Slingshot release is to also include enhanced Gang Run Tools using Avanti’s rules-based Automated Press Sheet Optimizer that automatically processes ganging criteria and calculates the optimal layout for an estimate and sales order.

Avanti explains its Gang Run Tools take into account specifications of the press and substrate, as details for the gang run (plates, ink, substrate, and press calculations) are determined. Handling all of the complexities of single form/multi form, versioning and combo jobs, Avanti Slingshot calculates and displays the number up of each item on the gang sheet and then shares that information throughout the entire Avanti Slingshot system, driving production planning, scheduling and job costing.

For its upcoming Slingshot release, Avanti also points to the Automated Purchasing feature, which allows users to manage purchases to proactively control stock levels, costs and suppliers. Avanti Slingshot’s Automated Purchasing is described as providing real-time visibility into all supplier transactions and supplier performance over time, and helps maintain relevant levels of inventory by generating a rules-based purchasing plan, based on the shop’s pre-set criteria.

Leveraging Avanti’s enhanced Slingshot Touchless Workflow tools, jobs are automatically created in Slingshot’s Sales Order Module via integration into a range of Web-to-print platforms. Avanti Slingshot is also fully integrated with production systems like Xerox FreeFlow Digital Workflow Collection, Ricoh TotalFlow and HP’s SmartStream portfolio.

On Thursday, September 10, Avanti will host a Webinar featuring the latest version of Avanti Slingshot, in advance of its full unveiling at Graph Expo 15.

In addition to announcing the availability of the Pro C7100 press line earlier this month, Ricoh has introduced enhancements to ProcessDirector and InfoPrint Manager software, which fit into the company’s Critical Communications portfolio.

ProcessDirector can now integrate multi-channel capabilities, such as email and electronic presentment, while InfoPrint Manager adds Linux support. ProcessDirector users can send customers all or part of a job’s documents via email. Emailed documents can be set to dynamically pull key information into subject lines, arranging the message in the manner most useful to the reader.

With the updated software, users can set separate versions for different audiences, such as internal help desk and external customers, with different kinds of information available. The system utilizes preset AFP forms that are dynamically filled in at time of printing, so users no longer have to store preprinted forms.

Ricoh, in July, also announced the availability of the Pro C7100 press line, which was unveiled in September 2014. The four-colour Pro C7100, available in both printer/scanner and printer-only configurations, features an AC-transfer system and elastic fusing belt technology to enhance output on heavily textured media like vellum and linen, explains the company.

The press reaches speeds of up to 90 pages per minute, handling a maximum sheet size of 13 x 19.2 inches, with a monthly volume of 240,000 based on A4. Using Ricoh’s new vacuum feed LCT, the press has an option for oversized prints of up to 27.5 inches in length.

The press also features a sheet-to-sheet mechanical registration system that squares the sheet prior to imaging, adjustable from the user interface. It also holds a media library that allows users to adjust and associate different parameters per substrate to help ensure IQ and reliability. A self-contained liquid cooling system keeps the developer at a constant temperature and minimizes disruptions in extended production runs.

Esko has launched version 14.1 of its Software Suite primarily aimed at the packaging industry. The new software version is to include Software as a Service (SaaS) and subscription options, in addition to continuing perpetual software licenses.

“SaaS and Subscription models for software are becoming the de facto standard in the software industry,” said Bernard Zwaenepoel, Esko’s SVP Software Business. “Esko has worked hard to keep pace with customer needs and industry trends, and to bring more value to customers with our Suite 14.1 release. While we have been offering a subscription model for some time for certain software modules, this release broadens the scope of that effort across more Suite 14.1 modules.”

In addition to a broader availability of SaaS and subscription resources, Esko explains Suite 14.1 also includes a range of across-the-board enhancements. WebCenter upgrades include a new 2D and 3D viewer, based on the HTML5 Web standard, which also improves the WebCenter user experience on mobile devices, tablets and smartphones.

Besides connecting with Automation Engine, WebCenter now connects with other WebCenter and/or Automation Engine instances. Esko explains this is a key enabler to develop and monitor multi-site automated workflows in a global environment.

As well, DeskPack, i-cut Suite, Studio and Cape are now available in Suite 14.1 as bundles with different levels of functionality and pricing based on user needs, including Essentials and Advanced.
Xitron, an independent developer of RIP and printing workflow software, launches version 6.5 of its Xenith Sierra prepress workflow.

“Sierra 6.5 has been highly anticipated due to the addition of APPE 3.6, Adobe’s next-generation rendering engine,” said Eric Nelsen, Xitron’s VP of Product Development. “The difference in speed and interpretive accuracy, especially with live transparency, is remarkable.”

Nelsen explains version 6.5 of Sierra, by taking advantage of 64-bit processing and large addressable memory space, equates to a nearly 15 percent increase in performance over previous versions of the software.

Xitron explains the new Sierra architecture also provides the framework for driving any high-speed toner press at its full rated speed, which is designed to help coordinate workflows for companies also running offset printing equipment. “It doesn’t have to be one or the other,” said Nelsen. “Nor does the addition of a digital press mean two separate workflows. With Sierra 6.5, all jobs come through this central engine and are rendered appropriately.”

Xitron has more than 300 Xenith installations across the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Latin America. Sierra is capable of driving over 200 different output devices from Screen, Agfa, Heidelberg, FujiFilm, Presstek, Esko, and others.
Kodak launches its InSite Prepress Portal System 7 built on HTML5, which effectively removes the requirement for the JAVA platform, a third party plugin. This development results in new features for InSite 7, which integrates with Kodak Prinergy, like HTML5 system diagnostics and a redesigned HTML5-based Smart Review user interface.

InSite 7, explains Kodak, automatically tracks all prepress activities like job submissions, change requests and approvals or rejections, while also alerting customers and prepress staff of issues for correction and page updates. Kodak states the removal of the JAVA platform requirement is a significant enhancement, allowing customers to engage with a secure, streamlined platform for managing proofs with reduced technical support. The HTML5 platform also delivers a more consistent interface across a range of Web browser environments.

“We understood the challenges our customers faced with existing prepress portals and have delivered a tool that offers a more efficient and accessible experience,” said Allan Brown, General Manager, Unified Workflow Solutions, Eastman Kodak.  “The development of Kodak InSite Prepress Portal 7 provides an enhanced Smart Review experience, while the system’s integration with Prinergy workflow gives our customers the most significant competitive advantage available through workflow software today.”
Objectif Lune of Montreal introduces its revamped PReS Connect as a toolbox for the high-speed creation and production of large volume personalized business communications. The company describes this product release as the culmination of four years of research and development following its acquisition of PrintSoft.

With PReS Connect, PrintSoft states customers will receive improvements like a better Graphical User Interface, performance optimization, and more powerful multichannel communications capabilities.

Completely rebuilt, PReS Connect, according to Objectif Lune, focuses on simplifying the delivery of transactional documents through print, Web and email by bridging the gap between systems, departments and hardware.

New features of the PReS Connect include:

High-volume output of up to 30,000 pages per minute;
Ability to receive data and print jobs in any format (PDF, PostScript, PSL, AFP, XML, etc.);
Mapping of data from any source into a unified data model;
Scalable performance with performance pack options;
Simplified wizards;
Automated processes designer with GUI;
Commingling;
Clustering; and
Multichannel distribution (HTML, PDF, PCL, Postscript, AFP, IPDS, Text message, Fax, email).

Kodak has officially launched its Prinergy Workflow 7 software system, with several new features, for automating the printing process. The company explains its new version focuses on automating core workflow functions like job creation, collaboration, file processing, trapping, proofing, imposition and colour management.

One of the new features allows for callas Preflight Profile Integration. Preflight+ allows the integration of callas preflight profiles for improved quality control and reduced manual touch points.

“Our goal has always been to develop technology that is reliable, innovative and flexible, all key requirements for automation,” said Dietrich von Seggern, Business Development Manager, callas software. “We believe that the combination of a versatile client server system, Prinergy Workflow and our pdfToolbox technology will be the right answer for many customers.”

Prinergy 7 also includes what the company describes as layered PDF versioning enhancements, which provide improved error detection and better control over multiple layers of files.

In terms of digital printing enhancements, Prinergy 7 allows for centralized control over digital and conventional presses and equipment to handle the production of all job sizes through Kodak and third-party digital presses and computer-to-plate devices. These new capabilities make it possible for Prinergy 7 to control job ticketing parameters both manually and through Rules Based Automation (RBA) of multiple devices, while monitoring and reporting the status of each alongside CTP devices and proofers.

“Workflow software is a driver of efficiency and productivity and Prinergy Workflow 7 takes those to new heights and enables our customers to better compete in a challenging marketplace,” said Jeff Clarke, CEO, Eastman Kodak Company.
Quark Software Inc. today officially launched the newest major release of its graphic design and page layout software, QuarkXPress 2015. The company provided more details about the features of the software, which includes new 64-bit architecture, industry-verified PDF/X-4 output, fixed layout interactive (app-like) eBook production, among other user-requested features.

Quark surveyed thousands of QuarkXPress users around the world to discover which features would be most valuable to include in QuarkXPress 2015. The company is also highlighting the fact that QuarkXPress is still being sold as a perpetual license, which means users make a single purchase and are not locked into an ongoing subscription.

With its new 64-bit Architecture, QuarkXPress 2015 can now use all the RAM available on a user’s computer to deliver performance improvements across the board from file handling and layout rendering to PDF export. Quark has also added multi-threading to the QuarkXPress text engine to further increase performance.

By using this latest standard for PDF/X-4 Output, users can maintain transparency to enable smaller files, faster output and higher quality print output. The exported PDF/X-4 files are certified by the same technology used inside Adobe Acrobat.

Increased automation in QuarkXPress 2015 includes: automatic footnotes and endnotes; a new, faster table tool for Excel integration with table styles; text variables for automatically populating reoccurring fields like as running headers.

QuarkXPress 2015 combines reflowable eBooks (ePub) with interactive apps for a new digital output format. The company explains users can create HTML5 fixed layout eBooks (using (ePub3 or Amazon’s KF8 formats) without any additional software or costs.

Additional features found in QuarkXPress 2015, include: Orthogonal Line Tool, Custom Page Sizes, Relink Any Picture in the Usage Dialog, User-definable Shortcut Keys (Mac only), Collect for Output and Usage for Complete Project, Table Styles, Format Painter, Drag Installer for fast and easy activation (Mac only), Yosemite OS X Support, Tool Palette, Measurement Palette, and Palette Group docking on Windows, and Open PDF after Export.

QuarkXPress 2015 is available as a free test drive, which includes a free design template to help users get started. In addition, Quark is currently allowing for upgrades from versions of QuarkXPress dating back to the 1990s (versions 3 – 10). QuarkXPress also offers dual activation, meaning it can be installed on up to two machines and across Mac and Windows platforms.

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