Software
Chicago-based BLUE Software, developers of the BLUE-branded Brand Lifecycle Management software-as-a-service, has purchased Eastman Kodak’s Design2Launch software and services business, which develops Brand Graphics Management technology.

BLUE Software explains the addition of Design2Launch (D2L) global brand customers solidifies its leading position in pharmaceutical, consumer products, retail and industrial chemical sectors. The company claims its SaaS platform is employed by more than 81,000 users and 3,100 companies worldwide.

In January 2016, BLUE Software purchased Viki Solutions of Victoria, British Columbia, which develops online proofing and real-time collaboration software. Afshin Mirmotahari, former CEO of Viki Solutions, became Chief Technology Officer of BLUE Software.

BLUE Software plans to integrate D2L with its existing operations acquiring all technology, IP, customer contracts and employees. “We are very pleased to welcome the Design2Launch team, customers and partners to BLUE,” said Stephen Kaufman, Chief Product Officer at BLUE Software. “D2L has been an influential force in the workflow space for many years.” Kaufman adds the company now has eight of the top 10 global pharmaceutical companies as BLUE customers.
Tilia Labs of Ottawa, Ont., has launched Phoenix 5.1 with new features to automate a wider range of ganging and imposition work. The software will be on display at Tilia Labs' booth during drupa 2016, beginning May 29 in Germnay.

Phoenix 5.1’s Plan tool can now split product orders across layouts. When this ganging profile option is enabled, explains Tilia Labs, Plan will try potentially hundreds of thousands of different ways to break products up across layouts to drive down costs, press times and waste.

Tilia Labs continues to explain this multi-layout ganging Plan tool has been redesigned to produce better results in less time. For double-sided work, Plan makes decisions to optimize layouts for front and back printing, using the capabilities of the press to determine the best way to combine product orders on a sheet.

The company also points to its new Smart Place Tool, which allows users to instantly find and nest additional products into any region of the sheet. The tool works by drawing an area in the artboard where the user would like to try ganging more products. A list of candidates will appear with placement previews. The tool ensures die positions meet press and product spacing requirements.

Die line handling has been enhanced to support importing from and exporting to most any CAD system or cutting device, explains Tilia Labs. There are now 26 built-in die line types, as well as custom line types to support any line type.

Tilia Labs explains users can set up die line mappings once and Phoenix will automatically match die paths to line types during import. There is no need to specify technical inks, layers, or CAD line types at import time when creating products manually, through automation, or CSV import. New export line type mappings gives users control over die layout export for CFF2, PDF, and PS.

Phoenix 5.1 also introduces a new status system designed to detect potential problems in production during job editing. Several common problems are currently detected and reported in real-time in the new Status panel and in the left corner of the status bar and again at export. Examples include: Dies extending beyond content or image margins of a layout, incompatible stock or sheet sizes for the current press, total ink count exceeding press limits, empty or invalid dynamic barcodes, or unfulfilled orders in the job.

With Phoenix 5.1, filtering and sorting products is now possible in the Products panel to help pinpoint the set of products in the job to be worked on. There are seven filtering options and 14 sorting options to choose from. For example, users can view all unfulfilled orders sorted by their ordered amounts, product name, size, and more.

A new Move Tool is available for positioning of items, allowing users to snap to any internal die lines and define new relative positions. For example, users can select crease lines of adjacent products to align carton flaps horizontally or vertically. PDF rendering is also now faster in Phoenix 5.1 with multithreading optimizations.
Software developer Objectif Lune of Montreal joins the Microsoft Partners community by becoming a Certified Microsoft partner.

The company has been developing software compatible with Microsoft technology for several years, but Objectif Lune explains the certification demonstrates an increased level of commitment and competence with the technology platform. Objectif Lune’s technology focuses on bridging the gap between systems that create personalized, multichannel and automated customer communications.
 
Objectif Lune was founded in 1993 and employs 245 people in 24 sales offices around the world. The company states it has developed partnerships with more than 1,900 resellers.

Agfa Graphics has launched its newest version, 9.1, of its Apogee Prepress workflow. Apogee Prepress v9.1 with more support for wide-format printing, as well as what the Belgian company describes as improved imposition layout creation and stronger print buyer interaction in Apogee WebApproval.

“Apogee Prepress is the only hybrid prepress production solution that drives wide-format and digital commercial presses, in addition to CTP, CTF and proofing devices,” said Andy Grant, Global Head of Software, Agfa Graphics.

Apogee Prepress v9.1 is designed to automate the production for wide-format output with hot ticket support and template-based production. Agfa explains the new version also features enhanced job merging, which allows for the combination of completely different orders on the same print job, ultimately to reduce material costs and waste.

For web presses, Apogee Impose, which is a built-in Apogee function, now features automatic bleed generation and better support for perfector presses based on full support for slow down rollers, which Agfa describes as unique.

In terms of proofing, Apogee Prepress v9.1 features improvements like support for on-the-fly page proofing and support for ISO12647/2:2013 and ISO 13655 standards. Apogee WebApproval gives print buyers access to soft proofs via their Web browser, allowing them to drag and drop new PDF pages to a specific job and to then assign them to the correct page slots.
Software developer Global Graphics introduced its new Harlequin Multi-Level Digital Screening Engine, designed for single-pass inkjet presses to achieve significantly better print quality.  

The Harlequin Multi-Level Digital Screening Engine (HMDSE), explains Global Graphics, varies the amount of ink delivered from the inkjet head in any one location on any type of media to overcome common problems such as streaking and mottling that are frustrating many press manufacturers.

HMDSE is part of a new service Global Graphics will introduce to inkjet developers at drupa, that sees technicians measure test prints from single-pass greyscale presses, and process the results through Global Graphics' new Digital Print Quality Optimizer tool. This calculates optimized patterning and overlaps for the various ink drop sizes available, to overcome common high-speed inkjet press problems such as streaking and mottling.

The Digital Print Quality Optimizer calculates the optimum drop sizes and screen pattern for particular combinations of press, greyscale/multi-level print heads, and substrate. The Digital Print Quality Optimizer allows the Harlequin Multi-Level Digital Screen to be fine-tuned for particular press/substrate combinations, with particular regard to controlling the overlap between different drop sizes as they are used to build up tones from light to dark.
HP Inc., previewing its plans for drupa 2016, unveiled its new HP PrintOS technology as a cloud-based operating system to manage print production.

HP explains PrintOS is an open, secure and integrated platform aimed at printers of all segments and sizes for use with HP Indigo, PageWide Web Press, Scitex and Latex printing technologies.

HP Indigo and PageWide Web Press customers can begin using PrintOS on May 31, 2016, after it debuts at drupa 2016 in Germany.  Many apps will be available without charge to existing customers with a service contract, while certain apps will be subject to monthly subscription and usage charges.

For the first time in drupa history, the HP Graphics Solutions Business is hosting the tradeshow’s largest exhibit in hall 17. On its exhibition space, HP plans to display its newest technologies for general commercial printing, in addition to new hardware and solutions for labels and packaging, large-format and sign and display application areas.
 
“HP is bringing the full power of our vast portfolio of digital printing solutions to drupa 2016, featuring breakthrough innovations,” said Rob Le Bras-Brown, global head of print marketing, HP Inc. “With today’s introduction of HP PrintOS and more ground-breaking pre-drupa announcements to come, HP is following through on our promise to keep reinventing with advancements across application segments that truly enable our customers to reinvent their possibilities.”

PrintOS features what HP describes as a suite of Web-based and mobile applications with cloud connectivity for customers to monitor print status remotely as well as track and improve production performance over time.

PrintOS applications include Box, a tool simplifying job onboarding through non-automated channels like email and file transfer services. Box is designed to reduce upfront overhead, increasing capacity and improving profitability.

The Site Flow application combines automated order submission, pre-press and shop floor management capabilities to, according to HP, fulfill hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of individual, personalized print orders every day, including direct shipment to end customers.

Global Vision of Montreal, which develops proofreading technologies, has released its Web-based, all-in-one suite called Proofware 2.0, which provides tools focused on delivering accuracy and traceability for Quality Control, ultimately reducing artwork rework cycles and cost.

The new features of Proofware 2.0 include a redesigned user interface, with new keyboard shortcuts and multi-monitor support. New cropping features provide an ability to crop multiple pages of all sizes, resize the crop area, and auto crop to the artwork area, while new verification features, specifically, Braille and barcode verification, is now integrated into Global Vision’s ArtProof and DocuProof applications. Proofware 2.0 also includes new Adobe Illustrator support features, specifically AI file support, allowing users to open Adobe Illustrator files directly (.ai files).

Version 2.0 of Proofware also includes more complex layout handling, such as automatic processing of QRD templates for fast comparison to artwork. A new annotation checklist allows for quick review of changes and call-outs to insure all the right corrections are made.

“Protecting our clients from errors is at the core of everything we do, and one way that we uphold this commitment is by constantly advancing and enhancing our solutions based on our partners’ changing needs,” said Reuben Malz, President of Global Vision. “With the enhanced feature set of Proofware 2.0, we are again bringing Quality Control inspection technologies to all new levels.”

Global Vision states its technologies have been integrated into the packaging workflows of consumer packaged goods companies, printing firms and over 72 percent of the major pharmaceutical industry worldwide.
Xitron, an Ann Arbor, Michigan, developer of RIP and workflow products, has released Navigator Northstar (sold through its worldwide dealer network) aimed at inkjet systems using Memjet Northstar print heads.

Navigator Northstar, according to Xitron, improves the colour accuracy of Astrojet M1/M2 printers as well as the Colordyne 1600 (C & S), RTI-Digital Vortex 850/851, Trojan One, and Formax Colormax (among others), all of which use the Memjet Northstar inkjet head.

“Digital printing doesn’t have to equate to a lack of colour control,” said Jeffrey Piestrak, Product Manager, Xitron. “The colour adjustment tools built into this workflow make it extremely easy to match a job’s spot colours without impacting the rest of the document.”

Designed for the desktop envelope, flyer, and label market, Navigator Northstar includes Navigator RIP version 10.1r2, Navigator Color Matching Workflow, and the Northstar connectivity plug-in developed by Xitron. The system is multi-platform compatible. Piestrak added, “By combining the power of the Navigator Harlequin RIP with Xitron’s colour transform technology, what you see is what you print, consistently.”
Viki Solutions of Victoria, British Columbia, has been purchased by Chicago’s BLUE Software, which develops BLUE-branded software-as-a-service technologies for Brand Lifecycle Management, primarily used within packaging sectors. Viki Solutions develops online proofing and real-time collaboration software.

BLUE Software explains the acquisition ties in well with its existing software and opens its products up to more premedia and creative agencies, DAM providers, digital and print publications. Afshin Mirmotahari, former CEO of Viki Solutions, becomes Chief Technology Officer of BLUE Software. The Chicago company currently focuses on consumer products, retail and pharmaceutical industries, stating its SaaS platform is employed by more than 81,000 users and 3,100 companies worldwide.

“We are thrilled to welcome Afshin Mirmotahari and the entire Viki team to BLUE,” said Scott Strong, CEO of BLUE Software. “For more than five years we have worked strategically with Viki Solutions as the industry leader in online proofing and real-time visual collaboration. Since our initial engagement with Viki, our clients have been impressed with how technically advanced their solution is at providing the ability to proof and manage large and complex files.”
 
BLUE Online Proofing module users currently employ Viki Solutions tools to collaborate in real-time on a range of file formats, including document, image, audio, video and 3D – with content accuracy, markup and approval tools, revision comparison and advanced proofing features.
 
The acquisition will add capabilities in the coming months to BLUE including extensions for BLUE’s automated task routing through integration with third party solutions; a colour-matching module that can be added for colour-accurate online proofing; responsive design with touch support for tablets, touch displays and hybrid devices.
 
“I have been in the workflow business for the past 20 years, and I can tell you with absolute certainty that you can count the true experts in the field of collaboration and print-accurate preview on one hand,” said Stephen Kaufman, who moves into a new Chief Product Officer role at BLUE Software. “Afshin is on that hand and his team embodies his passion for excellence and his deep domain expertise. From the time we first integrated their core product all the way through co-developing advanced API-driven automations, the Viki management, development and support teams have always been highly responsive to our needs.”
Software developer Tilia Labs Inc. of Ottawa, Ont., has introduced the new Phoenix Plan Configurator for Enfocus Switch, which the two companies describe as a kick-off to a new integration partnership, aimed at printers active in offset, toner, and large-format markets.

Phoenix Plan Configurator, designed to find savings in both materials and time, works by collecting individual orders coming in to Enfocus Switch, along with their associated metadata information like quantities, stock, grain and spacing.

The files are then sent to Phoenix, which goes to work searching what Tilia Labs describes as millions of combinations, across available presses and stocks, to find the most cost effective ganged layouts. Once planning has finished, the cheapest cost results are returned to Switch in several different output formats such as imposed PDF, JDF, PDF, XML-based reports, or Phoenix jobs.

"The primary drivers we often encounter with print service providers are the need for speed and lower material costs," says Sagen de Jonge, CEO and Co-Founder of Tilia Labs, developer of Phoenix, who points to how waste reduction is a major benefit of improved turnaround times. “Reducing waste involves complex ganging calculations which can be very time consuming,” he says. “Phoenix tackles this problem head on using a cost-driven, automated approach, and we are particularly excited about the opportunities for cost savings in the increasingly competitive large format segment.”

Enfocus' Director Product Management Bjorn Willems says that large format clients already using Switch technology have been asking for help in scripting imposition algorithms to work with Switch. “The advent of Switch 13 and the Phoenix Configurator for Switch allowed us to put what we believe is an incredibly fast and precise imposition and planning technology,” Willems says.
callas software, which develops automated PDF quality control and archival solutions, released a version 1.1 update for its pdfChip product line. pdfChip converts HTML into standards-compliant PDF documents. callas explains the pdfChip 1.1 update adds features that were identified in projects customers realized with pdfChip, especially when it was used to create long, dynamic documents.

The updated pdfChip 1.1 allows users to control the maximum number of pages in the generated PDF file. That makes it possible, for example, to create single page PDF files in a single operation instead of one PDF file with many pages. Since the destination PDF can now be defined in the Javascript code it is possible to start a new PDF whenever needed.

During development it can be critical to understand, explains callas, what errors occur and how to adjust the HTML template. In pdfChip 1.1 error reporting, specifically for Javascript and when placing bar codes, has been improved in order to make it easier to develop complex PDF publishing applications.

pdfChip 1.1 also allows for passing command-line variables straight to the HTML template, where Javascript can pick it up and use it to shape the resulting PDF file. callas explains the ability to pass this kind of small information to an HTML template adds more flexibility to PDF publishing; compared to what was already possible with the highly dynamic HTML/Javascript architecture.

In pdfChip 1.1, callas implemented the new concept of a “list collector” for long documents that need to include lists of references such as a list of figures, tables or simply a table of contents. This new feature allows content to be marked using CSS and stores information about this content in a JSON (Javascript data) file. This information can then be used to automatically create a table of content with page numbers for the generated PDF document for example.

pdfChip 1.1 also adds support for the Device-N colour space, which is essential for content where a number of different spot colours or a combination of CMYK and spot colours are used for page objects like images or vector graphics.

callas also explains in pdfChip 1.1 placing of PDF files has been improved. pdfChip provides information about PDF files that are placed in the HTML template, such as their trimbox or bleedbox. This information can then be used in Javascript to modify the placement.

The various flavours of pdfChip include S (€ 5,000), pdfChip M (€10,000), pdfChip L (€15 0000) and pdfChip XL/Enterprise (€ 25 000). pdfChip 1.1 is a free update for customers using pdfChip 1.0.
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.”

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