By Melissa Donovan
The March issue of Digital Output provides commentary from multiple vendors on the benefits of integrating an automated workflow into a print shop. Productivity and efficiency gains are some of the more prominent reasons. The net result is that an automated shop allows employees and the management to refocus their energies elsewhere—how to grow the business.
Here, vendors discuss the newest versions of their end-to-end and single workflow solutions. Specifically, any new features that set them apart and how they serve the wide format print service provider.
Agfa Graphics’ Asanti features Adobe PDF APPE 3.0 RIP technology, providing a single, PDF-based workflow. It integrates with Asanti StoreFront Web to print (W2P) and connects to cutting and finishing equipment. An automatic price calculation feature is based on media type and size and finishing requirements, such as grommets or lamination. It also offers easy-to-use color management.
Aleyant Systems, LLC offers the W2P Pressero B2C and B2B storefront system. Using Aleyant’s automated Workflow Integrator prepress software or the Pressero API for XML Web Services, the online orders and files are automatically flowed into a variety of third-party MIS, accounting, preflighting, color management, imposition, and production workflow management systems.
Avanti Systems presents Advanced JDF Framework in Avanti Slingshot, which makes it easier for PSPs to integrate different applications and equipment to grow their business.
Caldera recently launched Caldera Nexio, which connects the Caldera RIP and other third-party software using standard JDF/JMF protocols. From ERP and accounting programs to Web-based applications, Nexio connects the dots to save time and money throughout print production.
Cloud 7 Systems Inc.’s PrintMatics is tailored to the needs of all different customers. It can be used in the cloud or as an on-premise, self-contained installation. Practical management dashboards provide information in a feature-rich, easy-to-use interface.
Cyrious Software Control, version 5.5, now includes document management. The feature helps manage files through the entire workflow process and makes it easy to find artwork, permits, RFQs, bills, and other documents throughout the business. The files are accessible by any user of Control and can be saved directly at the customer, estimate, and order level.
Esko’s i-cut Suite is a collection of software with different modules to streamline all facets of a workflow. Tied to the Automation Engine module, i-cut Suite allows a print provider to automate prepress production. Preflighting PDF files, preparing graphics, creating layouts, and finishing in perfect register is all done automatically by the server.
EstiMate Software Corp. focuses on pricing, with a core strength on accurate estimation of the time a job will take. EstiMate tracks a job through production with job status flags.
Estimator Corp.’s newest module is IQ-Plus, which allows almost anyone in a company to do an accurate estimate with basic knowledge and without errors. The company’s wide format program is now available as a complete solution to incorporate the printing of web, digital, flexographic, screen, business forms, and labels.
GMG’s portfolio offers solutions that incorporate file preparation, prepress processing, RIPping, color management, and the ability to drive large format printers. Each product is JDF compliant and XML compatible, so they can be driven through a customer relationship management or enterprise resource management (ERP) system, which then automates from order entry to processing and fulfillment.
Keen Systems, Inc.’s print ecommerce Software as a Service (SaaS) is specifically designed to handle most printing types, including an emphasis on wide format. The focus remains on all of the aspects of customer to PSP communication.
OnPrintShop recently announced the latest version of its W2P solution, Version 4.4. Enhancements were made to order management, print personalization, and customer experience. The W2P solution integrates with existing CRM, accounting systems, MIS, third-party APIs, and add-on modules such as Workflow Automation and Book Module.
ONYX Graphics, Inc. Thrive workflow software is available in four different configurations to address the needs of all-size PSPs. It can be configured in multiple ways, by adding modules for printers, ERP integration, or JDF control at time of installation or any time after. ONYX Thrive is a true end-to-end PDF workflow based on Adobe PDF Print Engine technology, allowing for rasterizing of complex graphic designs including transparency layers, mixed color spaces, and spot color handling.
Pixta, Inc.’s PixtaFlow is a cloud-based solution targeted to wide format. Features such as eJob Board allow employees to view production in real time and Device Overview shows the production priority of jobs as related to a shop’s devices. The newest feature, Visual Nesting, visually shows how media will be nested on stock to save time.
PressWise by SmartSoft Inc. is a complete end-to-end, cloud-based W2P, MIS, and workflow automation system. The company provides APIs to ensure PressWise is easily integrated with other third-party products. It is offered on a monthly basis and since it is offered in the cloud updates, and enhancements are easily rolled out to customers.
Printer’s Plan by SoftUSE, Inc. offers its Scheduler and TimeTracker solutions, which are easy to use, flexible, practical, and able to handle all aspects of production.
RedTie Inc. recently added a new product, RTT+, which is a price calculator finding a lot of use throughout the wide format market. Its W2P solution, RTT also boasts a new feature that allows printers to control the size of the files that they are willing to accept from customers.
SA International recently announced Flexi 11, the latest version with Cloud.
ShopWorks OnSite 8.2 is an end-to-end workflow solution that not only handles wide format, but promotional products, trophies, and embellished apparel. It is scalable to work with a one-man shop to a business selling $50 million per year. Features not typically found in other solutions include art and design management, online customer proofing, touch screen interfaces for the production floor, and a size matrix.
Tucanna Software and Development tFLOW is a front-end workflow that handles file delivery, customer service, online approvals, artwork management, preflighting and file fixing, and automation of prepress tasks. It adds capability to other systems such as a RIP or W2P, eliminating the need for a printer to change existing hardware/software. Both SaaS and license options are available.
Mar2015, Digital Output DOMarch15Workflow