Esko Automation Engine 12
Prepress workflow automation
Automation Engine sets a new standard for prepress workflow automation. It is a new modular workflow server with dynamic workflows that are easy to set up and operate.
Automation Engine ensures increased efficiency and throughput and saves time and money. It is, by all standards, an exceptional answer to the daily challenges of print professionals who need to increase quality, reduce errors and drive cost out of the process.
At the heart of your prepress
Using database driven job management, Automation Engine serves as the heart of any size prepress production operation.
Through Mac or PC based clients, with a transparent user interface, operators, Customer Service Representatives or administration departments can easily interact with the workflow, and with its extensive conditional automation capabilities.
Away with errors
Automation Engine takes the errors out of the process by allowing users to preset repetitive tasks and make automated decisions within the workflow. When operator interaction is required to ensure quality, the comprehensive checkpoint in the workflow allows for easy access. In addition, interfaces between order administrative systems (MIS or ERP) and prepress production further reduce the manual interaction.
Automation Engine integrates seamlessly with any existing infrastructure, accepting a wide range of desktop publishing formats, supporting RIPs or file servers and all industry standards such as PDF, XML, XMP, SQL queries and JDF/JMF communication. From an entry-level version to more elaborate setups, Automation Engine is guaranteed to deliver a fast and unmatched return on investment.
Reporting/integration with structural data
Report cards are based on a predefined template that customizes the report card for a specific job, using its attributes, customer information, and details that can be extracted from the database. Even metadata like ink coverage and barcode specifications can be added. 3D PDF files can be generated from the structural data associated with the job. Combined with the graphical data, it gives a 3D view of how the actual job will look like. As in this example the 3D view can even be integrated in the report card.
Quality assurance in the workflow
Operators, Customer Services Representatives or admin staff are able to detect errors early in the workflow, which increases overall quality and reduces costs.
The Viewer handles all common prepress formats, images and RIP data. Check separations, trim and media sizes, compare differences between design files and production files, or check if all corrections have been applied. Compare between the production file and RIPped data. Automated compare tools are available in the workflow for comparison of larger batches of files.
Depending on the number of clients interacting with the system, and the required productivity, Automation Engine comes in different flavors. When additional capacity is required, additional systems can be added to distribute the load, or to serve as failsafe mechanism in case of hardware failure.
The software is equally modular. This allows you to select from a group of functional modules. This way the optimal production system can be configured with the option to add extra functionality later on.
Extensive prepress workflow integration
Automation Engine features new workflow editing and monitoring capabilities. These come with highly visual feedback through the user interface.
Throughput and efficiency is increased by means of the conditional automation tools. These tools reduce operator intervention, hand-offs and allow for automated decisions and routing in the workflow.
Efficient client application tools
The Pilot is the primary client tool, that runs on Mac and PC, and offers an easy and intuitive interface for any operator or administrator that needs complete access to the system.
Shuttle is a new client that offers an easy user interface for operators that require limited interaction with the workflow. It is available as a module for any of the interactive editing applications (ArtPro, DeskPack, PackEdge, FastImpose,…). Shuttle allows you to launch a workflow straight from the editing application. Shuttle greatly simplifies overall operation and reduces the number of required workflows.
Job organization and data management
A job in Automation Engine represents a production order that organizes the data storage for the job but also the job’s metadata, its link to order ID, due date, customer info, Customer Service Representative contacts…
Besides these administration attributes, a job can also contain the graphical specifications like barcode, inks, RIP options… This job information can be used in any workflow to take advantage of all the data that is already there, avoiding double entries.
Linking with external systems (MIS,ERP)
Automation Engine is able to obtain information from external systems through SQL queries, XML or XMP data… This data populates job information and workflow parameters, using values that already exist. Examples include step & repeat data, barcodes, colors to be used, etc.
All job information, is kept in an internal database, which can be archived for future use. The history of prepress actions in these archives can be used for relaunching jobs or for statistics purposes. Order administration systems can be linked through an MIS integration project.
Information and data are centralized, which reduces operator intervention. Savings are achieved by measuring and billing consumables, proofs and plates.
MIS integration also allows for automated step-and-repeat or imposition. Milestones can be communicated to the business system to report on the status of prepress jobs: “data arrived”, “approved”, “plates ready”…
Reduce the administrative overhead, especially in environments where job runs are becoming shorter, but job overhead stays the same, like in digital print.
Imposition and Step-and-Repeat
The advanced job management available for “page production” environments offers a comprehensive overview of the entire prepress department in relation to pages, proofs, sheets and plates status. This gives better control and easier job flow management.
For step-and-repeat several tasks are available to automate the process, depending on the type of repetition that is required. Data can be acquired from an external database or MIS system to further streamline and automate the overall job processing.
Automation Engine Modules
Automation Engine is a modular solution. It comes as a complete and feature-rich system, but it can be scaled with extra optional modules:
The Job Management Module is an optional module for Automation Engine, offering job organization and data management with a database controlled job information setup. Features: Jobs folder organization, job setup, milestones, Products Tool and more.
Viewing & QA
The Viewing & QA Module is an optional module offering extensive quality control tools in the Viewer, including compare functionality and the ability to view bitmap data. Additionally this module contains the automated comparing functionality. Features: Viewer, Compare, bitmap viewing.
Reporting & 3D
The Reporting & 3D Module is an optional Automation Engine module, which offers reporting capabilities, including the integration with the structural data through 3D file export. Featuring ReportMaker, 3D PDF export and more.
The Processor Module is an optional module which offers extensive content processing capabilities, both on the native ArtPro format as on the native PDF data.
The Layout Module is an optional module for the Automation Engine, that offers all layout related functionality, both for labels and packaging applications, as well as for commercial print environments. Automation Engine features automated imposition and step-and-repeat.
Tasks: Imposition (excl. FastImpose), Step and Repeat.