Esko Odystar workflow automation software. Print

This is a workflow organization software. Print shop managers know that producing a final print product requires more than just printing. Steps like document preparation, color correction, RIPing, nesting, media pretreatment, printing, laminating, cutting, etc., make the workflow every time more complex.

Odystar is a software that automates many of the steps of the workflow accelerating the production time. This software is capable of making decisions based on the file's metadata, and route the file to a specific printer according to the file characteristics, like media type, media size, ink type, etc.

FLAAR is offering personalized consulting at each trade show. You can walk-the-floor with the Senior Editor of FLAAR and get his comments on any and all printers, inks, RIP software, color management, substrates, applications, etc.

So if you wish to learn about the difference between combo, hybrid, and dedicated UV printers, how latex ink compares, about textile printers, etc. contact FLAAR to obtain consulting.

You can also get consulting before ISA or FESPA anywhere in the world: Dubai, India, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, China, Korea, London and more.

Odystar can be customized by the end-user. All the control Odystar gives you over the workflow makes it easier to understand the final quotation.

The disadvantage however, is that this software seems to run only on Mac platforms, leaving aside those businesses that are PC-based. This selectiveness of platforms however, seems not to be a characteristic only of Esko software. Caldera's Flow+, another workflow software, runs only in Linux.

On the subject of Flow+, the advantage of Esko Odystar is that the latter displays the workflow steps graphically, making it much more understandably and traceable.

Esko Odystar Software: The building of a workflow in the real world interview with Robert Farfort, CEO of Data Image (DI), a sign shop in London

Data Image is a thriving print business a few kilometers away from downtown London .

About 17 years ago Data Image (DI) bought its first inkjet printer. By that time, the notion of color management did not exist the way it is known today. With its first inkjet printer and its first RIP there was no way of knowing whether they were getting the right color, especially because the sign shop did not have a method to compare colors. As Data Image began acquiring their first printers, the team came to realize that each printer and each RIP interpreted colors in a different way.

With all those colors coming out differently, the sign shop needed to know what the colors should look like. They were looking for a cromalin system, so they bought an Epson 9600 that they started to operate with GMG RIP. This was mainly to color proof.

Another aspect that needed to be improved was the reliability of the files being fed to the printers, because every five minutes they had a file here or there that had not been processed adequately, (for example to obtain repeatability of colors in different pieces of a print job) or sometimes it took the RIPs up to three hours to process an image. So the team gradually began to implement a simple workflow that consisted in feeding postscript files and then distilling them in PDF format. Once done that they could preflight-check the files using Enfocus PitStop Server (now Esko Neo ). With these steps, DI started to see a massive improvement in the whole printing process.

DI began to work closer with ColorGate: the sign shop wanted to unify the RIP in the sign shop. So ColorGate arranged to customize a product for the needs of Data Image, under the agreement that the sign shop could be used as a reference business for ColorGate potential clients. The use of one RIP gave consistency throughout the building. Now the workflow included processing the images with one RIP, and GMG RIP was used as a final proof step.

The next step was the implementation of Automate, but ID felt this software was missing a few things in terms of user interaction. This is one of the aspects improved under Esko, which version is called Odystar. At this point, the workflow was getting more complex and sophisticated. Odystar did not block this path toward complexity but rather stimulated the growth of Data Image by accelerating all these complex steps.

For DI, using Odystar meant more capacity of production, minimization of errors in the printer output and the time saved in getting the print job done.

 

First posted January 2010.