Right on the heels of a successful drupa, Esko brought its innovations to its North American customers during the EskoWorld 2016 user conference, held June 21-23 at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate, Florida. The event, adopting the drupa theme of ‘Packaging Simplified’ was visited by more than 600 people, of which 425 were users of the Esko solutions representing leading brands, designers, prepress and trade shops, and converters–and nearly 175 were first-time attendees. Over 75 educational sessions covered flexo plate making, digital cutting and creasing, packaging prepress, structural design, 3D visualization and brand management. The agenda was designed to enhance users’ knowledge about the Esko solutions they currently operate, and to expand their understanding about the industry’s latest trends.
‘Packaging Simplified’ brought to EskoWorld
Opening remarks to the audience from Udo Panenka, Esko President focused on the challenges those in the packaging supply chain may face—for example, faster time to market, a need for improved operational efficiencies, global production, and changing brand requirements, among many, many others. “This year, we made a very concerted effort to bring the innovations introduced at drupa in Düsseldorf to our US user-base. But not just that. We also demonstrated that our solutions work integrate very well with solutions from other Danaher partners, such as X-Rite Pantone and subsidiaries Enfocus and MediaBeacon,” explains Panenka. “Together, our solutions bring synergetic value that cannot be found with any other player in the industry. We are sure that attendees returned to their offices with lots of ideas of how to optimize their processes.”
A full agenda of Esko innovations
The EskoWorld agenda mirrored much of the six Inspiration Zones that drupa visitors walked through as steps of a typical packaging production workflow. They included: Brands, Specification & Briefing; Design; Artwork & Repro; Flexo Platemaking; Printing & Ink Management; and Finishing.
There was a flexo plate-making demo room, which included the brand-new integrated flexo imaging and exposing solution, the CDI CRYSTAL 5080 XPS. The room dedicated to Kongsberg digital cutting solutions demonstrated a tangible throughput increase by integrating cutting tables with workflow software for production control. The Software Interaction room introduced visitors to the Esko Software Platform, the 2016 release of the well-known portfolio of integrated software solutions for design, prepress, workflow automation, color management and supply chain collaboration.
EskoWorld highlighted innovative and popular production methods for designers, brands and converters. For example, they included:
• Adding asset management capabilities with MediaBeacon
• Designing complex 3D displays based on a new library of structural templates
• Production planning and faster job setup on the Kongsberg table with Device Manager
• Integrated main and back exposure on the CDI Crystal driving flexo print to a new quality standard
• Efficient native PDF editing with the simplified user interface of ArtPro+
• Equinox tools and services for a seamless implementation of extended gamut printing
• Integrated quality control with partner Global Vision, Enfocus Pitstop packaging preflight and X-Rite Pantone color QC technology
• Content management in WebCenter and the power of enterprise search
All along, an interactive Store Visualizer display was continuously running in the hallway, demonstrating a complete virtual mall with tens of thousands of virtual products.
In addition to the presentation and training sessions, attendees could book a one-on-one meeting with Esko product managers, inquire about the latest product releases from business partners, visit open labs to speak with solution experts, and interact with peers within the industry.
“This was my first EskoWorld. I really liked the classes, particularly those that taught us how to use XML. I’m going to use it to make our software work even smarter—although I have already put what I learned about CAD to good use,” remarks Ben Butzen, Prepress Tech Lead, Castle Pierce. “I enjoyed networking with other people who are doing the same things I’m doing. And, I met a lot of Esko team members whom I usually don’t work with. Now, I can reach out to them, as well.”
Esko partners add depth to the event
A number of valued partners demonstrated complementary solutions. The 2016 partners included CHILI Publish, DuPont Advanced Printing, EFI, Epson, GlobalVision, MacDermid Graphics Solutions, PrintNow, Enfocus, MediaBank and X-Rite Inc. and its Pantone subsidiary.
“EskoWorld allows CHILI Publish to share this relationship with current and potential customers to help them see the opportunities of our paired solution. The Esko staff provided an educational, informative and entertaining experience for customers and partners alike,” comments Jeff Cheal, Senior Presales Engineer at CHILI Publish. “I was able to talk and learn from the trainers about products I wanted to know more about, get to know my sales connections personally, and hear from Esko senior managers their view of the company for the future. We will definitely return next year.”
“We thought attendees were very upbeat this year,” noticed Panenka. “All we can do is motivate them with ideas on how to set an architecture for success, and then arm them with the education and tools to make it happen. If our conversations were any indication, we were all very successful.”