Eminence Business Media

Eminence Business Media

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Leading Canadian supplier to the food and beverage industry taps into complete suite of Esko premedia technology

Massilly North America, a leading manufacturer of high-quality metal twist closures and sealing machines for the food and beverage industries, has successfully installed Esko (www.esko.com) preproduction technology, delivering full process control of the prepress workflow to leverage the benefits of the company’s recently acquired computer-to-plate system. Installed in May, Automation Engine, DeskPack, Plato, FlexRIP, and FlexProof are driving the workflow for Massilly North America’s recently installed computer-to-plate system, following the company’s decision to bring platemaking in-house to slash costs and turnaround times.

Massilly North America, based in Ontario, Canada, is a subsidiary of The Massilly Group, a leading global supplier of closures, food cans, decorative tins, and aerosol cans through 20 subsidiaries located around the world. The mission of Massilly North America Inc. is to be the best manufacturer and supplier of metal twist closures and sealing machines for the food and beverage industry.

The North American company turned to Esko for a packaging-centric workflow to drive their CtP system, purchased when they decided to bring prepress capabilities in-house. “For starters, we wanted a one-click step & repeat operation, from a one-up image to a full sheet layout, integrated with print production controls, such as color bars and trim marks,” says Julius Stampacchia, Quality Assurance Manager, Massilly North America. “We did not want to manually manipulate files of all artwork sizes to make a plate. We wanted something that was quick, consistent and repeatable.”

Adds Stampacchia, “While we did review a couple other workflows, it was evident that Esko had a complete set of packaging tools that no other vendor could offer. We wanted a workflow that integrated with Adobe® Illustrator®, with supporting plug-ins. Adobe Illustrator is used for design and trapping, driven by Esko DeskPack PowerTrapper for Illustrator. Automation Engine then takes the file and drives the rest of the process. Plato automatically conducts the step & repeat functions, providing optimized sheet layouts. FlexProof provides color-accurate contract proofs. Device independent FlexRip delivers flexibility and quality control tools to ensure plate consistency and accuracy during RIPping, sending the final file to the platesetter.”

The installation process was excellent, says Stampacchia. “Esko training was intense because the software is so powerful,” he adds. “It took us a couple of weeks to understand the system and customize it to meet our industry and process. The Esko trainer was excellent and supported us, even after the training was complete, which doesn’t happen all the time.”

“We envisioned, and are now implementing with Automation Engine, the best process for management of the CTP workflow,” says Stampacchia. “Overall, turnaround time is greatly reduced for plates and artwork. Using the Esko workflow, there is very little heavy lifting for our graphic artists. They check dimensions, trapping, and step & repeat files created by the Esko system, which sends the resulting files to the CtP. With Automation Engine, the artist basically has to hit the submit button.”

When Automation Engine was first installed, Stampacchia didn’t realize all of the features the shop was getting. “I was very surprised with the power of Automation Engine and its ability to develop whatever you can conceive,” he says. “For example, we are able send email messages to the customer (or larger supply chain groups) to approve the artwork with a link to the files - saving the file to a folder to wait for reviews. Automation Engine can deliver whatever you can dream.”

Automation Engine also builds in preflighting to the workflow. “We are also able to check the diameter of one-up images, check color accuracy, make sure filenames match up, and that all corrections have been applied,” Stampacchia explains.

Esko’s software has improved the quality of plates delivered to the pressman. Prepress staff can quickly and easily add production controls, such as a legend and color bars to sheets, ensuring the ability to better measure color during a run - something that Massilly wasn’t able to do before.

Still another benefit is turnaround, realized through the new, in-house capabilities. “We used only one outside vendor, but they were not able to turn them all around the same day,” Stampacchia says. “Now, we can turn around every job the same day.”

Looking ahead, Massilly North America is pushing forward to integrate work with corporate headquarters in Massilly, France, which has operated Esko software for many years. “We want the synergy to interface directly with the same artwork process,” Stampacchia explains. “The idea is to produce the plate files here, and then send them to the corporate Massilly system, where they can be output from their platesetters to print the same jobs locally in France. They also want the reciprocal process here.” To tackle the enterprise production workflow, Massilly is looking to WebCenter, Esko’s collaborative web-based project management system.

For now, Massilly North America is taking advantage of the Esko workflow on a daily basis. “Just recently, one of the reps sent a memo about a new order that arrived on a Wednesday; the customer needed four pallets of product produced and shipped by that Friday,” recalls Stampacchia. “We couldn’t have accepted the order before, because we wouldn’t have received plates fast enough. Now, with a workable file, we can send it through Automation Engine and make a plate in minutes.”

Esko’s software, says Stampacchia, is the “Cadillac of prepress packaging software. It’s an invaluable tool, a must have, for any prepress department in this industry. Attempting to do what we do in the packaging industry would be cumbersome with any other workflow. We shake our heads, thinking about where we were just two months ago before we installed the system.”