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Walsworth Optimizes Worflow with EskoArtwork Odystar

Friday, June 05, 2009

Press release from the issuing company

Vandalia, OH (USA) -- Marceline, Missouri based Walsworth Publishing Company is using EskoArtwork Odystar to deliver customers what they could not deliver before: high-quality PDF proof and production files of reasonable size.

Walsworth Publishing Company is a family-owned printing company with more than 1,250 employees worldwide. In 1947, the company began to produce yearbooks in its Marceline facility. In 1970, a Commercial Printing Division was established to balance the cyclical yearbook production schedule, adding textbooks, catalogs and other specialty publications to its Walsworth line.

A unique page-design system

Walsworth receives pages from some of its customers who use a desktop publishing application to produce their yearbooks. Most utilize Enfocus Instant PDF to create, certify and submit PDF files. In fact, Walsworth distributes almost 1,000 Enfocus Instant PDF licenses to its customers each year.

However, more than 2,000 of Walsworth's customers produce and submit their yearbook pages with Online Design, Walsworth's custom-developed browser-based design application. The software, developed by Walsworth's Kansas City-based development team, makes building and submitting yearbook pages easy. Customers create pages by placing images and text into templates, or they can make pages from scratch, easily adding design features such as text wrap, drop shadow and complex clipping paths. Online Design even allows customers to flow their own portraits, manage yearbook staff and conduct progress tracking.

"Because we're a publisher, we have to produce a PDF file in the end - one version for the customer's review and approval, and another version to reliably sail through manufacturing. In the past, we tried to give customers a low-resolution PDF file, but they did not provide an acceptable view. For example, the images were blurry. When we first tried to deliver a high-quality view for customers, we were generating gigantic PDF files. It was difficult to ask our typical customer to download 40-60 MB files," explains Christoph Sisson, Digital Products Manager for Walsworth.

Through their partnership with Enfocus, Walsworth learned about EskoArtwork Odystar, which was able to deliver a high-quality PDF that was conveniently sized for download.

Odystar is a highly automated pre-press workflow solution and a completely integrated solution for PDF creation and production, which can give new life to legacy RIPs and workflow systems, transforming them into PDF 1.6 compliant systems. It offers a complete range of pre-press tools, from preflight, certification and automated document correction all the way to advanced trapping, imposition, proofing, printing and screening to plate. Odystar not only drastically increases productivity in a pre-press production environment, but is equally suited for remote generation of highly robust, production-ready PDF files.

Graduating from larger to smaller, more efficient files

PDF files are sent from Walsworth's Online Design to Odystar, which creates a preflighted, print-ready file for the company's print workflow system that traps and imposes the files for plating. Concurrently, Odystar creates and delivers via the web a compressed, downsampled and watermarked PDF for customers - all within a couple of minutes.

While customers create their pages online with color photos, some still want to cost-effectively print a portion of their pages in black and white.  Odystar can convert specific pages to grayscale, even if the original page is color. "With Online Design, customers create their pages in spreads.  Odystar can quickly split left from right, one in color and one in black and white," comments Sisson. "Although one page may have been color-modified and the other page not, the customer sees the two pages as they will look in the printed book. It's a big deal that Odystar can output a PDF file in the correct color space that customers can view without paying for high bandwidth file downloads."

Now, with four Odystar seats, Walsworth handles upwards of 6,000 pages a day, cleaning PDF files for customers and sending them to the print workflow for plating. Naturally, this file volume could cause storage problems.  "We had several books that contained advanced design elements with complex layering and opacity characteristics. Our PDF output engine was creating files as large as 1 GB per spread. After sending pages through Odystar, the customer PDF file was reduced to 5 MB and the manufacturing PDF, which uses just a little compression and downsampling, was reduced to around 40 MB.  You can imagine our relief," says Sisson.

Learning how to save money

Files that used to take two hours to turn around now take two minutes. "Along with the faster speed, Odystar saves money in two more ways," says Sisson. "We require less file storage now. Given the amount of files we process, that's a lot of disk drives. And, before we installed Odystar, we kept increasing bandwidth between our Kansas City servers and Marceline plant. Now, with Odystar, our file sizes are reasonable, and we save money in bandwidth."

There are still a number of Odystar features that Walsworth has not taken advantage of yet. "We've accomplished our original objective of creating workable PDF files. Now, we're fine-tuning Odystar to help us in other ways," says Sisson. "For example, when our manufacturing workflow has an issue to overcome, we'll try to resolve it upstream with Odystar."

"EskoArtwork Odystar lets us give our customers high-quality PDF files of reasonable size that we could not deliver before," concludes Sisson. "You can't put a price on that."




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