Four exhibitors at IPEX—Atlantic Zeiser, EskoArtwork/Enfocus, Kodak, and Punch Graphics—are giving previews of their show plans at a combined media briefing taking place today and tomorrow at a conference center near Brussels, Belgium. Among those presenting today are Atlantic Zeiser and EskoArtwork/Enfocus.

In this morning’s lead-off presentation, Oliver C. Mehler, CEO, Atlantic Zeiser, announced that what he called “Industrial Digital Printing 2.0 is here”—and that with the help of his company’s technology, printers actually will make money doing it.

Atlantic Zeiser specializes in high-resolution digital printing and coding on industrial products. Its customers produce materials that frequently need content changes. “We don’t care about the substrate,” said Mehler, as the printable surface could be anything: paper, carton stock, non-porous materials such as plastic or glass, or three-dimensional structures. The conditions in which the printing is done vary greatly as well.

Mehler said that IDP 2.0 isn’t out to replace offset and flexo. These methods will still be used for static content; Atlantic Zeiser supplies the technology for the addition of variable print at the late stage of manufacturing: inline marking, coding, serialization, and decoration. Variable data must be verified for accuracy on the production line, as the printing is being applied to the product.

Atlantic Zeiser offers a choice of 18 different digital printing engines, including the ultra-high-speed and -resolution Delta family. Its Omega family consists of UV-capable spot color engines. The Gamma line includes single-pass CMYK engines with resolutions up to 1060 dpi.

The newest addition is the AZ Delta family of single-pass spot color engines operating at speeds up to 300 meters per minute in print widths up to 205 mm at a native resolution of 600 dpi. Also announced was the AZ line of high-resolution digital inks, including UV inks curable by LED arrays. To complement these inks, Atlantic Zeiser offers the Smartcure UV LED curing module. The advantages of UV curing include “cold light” exposure that protects sensitive materials; and ozone-free operation.

Among the applications for Atlantic Zeiser’s inline printing systems are packaging and direct product imprinting. ROI should take place between two and 18 months, says the company, thanks to economies achieved by integrating the systems with existing production lines. Packagers and product manufacturers now can do their own variable imprinting without having to rely on outside services.

Mehler also talked about VDP enhancement for PDF workflows. At IPEX, the company will announce a solution that makes it possible to print with small, flexible, and secure data streams.

For customers preferring offline solutions, Atlantic Zeiser offers the DigiLine family of web-to-web and sheetfed digital printing units for coding and imprinting. There are two models for web printing, and four or sheetfed. Three models of the DigiLine single-product imprinting system are available. Mehler spoke of imprinting costs of “several cents per thousand” with an anti-counterfeiting solution that the company has devised.

“We can prove that this increases the operating profits of many industrial product manufacturers,” Mehler said.

At IPEX, which takes place from May 18-25 in Birmingham, UK, Atlantic Zeiser can be found in Hall 6. The stand will present 11 world premiers products and product enhancements.

EskoArtwork fielded a panel of no fewer than seven executives led by CEO Carsten Knudsen. He spoke of the company’s recovery from a downturn in 2009, but with a number of “bright spots” that bode well for 2010 and beyond. He challenged the notion that “workflow improvements are dead,” promising a number of advancements from EskoArtwork that will be on view at IPEX.

Jan de Roeck, director of solutions management, detailed some of these. Prominent among them will be Suite 10, an updated collection of EskoArtwork software for packaging, print, signage, and display. Suite 10, de Roeck said, “pushes prepress beyond the definition of prepress” because of its advanced capabilities. These include support for shrink-sleeve labels, 3D structures, and workflow automation.

A Suite 10 demonstration featured the creation of graphics for shrink-sleeve packaging and 3-D container shapes, including visualization and simulation of the packaging process. EskoArtwork says that Suite 10 contains the first solution for modeling shrink-sleeves in a realistic 3D design environment. Shipments of Suite 10 will commence on May 1, de Roeck said.

Wire-framing and other techniques enable the designer to preview the sleeve both before and after the application of heat that shrinks the sleeve to whatever it is wrapping. In this way, the preview anticipates and displays the image distortion that takes place as part of the process. A rotatable, photo-realistic display of the finished product also can be viewed.

The workflow solution, Automation Engine 10, supports multiple tasks in the design of a container or a label, including graphics, CAD, and 3D imaging—another first-time combination of capabilities in a single application, according to EskoArtwork.

On the hardware side, EskoArtwork will be represented at IPEX by its Konigsberg cutting systems. The show premier in this category will be the i-XE 10 fully automated finishing system, an end-to-end solution for cutting and stacking at up to 4,800 pieces per hour.

Enfocus, a business unit of EskoArtwork, will introduce a number of publishing applications at the show. Discussing them, Elli Cloots, director of product management, noted that “one out of four PDF files fail preflight,” mostly for the same reasons that PDFs failed preflight 10 years ago. She cited failures in communication between the creative and the production sides as the main source of problems.

To solve them, Enfocus will offer PitStop Connect—software that generates “connectors” that make all PDF print parameters available to creators as soon as they begin working with a file. Printers distribute PitStop connect, embedded with their PDF instructions, to their customers. The solution includes error correction and certification requiring sign-off by the creator has been notified of the error.

PitStop Connect is activated by dropping PDFs on its icon on the desktop. When a printer uses PitStop Connect to convey PDF instructions to creatives, said Cloots, the likelihood of file-preparation errors is greatly reduced.