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Esko-Graphics FastVariants receives 2003 GATF award

Press release from the issuing company

Gent (Belgium) – August 6, 2003 - Esko-Graphics is proudly announcing that its FastVariants suite of workflow tools has been awarded a 2003 Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (GATF) InterTech Technology Award, recognized industry-wide as a symbol of technological innovation and excellence. One of the trends of this year’s awards winners was the presence of automation combined with productivity and ROI. FastVariants is an automated workflow solution that fits that description well. It offers a suite of tools and technologies used within Esko-Graphics’ FastLane Next Generation workflow system to avoid costly mistakes in the production of double-burn jobs, for which one of the plates, typically the black plate, is replaced with another one with a different version during a press run. FastVariant prevents press downtime and plate remakes in double-burn workflows. Regardless of how a job is supplied, either as neutral pages with separate version pages or as full-color version pages, FastVariants correctly detects specific problems that make a file unsuitable for double-burn. Full-color version pages can be quickly and easily split into a neutral ‘full-purpose’ part and a version part. Operators can also check full-color version pages against a reference version to detect problems when changing the version plate. All these tools run in batch mode so large amounts of pages can be efficiently handled with little operator intervention. FastVariants makes use of three innovative technologies: • The new technology runs in batch mode and is integrated with interactive tools. • The splitter uses a novel approach to the way in which files are separated correctly without RIPping them. Its very fast one-pass algorithm turns a page into a neutral page or into a variant page by intelligently modifying the paint modes in the file. A page that has been split into neutral and variant parts can be recombined on top of each other when imposed, and provide the same result as the original page, regardless of the order and location of the variant objects in the original. • When a version page is compared to a reference page, the batch process renders separations and then compares pixels from both pages. This method accurately detects any difference between the two. Several judges noted that an increasing number of InterTech nominees were seeking creative ways to bring new, sophisticated technologies — and therefore new services and revenue streams — within the reach of small and medium-size printers. FastVariants contains everything needed to produce versioned print jobs in less time and with total security, which translates to less man-hours for error-prone quality checks, less proofs, less plate remakes and less press downtime. In about 15% of versioning jobs there are mistakes that, when passed unnoticed, make it necessary to stop the print run, correct the mistake, make new plates, and start the print run again. It can take several hours before a double-burn mistake that is caught in the pressroom is corrected. It is imperative to check every job; a time-consuming operation because it usually involves visually checking proofs. FastVariants provides everything a printer needs to turn around a versioned print job in less time and with total security, which translates to less manhours for error-prone quality checks, less proofs, less plate remakes and less press downtime.