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Esko-Graphics releases Scope's BackStage 2.0 workflow automation server

Press release from the issuing company

Gent (Belgium), February 4, 2005 – Esko-Graphics, the world leader in pre-production tools for the packaging industry, and a resolute proponent of open, standard systems, today announced the release of BackStage 2.0, an important upgrade for Scope, the company’s workflow automation server. Backstage integrates all design and production components in one workflow, automating routine tasks through batch functionality and the use of hot-folders. It streamlines communications within the graphics environment, and also with management systems, customer service and directly with customers. “The BackStage 2.0 release focuses on automation tools that help prevent errors in the workflow. To the packaging and print buyer, error reduction leads to two significant results: cost reduction and faster time-to-market,” explains Jan De Roeck, marketing director for Esko-Graphics packaging software products. “We are able to achieve this by interfacing BackStage to business systems so that the preproduction workflow becomes an extension of the packaging or print buyer’s supply chain. For example, by automatically creating barcodes and other essential design elements with DesignWizard, and allowing job parameters to be defined up front with or without JDF, we are eliminating redundant data entry by operators that can lead to incorrect content.” BackStage 2.0 is completely JDF-enabled, capable of accepting instructions that direct BackStage tasks to correctly process a job, and to remotely drive other software functions via JDF commands. Thus, BackStage 2.0 supports four different use cases: job creation linking an MIS/order entry system to the BackStageGraphics Information System; digital delivery between BackStage and an asset manager or proofing system; receiving feedback from a device such as a platesetter; and launching tasks, even from the web. Other major enhancements and new features include: •BackStage Pilot, an improved graphic user interface providing intuitive menus and faster access to desired actions. A BackStage Pilot desktop icon opens the interface, where all menu tools are visible, with easy access to all jobs. Files for any application type are opened with a simple double-click. •A job database, including job milestones: BackStage keeps job ‘life cycle’ milestones of pre-defined prepress activities, with ‘to do’ actions required to complete them. Job status is accessible from this database. •BackStage 2.0 allows job parameters to be defined up front, helping reduce errors throughout subsequent job processing. For example, if a certain type of barcode is specified, settings for other barcodes automatically become unavailable to the operators, thus reducing the risk for human error downstream. •PDF 1.5 support: BackStage is able to import and export PDF 1.5 files. •DesignWizard takes design templates and instructions for design changes, and automatically generates graphic variants such as barcodes, ingredients, and health warnings – avoiding re-entering data and virtually eliminating erroneous content. •Automated page stripping with icon driven interface: BackStage can automatically populate a prepared imposition with completed pages “Total automation is the way of the future, particularly in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry where the integrity of the file is paramount throughout the job. By reducing manual intervention, we automatically reduce the risk of errors,” explained Duncan Macnally, General Manager of Field Boxmore, UK. “Our highly skilled operators don’t have to spend time on simple, mundane tasks as these are all carried out in background on the BackStage server. It gives them more time to spend on the complex jobs where their knowledge and experience really counts.” BackStage 2.0 is immediately available to customers, accessible through Esko-Graphics' international network of resellers and distributors. Esko-Graphics will be providing upgrade seminars in the States free of charge for customers who are under contract or warranty, and for those who purchase BackStage 2.0. Users will be trained on installation and new features. A three-day personal on-site training session, including prep and upgrade installation, is available for an additional fee.