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EFI Launches Advanced Version of Industry Leading Scheduling Software

Press release from the issuing company

DRUPA, Düsseldorf, Germany – May 6, 2004 – EFI, the world leader in digital imaging and print management solutions for commercial and enterprise printing, announced today it is shipping a major upgrade to its industry-leading PrintFlow dynamic scheduling application. EFI PrintFlow 4.0 offers improved real-time visibility into the production plan, multiple step scheduling and significant customization features. PrintFlow is an add-on module to EFI Printcafe MIS solutions such as EFI Logic SQL?, EFI PSI? and EFI Hagen. PrintFlow allows printers to schedule, synchronize and optimize jobs throughout the manufacturing operation by automatically identifying the optimal path for each job based on the available resources, current workload and delivery schedules for all jobs. It is a system for controlling and scheduling all equipment, old and new, coordinating the entire printing process from inception to delivery. PrintFlow also provides complete visibility into the potential impact of changes to the printing schedule such as adding new jobs, accelerating a delivery request, temporarily losing a work center, or adding a shift. Version 4.0 of PrintFlow’s GATF award-winning technology features major improvements and enhancements. One key improvement is in the way data is displayed and organized in the unique Gantt Chart, the main electronic window to the shop floor used by schedulers, planners, managers and shop floor staff to receive an instant view of available capacity by cost center and by day. The Gantt tool can now be highly customized – for instance, cost centers can be rearranged, re-sized, filtered and colored individually, multiple layouts can be saved, and filters can be applied to focus on a single job or form. Said William Jacot, vice president of manufacturing at LAgraphico, Inc.: “We are excited about the overall improvements in the latest PrintFlow version. The charts show all the jobs in our plant, allowing schedulers to easily manipulate the schedule interactively using the mouse. Now we can customize, re-arrange and filter on a more detailed level, save several layouts to refer to later, and use multiple screens to display information on our 52” plasma screens. These features all lead to greater visibility for management, sales and production throughout the entire plant operations.” PrintFlow organizes the sequence of the steps that are required to produce a job efficiently. It chooses the optimum machine or cost center for the job taking into consideration all other jobs and sequences the jobs of every cost center to optimize the entire manufacturing process. Fundamental to this sequencing is the ability for PrintFlow to automatically adapt to dynamically changing demand and machine availability, and version 4.0 includes a powerful new algorithm for distributing jobs automatically to members of a group of cost centers. It also makes it easier to set up and adjust the various factors, taking into account multiple user needs such as the urgency of the task, switchover reduction and distribution preferences. The scheduling capabilities of PrintFlow have been optimized as well. Users can now schedule in multiple steps, allowing job scheduling in different phases, effectively giving certain jobs all the space they require and ensuring they remain on schedule while filling unused capacity with less critical jobs. Multi-step scheduling also allows users to schedule known bottleneck cost centers first and less critical cost centers later, or to use combination cost centers. “These strong new features and enhancements further position PrintFlow as the center of an intelligent enterprise-wide management solution, enabling users to achieve better performance and increased visibility that drives greater production efficiency across their entire operation," said Udi Arieli, Director of Product Management, EFI CIM Products. “The dynamic scheduling and multi-step optimization are just two of the improvements customers will find particularly helpful.” In addition, version 4.0 offers: • Support for multi-color scheduling, particularly simultaneous multi-color setup minimization • Built-in support for over 900 colors, with the ability to add new colors and create lookup tables • Zone scheduling improvements that provide more options for scheduling short- and long-term jobs, as well as the ability to schedule in successive steps • Internationalized date and number formats, and translations in German and French with the ability to add languages easily in the future. Lastly, PrintFlow has been designed to integrate smoothly with EFI print management systems, so it shares job specifications and job status data in real time. Users can add global optimization to their production line to eliminate weak links, reduce bottlenecks, fill unused time and cut back the waste and inefficiencies that undermine new investments and profits. For more information on PrintFlow, please visit EFI at drupa May 6-19th in Hall 4, booths B34 & B40, or go to www.efi.com/products/printflow/