Home' FLEXO Magazine : March 2017 Contents 40 FLEXO | MARCH 2017
the turnaround time to our customers. All of this contributed to the
SOFTWARE IN ACTION
DWS has been using the software for two years. "We receive artwork,
preflight it and prepare the PDF label file for content. Once content
is approved, we begin the distortion process using the software,"
explained Gulino. "Sometimes the automated software produces
graphics just a bit differently from the designer's intent. In that case,
we manually tweak them slightly in the software. We usually give the
client up to three different options where they can see the 3-D render-
ing, rotate it, move it and tell us what they like. For example, if a circle
is placed too high on a bottle, it could look like an oval on the neck."
Ideally, DWS prefers a CAD or bottle drawing from which to distort
art. Many times, the company will receive a mechanical drawing it will
"doctor up" with software. In some cases, clients don't have anything
when the designer creates a prototype label---they prefer to show the
design to the bottle manufacturer after the fact. "In those cases, we
will build the bottle drawing manually," said Gulino. "Many times, the
designer will try things out with us and get ideas based on what we
think will and will not work.
"The software takes a lot of the technical information and puts it
into an easy to use interface so we can advise designers up front, as
opposed to having designers show us a design and then telling them
it will not work," added Gulino. "We might find that some of the art
is too close to the seam, or the nutrition facts are distorted. We can
address these at the beginning of the process, giving us more time to
Usually, there are not too many changes. "We try to offer suggestions
up front and edit the artwork until the customer is happy," comment-
ed Gulino. "When we get a sign off, we go through a proofing cycle.
Some clients just want an undistorted proof. Others want a proof and
they want a physical mockup of the sleeve. We will make the proof on
a digital press on the material they print on, put it in a steam box, and
deliver a contract proof as well as finished sleeves."
The software gives DWS the ability to dramatically eliminate errors up
front. Creating the first shrink sleeve was part of a learning curve to
produce the artwork, plates and go to press. It took three days. Today,
it creates a typical distortion job in about 30 minutes.
DWS also likes to use production automation software to assist. When
there are many brand extensions---for example, 10 different flavors---
they will create the first label. Once a client likes the first label, DWS
can automate artwork for the rest of them, allowing the software to
position the components in the same place: the logo, UPC, nutrition
facts, and so on---accelerating production.
"We are also using the software for our other labels---for example,
producing 3-D renderings for cut and stack and pressure sensitive
labels," continued Gulino. "It gives us a better idea of how it will work
before we make a proof, which reduces the development cycle and
the cost of proofing. The fact that we have been able to repurpose the
software for 3-D layouts of all our labels gave us another tool in our
THE CLIENT FACTOR
Clients use the 3-D renderings in ad campaigns and POP displays.
They also use them as sales tools, showing retailers what the product
will look like on a case and skid. For them, though, time to market
is the greatest benefit. "We can reduce time from four weeks to as
little as one," enthused Gulino. "Manually, we could not do that.
Printers and packaging companies have less and less time to do work.
We needed to invest in the software technology to stay ahead of the
curve---and our competition."
DWS has been able to work with smaller clients and help them grow
substantially to become much larger and successful---in part due
to their ability to offer impactful product labeling and services like
virtual 3-D renderings. "As our customers grow, we are still able to
turnaround their larger orders because of the software and print
systems we have in place.
"Our payroll would have drastically increased without the software.
If done manually, it's really one of the most difficult tasks, requiring a
lot of technical expertise---and commanding a higher salary. However,
the software is easy enough that the artist who does our preflighting
can work on it," concludes Gulino. "You cannot be successful with
shrink sleeves without the software. It's a must have tool."
DWS is typical of companies using software to calculate shrink sleeve
distortions---to fit into existing design and prepress workflows,
saving hours of operator time and weeks of design lead time. This
can generate the brand owner significant revenues if a product can be
launched earlier, and save the printer, converter or premedia provider
thousands in costs. n
About the Author: Rory Marsoun,
Esko VP, flexo business development,
determines the direction of the flexo
business in North America, acting as
a liaison with the company's product
development staff in Germany. This
includes the development of Esko's new
CDI Crystal XPS system. Marsoun has
also served as director, software training
deployment, Americas, managing the
team of experts that installs Esko software and flexo products, and
trains new users; and manager - flexo services, Americas, managing
highly skilled specialists who work directly with Esko customers to
implement and optimize prepress and plate making systems. Marsoun
earned an MBA and a B.S. in graphic communications from Clemson
University. His technical specialties include color, digital imaging, film
production, prepress production and proofing.
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