EskoArtwork's investment in software and equipment at Clemson University's Department of Graphic Communications continues to reap rewards—both to students' education and to research for the graphic arts industry.
Clemson University's Department of Graphic Communications' mission statement is to develop dedicated, practical problem-solving people for the print, packaging and allied industries. While the program focuses on packaging in particular, it covers all facets of commercial printing. The technologies students use on a daily basis complement every one of the print market areas. Over the years, every student in the department's major, literally hundreds, has been exposed to EskoArtwork technologies. The experience has been enhanced by the most recent upgrade to university efforts: the Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics, which utilizes EskoArtwork software and a CDI Spark imager.
The school utilizes a number of seats of EskoArtwork software technologies—in addition to licenses for DeskPack plugins for Adobe Illustrator—to complement the platemaking system. Some seats are in the department's lab, while the Sonoco Institute utilizes the others. "We have the technologies spanning on both ends of the campus—traditional classrooms and the Sonoco Institute. It's an ongoing process to determine where and how to best use the technologies," explains Dr. Sam T. Ingram, Chair and Professor, Clemson University Department of Graphic Communications. "Without EskoArtwork's support, we would not be able to graduate students so well versed, exposed to, and using technologies they will need in the workplace. We just wouldn't be able to give them the experience they need."
EskoArtwork gets placed on classroom desks Two departments, Graphic Communications and Packaging Science, offer specific coursework that utilizes EskoArtwork equipment. All students are exposed to foundation concepts from the first freshman course. Clemson's curriculum plans for upward-spiraling complexity. The school considers problem solving as the crucial element students work though when developing, creating, printing and finishing work. EskoArtwork technologies have similar layers of technologies that a student can undertake on any given level.
Examples of courses include:
- in a freshman course, Adobe CS and EskoArtwork PackEdge are used to create graphics, while ArtiosCAD offers an introduction to CAD. Students create a packet structure with graphics design components, which is ultimately output to inkjet and diecut on Kongsberg tables.
- a second year course covers more complex prepress and color management tools, employed to help make an image printable. PackEdge and Intellicurve are central to instruction.
- in second and third year packaging science courses, students use ArtiosCAD, DeskPack and SolidWorks to create packaging designs through prototyping, using Visualizer.
- a senior level course involves a major use of PackEdge and other EskoArtwork tools for packaging and specialty printing. A number of live projects include multicolor labels, flexible packaging, and corrugated, which ultimately go on press.
In the packaging and specialty printing class, students develop a targeted product marketing program. Components must include project work in POP materials, labels, flexible packaging, and folding carton. The work involves printing some items on digital inkjet—and others on an offset or flexo press.
One recent project was an all-paper, reading lamp. Everything was constructed of paper except the battery and lamp. "Our students are often challenged to design functional products, from 'gee whiz' lights, and unusual boxes, to anything from labels to 'you name it' ideas," said Ingram.
Making Many Designs that Work
EskoArtwork products are also used for research projects conducted by Clemson University. For example, one was a prototyping project in printed electronics—a fast food 'talking' package. "It was a comic character animated package with graphics that came together for a kid's meal package," said Ingram. "In addition to the graphic design, what was critical was that the materials selected required a fair amount of accuracy to print and integrate them into the design." A prototype was created on a digital inkjet press and finished on a Kongsberg table.
Clemson has worked on innovative projects leading to green activities, and new products. At other times, EskoArtwork tools are used for special industry research projects. "In particular we have students who focus on research projects with color and or materials. Most involve flexo, although some cover offset. Support will include running experiments and data to measure flexo quality control through the FTA Flexo Quality consortium," comments Ingram. "Others measure expanded gamut and other benchmarks. Lately we've been using a lot of technologies involving smart materials for printed electronics that complement and provide levels of precision to set benchmarks. We've also looked at conductive or other OLED coatings."
"We will provide support for other projects that are involved, in some way, around packaging, such as looking at color, or other components such as anilox rollers. We often use the EskoArtwork prepress front end to assure whatever our testing protocols are, we are in good hands with the technology," added Ingram.
A company involved in the academic process EskoArtwork also has a strong tie to Clemson's academia. For example, it has participated in symposia, workshops and seminars where EskArtwork's brain trust offers assistance.
Every year, Clemson's 12-15 week internship program involves nearly two hundred students, spread out across the US. They help to prepare students, whether they are involved in design phase, prepress or manufacturing. Many of the companies meet and select their interns at Intern Employer Day. "EskoArtwork always participates in our program, looking for students and interviewing graduates for careers. We could never claim that our teaching activities would make all students 100 percent expert. They know that Clemson students are, at the least, well versed in the technologies," admits Ingram.
"While we have other software technologies, for us, the significant advantage of EskoArtwork technologies is the diversity of the solutions and the ease to use many of them with Adobe Creative Suite," said Ingram. "And, the complement of traditional and digital press technologies, plotting labels and 3D modeling is a lot of fun. We like to say our labels are like puzzle palaces. Here, students have an idea and they work with the faculty to figure it out. At the end, it is not the project that attains the lofty goal but, rather, the process to learn how to think through a project, in a positive, productive fashion—and EskoArtwork offers the tools that allow that to happen."
"EskoArtwork is proud to support educational institutions with tools and know-how throughout the world. For example, in North America there are more than a hundred schools and universities--and more than another fifty in EMEA--where EskoArtwork software and hardware is installed," adds Mark Quinlan, President, EskoArtwork Americas. "We are pleased with the two-fold benefit. We are helping to educate students to be productive when they join the work force, and they are contributing to industry research while in school."