Flexografix, a premedia trade shop based in Wood Dale (Illinois), has installed a CDI 4260 flexo imager with HD Flexo from Esko, the latest in a long line of successful investments.
In 2003, Ken Pavett acquired Flexografix, and the rest, as the saying goes, “is history". Pavett quickly retooled the company, developing a highly skilled staff of 12, and implementing advanced technology to ensure the company goals of providing stronger value, impeccable quality, and better service could be met. The imperative has worked: since Pavett took over as CEO and President, sales revenues have increased 69%. Esko has been at Pavett’s side almost from the beginning, helping Flexografix realize its mission of delivering prepress solutions that increase customers’ profitability.
“Our customers love that they can put our plates on press, and they consistently work well with less effort. We engineer color separations and plates that are as easy as possible to print and match our proofs, while protecting the designer’s original intent,” says Pavett.
Adds Kelly Cooper, Flexografix’s Technical Sales Professional, “Esko has completely revolutionized our business. They’ve made us more valuable to our customers, and our customers more valuable to the brand owners.”
First foray – platemaking
Flexografix’s first Esko purchase – a CDI Spark 4835 digital platemaker – came in 2002, just before Pavett acquired the business. Driven by FlexRip, it replaced an analog film-based system. “We were one of the first prepress trade shops of our size to invest in a CDI 4835, and one of the first in our area of any size to offer digital platemaking for our customers,” notes Pavett. “The 4835 streamlined our production workflow and significantly improved print quality for our customers – which was even more important to us than its speed.”
Barely a year later, in 2004, Flexografix was looking to further automate the workflow. They implemented Esko Automation Engine workflow server engine for automating prepress administrative tasks, and DeskPack plug-ins for Adobe Illustrator, and PackEdge, a robust pre-production editor.
BackStage automates the process of setting up customer templates, complete with color chips, color bars, and auto registration marks. DeskPack’s trapX, a vector-based program, is used to automatically create traps for 85% of the time for Flexografix’s customers; the remaining 15% are manually trapped, for better print reproduction.
“The combination of BackStage and the automatic trapping software brought us a 38% productivity increase,” says Pavett. “We actually tracked the first 200 jobs using the Esko software, and then estimated the time it would take for us to do it manually. Even more importantly, we’re able to give our customers an easier job to print on press. “This is a large part of our value proposition.”
Proofing accuracy advantage
In 2006, needing software to drive their high-end, proprietary halftone-contract color proofing device, Flexografix installed Esko’s device-independent Color Engine. Flexografix also bought an Epson Stylus Pro 7600 for proofing to avoid constantly using their proprietary proofer with its expensive media. This gave Flexografix a “huge competitive advantage over other trade shops,” recalls Pavett. “At that time, nobody knew what Color Engine could do. We were able to offer highly-accurate contract quality proofs for a lot less money.”