Esko, Packaging & Commercial Print

Esko Donates Packaging Technology to RIT

Esko has donated a suite of packaging software and hardware to Rochester (NY) Institute of Technology's College of Applied Science and Technology.

The technology, which includes ArtiosCAD structural design software, a Kongsberg XL-24 digital finishing table with iSight, DeskPack prepress plug-ins, Equinox color technology for extended gamut printing, and Suite 12 pre-production software with Studio 3D packaging design tools, will be used in RIT’s Packaging Science BS and MS program as well as faculty research projects.

The highly touted Packaging Science program, the result of a long and close collaboration between RIT and the packaging industry, looks to school students in current packaging workflows, preparing them for jobs in packaging development, structural design, marketing, research, sales, purchasing, and production.

The Esko toolkit was delivered in December 2011, installed in January 2012. Following installation and training, the software and Kongsberg table were implemented into the fall curriculum. “Many of the classes that were planning to use the toolkit were not offered spring semester; we were also trying to make sure we were using the technology to its fullest,” says Tom Kausch, who manages the Packaging Dynamics and Materials Laboratories and is a lecturer for the Packaging Science program. Plans are in the works for a full-fledged Esko technology lab, spotlighting the company’s contribution not only to the school, but to the packaging industry as well.

Highest quality level of tools

“All of our packaging courses utilize Esko tools in one way or another,” says Kausch. “Now with these wonderful tools, our faculty can do more with the students, using the software for structural and graphic design, for example. We’ve never had the quality of tools we have today.”

The technology is used for a broad swath of courses in the Packaging Science program, from Computer Applications, where students learn package design and layout and make prototypes using ArtiosCAD and Adobe Illustrator, to Flexible Containers to Packaging for Distribution.

In the course, Packaging for End Use, designed as a capstone course for the BS program, students learn how to design optimal packaging systems to meet the needs of the retailer and the consumer. Using ArtiosCAD, along with Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop, students redesign existing primary packages – including the graphics – and secondary corrugated package to present the most user-friendly sustainable package possible.

“The class is all hands-on; students are expected to design a package that would be new and conceptual as a requirement of the course,” says Kausch. “It lets students develop and prepare actual prototypes.”

One of the current projects in the class is an internal competition to redesign a laundry detergent container for a real brand owner, says Kausch. “The student teams present their concepts, created with Esko software, to the brand’s marketing department to see if they might be used for a real product,” says Kausch.

Real life dynamic compression and vibration tests

In the college’s Packaging Dynamics Laboratory, packages undergo simulated real life tests. ArtiosCAD and the Kongsberg table are used for mock-ups for the initial research on dynamic compression and vibration, to see what the package can withstand. “Basically we are a third-party testing lab for these packages,” says Kausch. “We use the findings for research as well as for setting up recommendations we will present to the packaging community.”

The Esko technology helps the packaging students unleash their creativity, a strong value at RIT. “The Kongsberg table was installed on a Monday,” recalls Kausch. “On Friday – with minimal training – they designed and cut out a gorilla using the table and stuck it to the wall; they named it KING KONG(sberg). Our students are very innovative and talented. You never know what you will see!”

Using the Esko tools, RIT students are participating in a number of national competitions, such as those held by the Paperboard Packaging Association and the Independent Corrugated Association.

Packaging Science students are also using Esko technology to find solutions to real world problems. “RIT will no longer be supplying bottled water on campus,” says Kausch. “Using Esko software, packaging students are involved in designing a flexible container to fill with water at ‘water filling stations’ throughout the campus. They are designing the container as well as the logo and graphics. The students are working with a company that will produce their design for whatever they come up with and are investigating whether or not to sell it in the campus store.”

“The ability to freely design and create designs and build real prototypes of packaging ideas is an extremely powerful learning tool for our students,” concludes Kausch. “Esko has been very generous to our program, and all at RIT will benefit greatly.”

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