Esko, Sign & Display Group

i-cut Suite

Esko has announced i-cut Suite, the expanded collection of pre-production software targeted specifically at users of large format digital printers and/or digital finishing systems. The different modules of i-cut Suite provide such companies with all essential tools to deliver sign & display products with optimal efficiency and productivity, regardless of the type, source and variety of the incoming job information.

"Shops producing signs and displays using large format digital devices often receive files that have not been properly prepared, often containing errors or missing information," said Ruben Cagnie, product manager, Sign & Display, Esko. "Without the proper workflow tools, such deficiencies lead to costly losses of time and materials. Using the i-cut software modules however, potential issues are caught and resolved at the beginning of the workflow, resulting in a smooth and cost-effective manufacturing process."

The i-cut Suite is part of the Esko Suite 10 and builds on the company's experience with advanced pre-production and workflow solutions in packaging and commercial printing.

i-cut Preflight handles efficient preflighting of incoming PDF data, thus ensuring that jobs will RIP and print correctly. Any potential issue is automatically detected and reported in detail. A set of interactive tools makes it possible to apply corrections without having to have access to the native design application. i-cut Preflight is based on Enfocus technology, the leader in PDF preflight and checking technology and also a company of Esko.

i-cut Layout is the fundamental module for interactively building and editing sheet layouts, saving printing time and increasing substrate utilization. Nesting of individual pieces can follow multiple strategies. For 'minimum waste', different jobs will be grouped on one sheet for optimal material usage. 'Maximum productivity', best for high quantity orders, creates as many identical sheets as possible to reduce setup times for printing and finishing. The 'minimum cuts' approach will optimize the finishing process by allowing cutting in slices across the material; this is ideal for rectangular designs or for manual finishing with a guillotine.

In all cases, there is full integration with the i-cut Vision Pro control system for accurate die-less cutting. Registration marks and barcodes are added, and operator setup time at the finishing station is reduced to a minimum.

Users with more specific requirements can easily upgrade to advanced modules:

The module for Structural Design offers direct integration with standard structural design programs. It reads common CAD data formats like DXF, CFF2, PDF and native ArtiosCAD. A built-in 3D viewer enables checking the design visually or exporting a 3D PDF file. Using the powerful and brand-new ‘box builder' function, boxes can be created by just entering the dimensions, saving time e.g. when creating custom corrugated shipping containers on-demand.

When the graphic design comes in without a cutting path defined, the module for Graphics Preparation will create such a cutting contour for both vector and image files. Automatic bleed generation is available to eliminate disturbing blank spaces between the printed design and the cutting contour. Special finishing or other marks can also be added to the sheet.

Finally, the module for True Shape Nesting gives access to an additional level of material optimization when dealing with irregular shapes. The nesting of individual pieces will no longer be based on the bounding box surrounding the design, but fully take into account any unused material outside the cutting contour.

Esko presents a complete offering for the large format digital print and finishing market, Studio and ArtiosCAD software for creative design, i-cut Suite for the production workflow, and Kongsberg cutting tables for digital finishing.

"The new i-cut Suite reflects the needs of today's professional large format digital printing and finishing market," said Nicolai Gradman, senior vice president CAM & Supply Chain, Esko. "Many shops have made significant investments in equipment, but are not always aware of innovative workflow tools to reduce operator time, eliminate waste and generally make the process less expensive. With the i-cut Suite, we are shaping the future of our customers business. We offer them a highly effective tool that immediately delivers tangible benefits."

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