Advertorial by Significans Automation
Bay Cities Packaging & Design is a manufacturer and printer of packaging and display materials with headquarters in Pico Rivera, CA and print outlets across the U.S. utilizing offset, flexographic, and digital press technologies. Artwork and other creative assets arrive from a variety of brand owners and creative agencies. Color is of paramount importance and must match across all print technologies it employs to create packaging and display materials.
Traditionally, color control was the domain of prepress and press operators, skilled craftsman that can adjust file properties and print parameters to match provided color samples. This time-consuming operation is expensive in materials and production, costs that no one wants to carry and time delays not afforded in today’s just-in-time business environment.
Bay Cities invested in process automation to eliminate variables and increase production quality as well as productivity. Central to this is Esko’s WebCenter software that connects Bay Cities production departments with its customer base. WebCenter has a module called Color Pilot that allows special colors to be stored and recalled for use in design and production. These colors are based on the Pantone library, an accepted industry standard. Bay Cities discovered that the Pantone Library is not perfect. Books can vary through time and they can’t take into account different substrates, ink formulation, and printing processes. This requires production personnel to make fine adjustments to achieve the required quality—adjustments that will vary between operators and print technologies. Bay Cities wanted a user-friendly way to record and re-use this color information regardless of print technologies and independent of individual interpretations.
“The big question,” states Jim Hawton, director of IT and design, Bay Cities is, “how do we gain control of those variables?” That is the inquiry he posed to Significans Automation and led its programming team to create Virtual InkBooks™, a cloud-based, user-friendly interface to allow Esko WebCenter users to record and recall custom color libraries. Color libraries are available to all stakeholders in the design and print process and can be created and edited without the requirement of a software engineer. “This is an attempt to reduce makeready costs and control color consistency across all of the platforms we use. It’s important to keep equipment in tune but, it is also important to keep our data in tune, Virtual InkBooks™ is the tool that allows us to do this,” adds Hawton.
Virtual InkBooks™ was created in collaboration with Hawton and Andreu Carroll, prepress, Bay Cities, in concert with the Significans Automation team of James Robinson and Sean Davis, both highly experienced users of Esko Automation Engine and WebCenter.
“Virtual InkBooks™ allows our customers to simplify and unify ink management across multiple platforms and users in any organization,” according to Robinson. “If the tools we employ are not straightforward and effective, as an integrator, we optimize them for the best application.”
After only three months of operation, Hawton sums up the experience to date. “Virtual InkBooks™ has given us the ability to print across platforms and operators with increased consistency and reduced makeready times. This contributes to our commitment to provide best-in-class products and services to our customers.” IPM
Apr2022, Industrial Print Magazine