Gent (Belgium), July 2015 – Esko proudly announces that Automation Engine Connect, a toolkit allowing integration from third party products to an Esko workflow, is a recipient of a 2015 Printing Industries of America InterTech™ Technology Award. Since 1978 the InterTech™ Technology Awards have honored the development of technologies predicted to have a major impact on the graphic arts and related industries. More than 80% of technologies that receive an award experience continued commercial success in the marketplace.
This is the eighth InterTech award an Esko solution has received over the past ten years. Other recipients include a wide variety of technologies: Esko WebCenter (2006), Esko DeskPack 3-dX (2007), Esko Neo (2008), Esko Studio Toolkit for Shrink Sleeves (2011), i-cut Suite (2012), Full HD Flexo (2014) and Equinox (2014).
“We are thrilled to receive an InterTech award from Printing Industries of America this year. Esko has a legacy of investing a much higher portion of our budget into R&D than the industry average. We believe in innovation as a means to help our customers conduct their jobs more easily, productively and profitably. Automation Engine Connect is certainly an example of creating software technology to help our customers design complete, more efficient workflows," remarks Udo Panenka, Esko President. "We understand that it is important for our workflow systems to communicate with third party systems. Similarly, we listen to our customers' challenges, and strive to build more effective solutions for them. That is the ultimate reward for us."
Esko Automation Engine Connect: an easy way to integrate third party systems
Even though many in the printing industry have pushed connectivity, not all systems are JDF, or even XML, compliant. And, even if they are, it does not mean that data from one system maps out correctly to another system. This means that when a print provider wishes to tie in the production workflow to outside systems – ERP, MIS, web-to-print, shipping systems, etc. – there will often be a challenge. This usually requires, for just about any other workflow, customized programming to create a way to connect systems together.
Esko has significantly reduced the cost of integration for its customer base with Automation Engine Connect, the only toolkit offered specifically by a workflow vendor expressly developed to integrate other, disparate business systems. There is no other application on the market that is deeply rooted into the workflow server itself. Automation Engine Connect provides a toolkit that allows integration from a third party product with an Esko component, such as WebCenter, Automation Engine or ArtiosCAD. This means that MIS, web stores, finance and shipping systems, and more, can all be integrated into the workflow. Automation Engine Connect is easy to install. While Esko provides the service to map and connect data, those who are knowledgeable in IT can do it themselves. With Automation Engine Connect there is no reliance on anyone who creates a customized system to continue maintaining the system. Automation Engine Connect is also scalable. If the business invests in more, or new, systems, Connect can easily make sure that these systems are integrated into Automation Engine. Among the numerous applications that have been connected to Automation Engine are packaged MIS systems such as EFI Radius, LabelTRaxx, CERM and Theurer; custom systems based on Microsoft Excel and FileMakerPro; and even one user who connects to World Weather Online to understand wind conditions when planning outdoor mounting activities for billboards.
"When we purchased our MIS system, it was taking too much time for prepress to duplicate CSR efforts, entering similar job information into the production system. We invested in Automation Engine Connect," comments Rebekah Harmon, Art Director, Best Label Company." After the system was set up, it was easy to use. Now, our artists probably can process 50 jobs per day. Before Connect, we only could produce 30 per day."
Flexokliche provides design, prepress services and plates for packaging applications. "We had purchased our MIS system purely on how it handled and worked. But, we had not thought much about future integration. We started a simple XML transfer, but it never worked," remembers Linda Ekehage, Owner, Flexokliché. "I do not know how Esko does it, but Esko Automation Engine Connect works. Once we got in touch with the right people from our MIS developer to understand the data files, it was really easy. It took Esko only about eight hours. We can now look up jobs easily in Automation Engine and keep track. Now that order information is sent directly to Automation Engine my bookkeeping time is 50% faster. And that is just a small part of the workflow chain. All of the designers and account managers save time as well."
“The judges commented that Automation Engine Connect is the start of a new and simplified approach to connecting disparate systems. The user interface makes it very user friendly to connect systems. It's simple and effective, and takes lots of extra work away from the user," notes Dr. Mark Bohan, Vice President, Technology and Research, Printing Industries of America. “The judges were also very impressed with the wide array of systems that have been connected with Esko Automation Engine Connect in real installations."