Automation Engine

The perfect automated workflow.

Automation Engine: the perfect automated workflow

What’s new in Automation Engine & Device Manager 18.1.1?


On the journey to support working with fully native PDFs without the need for conversion, Automation Engine comes with two new tickets, there is support added to existing tickets as well. There are also a host of improved features, some highlights can be found below.


Optimize PDF

This new task combines functionality of the 'Optimize PDF Separations', 'Optimize PDF Document' and 'Extract Inks' task. Not all functions are fully covered yet and as such the existing tickets will remain. This task is included in the Processor module.

Some functionality included in this task:

  • creating processing steps
  • rename/convert/remove separations
  • set separation type & printing method
  • document cleanup
  • modification of PDF page boxes
  • outlining of PDF page boxes.

Step & Repeat CAD based (Dynamic)

This new task takes complete advantage of the ArtPro+ graphic kernel and is comparable in functionality to its 'classic' counterpart (Step & Repeat CAD based).

  • Supports MFG and CF2 structural design templates or structural designs imported to ArtPro+ and saved as PDF+ files
  • Accepts PDF 1up files (1 or more) or xml job/runlist input (same format as original Create Sheet Layout task, only Quantity/Repeats + First Page value is used, no support for multipage PDF files)
  • Matching inputs to stations is done by CAD-X object id (if present in 1up) or by size
  • Support for duplex

PDF+ support in the ReportMaker task

The ReportMaker task now supports PDF+ files as input. The ReportMaker reports can extract the info from these files (inks/barcodes/external references...) and generate 3D previews (if the PDF+ file contains a CAD reference with 3D info).


Improved File Info for Native PDF

If you use File Info on a PDF+ file it will now recognize processing steps.


New Trap ticket

Utilizes the new trapping algorithms from ArtPro+ which make smarter decisions and generate aesthetically correct traps. This unique feature increases, right first time trapping, with less manual user intervention. This ticket also respects the new patented object-based trapping tags and as a result, users report 70% time savings when trapping.


Automated Platemaking Module

The Automated Platemaking Module automates the cropping, extending and merging of LEN files reducing the time spent preparing files for the platemaking process

  • Now connect your 3rd party Flexo CTP device to automated TIFF output. A CDI is required to set up the parameters for the TIFF device
  • Reduce plate waste with our new merging algorithm. This new functionality has been devised to minimize waste when using the plate labeling functionality
  • Support for the upcoming CDI Optics 100 Speed Mode

Other highlights

Gang Run Printing | Support for Offcuts

In the gang run queues, it is now possible to define how offcut areas should be created. In case a nested layout contains unused areas, which are larger than the defined minimum size, offcut areas will be defined. When such a layout is processed in the 'export nested layouts' task, extra cut lines are added (to cut the offcut areas) and an XML definition of the offcut areas is produced. This XML file can be used in the 'import sheet sizes from XML' task

Continuous printing

The SmartFlapping operation (which is implicit in the tabular, template-based S&R & Create Sheet Layout task) can now be turned into a 'continuous' mode. In this mode, the bleed will be adjusted taking into account that the layout is printed endless (web direction = vertical). The top and bottom rows of stations will get the same bleed adjustment as the rows in the middle of the layout.

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Colored sticky notes

It is now possible to select the background color for sticky notes from a predefined list of pastels. Next to that, a couple more minor improvements were made to sticky notes in general.

PitStop 2019 support

The 'Preflight with PitStop' task is now based on the latest customer released PitStop 2019 technology.

Automation Engine for Labels

  • HTTPS support. Note that an official SSL certificate from a recognized certificate authority is required to properly set up for an HTTPS connection.
  • Dark mode support

Automation Engine Connect for CAD

A new task 'Export Print Item as ARD' and a number of enhancements to existing tasks (such as 'Export ArtiosCAD Design Info' and others) were added. As these tasks are set up by Esko Solution Architects, more information is only available through that channel.


And finally, this release sees the availability of Automation Engine Cloud Connector. This feature allows multiple Automation Engines to talk to each other via the Esko Cloud. Benefits include:

  • Share job data and files with other locations
  • Utilize production capacity on locations that have spare capacity
  • Utilize technology and skills at other production locations.

Please note that Automation Engine Cloud Connector is available through subscription.

What’s new In Automation Engine 18.1.?


Greater support for PDF+ marks and grids from ArtPro+

  • PDF+ Dynamic Marks are PDF documents created in ArtPro+. They can be used in the Add Dynamic Marks Task or Step & Repeat (Dynamic) tasks.
  • PDF+ Dynamic Marks and Dynamic Marks from DeskPack can be used together in a task.
  • PDF+ marks can be positioned to all page boxes or S&R grids including PDF+ grids and SRT grids.
  • Apply PDF Action Lists created with ArtPro+ that take advantage of new 18.1 actions such as:
    • Set Stroke Overprint
    • Set Stroke Width
    • Reorder Layers (move layer up/down)
    • Update Barcode
    • Update Linked Image
    • Update Linked Placed Art
    • Update Mark
    • Convert to CMYK

Organize Favorites

  • No longer waste time searching for that specific (workflow) ticket
  • Categorize the workflows to suit your needs
  • Create groups of favorite tickets and share across all users

Change Workflow Parameters in ‘Wait for Action (Checkpoint)’ task

  • Add your own parameters to any To Do – message
    • Add checklists
    • Add dropdown menu items
    • Update/change workflow parameters
    • Add comments
    • Add links to files and web pages
  • Use any combination of these options to direct the workflow in the right direction.
Change Workflow Parameters

‘Create ArtiosCAD Layouts’ task

Until today users had to manually create several nested layouts to:

  • Select the one that produces minimal waste.
  • Provide a more accurate estimation of cost.

The task automatically

  • Creates several repetition files (MFG) with different nested layouts.
  • Creates report and preview files that can be sent to a business system.
Create ArtiosCAD Layouts task

Load Structural File’ task

You can now use 9-point positioning to align the structural design file to the graphics file versus a chosen page box. Align it vertically top/center/bottom and horizontally left/center/right.

Load Structural File task

Improvements to Gang Run Printing

  • Bring more flexibility to Gang Run Printing functionality
    • More options to select substrate sizes
      • Typically to make sure offcuts are used first
    • More options to control order of one-ups
    • Edit parameters of one-ups already in queue
    • Move one-ups to a different queue
  • Improved user experience
    • Extra overview showing entries of all substrate queues, in one list
    • 2 new columns in ‘Show Layouts’ mode (Substrate Queue, Order ID)
    • New column ‘Quantity’ in ‘Orders’ View (Device Manager for Kongsberg)

Integrate with Esko Share & Approve

  • Easily share files with your customer
  • Automatically initiate approval processes from Automation Engine workflows
  • When the approval process is complete the workflow continues
  • Decision points in the workflow can determine the next course of action

Please note that these tasks require a Share & Approve account to access your Share &Approve site.

Integrate with Share and Approve

Other Improvements

  • Improved VDP Support
    • Stagger support
    • Increased efficiency in processing VDP jobs
  • Automation Engine is now fully compatible with Windows Server 2019

Please note

  • From this release onwards, these tasks are declared ‘outdated’:
    • Send to Nexus
    • Send to Odystar
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