CS Labels Xpert intervention by Digital Printer magazine


CS Labels’ managing director Simon Smith: "This has been a steep learning curve but a very worthwhile process."

Being at the forefront of technology innovation brings its own pressures. At CS Labels in Willenhall, near Wolverhampton, innovation is seen as a point of differentiation, and that spirit saw it become a beta site for Xeikon’s new 30 metres per minute Cheetah press in March. It is, says managing director Simon Smith, 58% faster than other Xeikon presses (CS Labels is the largest reel-fed Xeikon house in Europe with five machines). Therein lay the issue however.

"While we were putting the press in, we also had to consider what we were doing in terms of streamlining studio processes to get the work through more efficiently. We were using a preflighting system but it wasn’t giving us the savings we were hoping for", he told Digital Printer

The company had met MyPressXpert sales director Kevin Caughtry at an EasyFairs event in February, and then spoke to Niall Coady from the colour calibration firm shortly afterwards at a Xeikon Café. In talking, it was recognized that there could be ways to simplify and improve the workflow at CS Labels and reduce errors in prepress.

Initially, Mr Coady worked on developing a customised, simplified report for the CS Labels sales team that showed the ink consumption required for a file received, allowing them to quote accurately on the job. It would also preflight the file and report on any fixes that needed to be made, allowing this to be done by the customer before it took up studio time. A second, more detailed, report and client proof PDF is also produced for the studio. This was all achieved to CS Labels’ satisfaction using callas pdfToolbox Server and pdfChip software (HTML5, CSS and Javascript technologies used to automate client proof creation) alongside Filetrain, a workflow management system from Laidback Solutions.

Following this, MyPressXpert has undertaken further bespoke project work for CS Labels, creating a brand new job management system for the Xeikon workflow from scratch, which interrogates an Excel (.xlsx) file from the client and automatically creates and databases all the label barcodes based on sites and quantities. It has also put in a colour management software system – ColorLogic’s ZePrA colour management server and ReProfiler Digital colour engine – which is helping to improve CS Labels’ management of process control and calibration of the Xeikon engines, providing detailed reporting on the stability of the presses so that maintenance schedules can be optimised. This has been effective to such a degree that in September the label producer stopped using the colour control system that comes with the Xeikon presses.

"All digital presses face the challenge of colour consistency from print run to print run, and we also need to ensure that our presses are optimised to achieve Pantone colours", said Mr Smith. "Invariably we are given a label to match by printing CMYK. We need to get as close as possible to achieving the Pantones consistently and measure how close in Delta E we are. This system has helped us to do that. We are of the opinion that it actually takes it to a different level."

The impact of these implementations of automated preflighting and colour management within the company is that CS Labels is able to cope with higher volumes of work while utilising the same level of human resources. "We are also shortening lead times to get work on press and we are getting far fewer mistakes where files have to go back to the studio", Mr Smith continued. "It has streamlined the whole process for us and allows the studio to move away from more mundane tasks such as putting the bleed on a hundred files – those things are automated now. The system also automates the artwork and sends a proof back to the customer."

"The ideal is that we get a PDF from our customer and it goes straight on press without a human touching it. That’s what we are looking for, and we are making fairly substantial progress."

All progress in this direction is welcome, because in December a second Cheetah press will arrive, and further efficiencies will need to be found.

"This has been a steep learning curve but a very worthwhile process", Mr Smith concluded. "The biggest benefit is that we have been able to make this system bespoke to our unique requirements, rather than buying one off the shelf."

Written by Whitmar Publications
www.digitalprintermag.co.uk

Empowered by callas to keep documents available now and forever …

Fabrizio Toninelli, Administrator PA DIGITALE
Fabrizio Toninelli, Administrator PA DIGITALE

PA Digitale SpA is a leading software solutions provider on the Italian Public Administration market. It specifically targets the document and data management sector.

PA Digitale offers an integrated management information system, called URBI Smart that covers all functional areas of management and provides to Directors/Executives a support tool for real time management. Thanks to the availability of static and dynamic data reports it also offers a complete framework for integration with other data sources that is always up to date.

URBI Smart is completely web based, available in the Cloud, accessible from any PC and mobile device, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The PA Digitale software solutions also offer advanced electronic document management, from creation and classification to archiving and digital preservation. These functionalities are available in an integrated Web Portal for a more efficient Public Administration, “closer” to citizens.

With its new WebTec solution, PA Digitale is now not only entering the private market, but also introducing one of the first digital preservation solutions formally approved by the Italian government. callas pdfaPilot enabled PA Digitale to make a big leap forward in terms of management and digital preservation of electronic documents.

“Without a digital preservation service there is no dematerialization of paper workflows. Digital preservation is a key factor for the sustainability of the dematerialization process, to ensure that information and documents are stored in a way that guarantees integrity, authenticity, accessibility and readability.”
May 2014, Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale - www.agid.gov.it

Electronic documents or cultural heritage?

An electronic document, like any document processed by a Public Administration (PA), must be classified, sorted and sent to an archive. Moreover, any Public Administration document is considered a cultural heritage and, for this reason, must be preserved according to government laws.

Public Administrations as well as private companies are obliged to manage the digital preservation of documents in various areas, where law requirements are in effect or imminent. Such documents are for example: electronic invoices, daily PA register protocols, administrative records, contracts, and any kind of document including a digital signature. They are all electronic documents and for this reason subject to digital preservation.

Within the private sector especially for financial accounting documents requirements exist enforcing digital preservation by Italian law. Digital preservation has to deal with the protection of legal validity, authenticity, integrity, reliability, availability and immutability of electronic documents.

Always valid, future-proof PDF/A documents

PA Digitale’s preservation software solution is developed with the latest innovative technology, including callas pdfaPilot libraries for PDF/A document management. callas pdfaPilot allowed PA Digitale to design a software able to convert any document (generated from any management software on the market) to always-valid future-proof PDF/A documents, ready for the digital preservation process.

“The particular methodologies and technologies used to design and realize our systems also allow us to perform maintenance activities, software updates, etc… without any service interruptions. These features, combined with the web based access mode optimized for mobile devices, allow us to ensure access to the system in any place at any time.”
Explains Fabrizio Toninelli, Administrator at PA Digitale.

This was achieved by replacing the analog model with the digital one and by changing the management processes with the digital preservation objective in mind. Thanks to the callas software solution PA Digitale drives its customers in the right direction.

Empowered by callas to keep documents available now and forever …

Pim Print automates workflow with callas pdfToolbox Server

Ronald van der Meer
Ronald van der Meer - Co-owner

The callas pdfToolbox Server, isn’t that the workflow package that is especially suitable for larger companies? “Could be,” says Ronald van der Meer of Pim Print in Roelofarendsveen, “but we control our production with this software and we are very happy with it.”

Pim Print’s current premises, a former bulbshed, are bursting at the seams. Expansion on a recently purchased building plot nearby is in the pipeline. The company’s founder, Pim van der Meer, started his company in 1982. Ronald van der Meer - no relation - joined the company in 1997, and he became its co-owner in 2012. “The biggest change was without a doubt the digitization of our production and the arrival of a number of SRA3 volume printers and two wide format inkjet plotters. We took our most important decision four years ago by putting our money on web-based selling”, says Ronald.

Pim Print employs seven people. Some of them work on optimizing the company’s five webshops so that the company and, more importantly, its products are easier to find. Others are working on further streamlining of the workflow.

Hundreds of jobs

“Of course, our webshops are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We process hundreds of jobs each day, with all their associated administrative tasks. This is only possible with strict automation.” Ronald, a veteran in the printing trade, was trained at the Graphic Lyceum Rotterdam. “The graphic trade cannot do without IT. Fortunately, I am fascinated by these possibilities. When we found that web-based sales were increasing, we started searching for software that could relieve the prepress by automating the checking procedures. That is when we discovered callas pdfToolbox Server. Wifac, our local reseller, supplies us with the consumables and they understand automation, workflow and printers. If we have really in-depth questions, we can always count on Wifac for advice and support. This is essential when you run a 24/7 company. callas builds highly flexible tools, allowing for a wide deployment of the package. Of course, we had to enter our products and profiles in the database ourselves. This was a tough job, and we worked hard on it from early November to late December. Since January of this year, our production runs entirely on callas pdfToolbox. Because of this, we have minimized our margin of error. If you place a job order today, you will receive it the following day. Guaranteed.”

Peaceful production

How does it work? A customer places an order via the web. When he sends us the confirmation, the customer attaches the job in the form of a document. “callas pdfToolbox Server provides the preflight, and our Content Management System generates and sends an invoice to the customer by return. The customer settles the invoice immediately, for example via iDeal. No humans are involved in this process. The callas software checks - and, if necessary, corrects - the job on bleed, inserts cutting marks, provides smoothing, calculates the correct color space and places a barcode, so that after printing, the job cutting or print finishing can take place without manual adjustments.” This reduces the workload and brings peace into the organization.

callas pdfToolbox Server is based on the Adobe PDF Library and includes advanced color management functions and on-board imposition. It takes the workflow to the next level with the use of hotfolders. Processing thousands of files is done without supervision or with minimal visual inspection by an operator. A command line version and a full SDK for developers are available.

Toolbox

“In order to have a fully functioning automated workflow you need to invest in knowledge and time. You are on the right track when you can let the software perform all kinds of repetitive tasks. Many printers are still burdening themselves with the idea that the press or printer should be the centre of the production. But not in our case. Automated production has the most pivotal role to play. This is what creates peace.”

Pim Print had a terrific first month and also February 2014 is looking fabulous. “Customers who want to have printing done, always search on the web for the cheapest option first and then choose the easiest solution.” Customers will find that there is more than just flyers. Posters, banners, magazines, stickers - there are many possibilities.

“A real runner is our man-size print. We pondered over how we could offer this product for a reasonable price, including postage. This applies to all products. You don’t start thinking about how to make something when you have already sold it. It all should be strictly arranged in advance. That way you can offer an attractive price with fast delivery times, and still earn from it.“

Ronald van der Meer is not finished yet. “The goal is to take on more projects with the existing team. The focus lies on further tightening of the workflow and even better findability of our sites. Moreover, we are going to work with affiliate networks, third-party websites that promote our work, for which they get paid. It seems simple, but this too should be carefully arranged. In addition, we will delve deeper into the possibilities of callas pdfToolbox Server. I think there are a lot more tools in that box that we can take advantage of.”

About pdfToolbox Server

callas pdfToolbox Server automates and standardizes the process of file delivery and reception. For print, publishing, advertising, packaging and design companies, it offers the most comprehensive solution for automated high quality preflighting and reliable automatic correction of PDF files through the use of hot folders.

Fully multi-processor aware, callas pdfToolbox Server easily scales with their customer’s needs and built on the Adobe PDF Library it provides rocksolid processing. A command-line version and full developer SDK are available when it’s necessary to provide closer integration.

From the developers of Adobe® Acrobat®’s Preflight technology, pdfToolbox Server offers comprehensive, yet easy to use:

  •     PDF preflighting and automatic correction
  •     Automatic conversion of Microsoft Office files as well as OpenOffice documents into print-ready PDFs
  •     Impositioning from simple booklets to fullyfledged brochures and books
  •     Automatic transparency flattening (Windows, OS X and Linux)
  •     Extensive web-development kit for easy integration

The optional DeviceLink set provides easy repurposing of files for different printing conditions.


About callas software

callas software finds simple ways to handle complex PDF challenges. As a technology innovator, callas software develops and markets PDF technology for publishing, print production, document exchange and document archiving. callas software helps agencies, publishing companies and printers to meet the challenges they face by providing software to preflight, correct and repurpose PDF files for print production and electronic publishing. Businesses and government agencies all over the world rely on callas software’s future-proof, fully PDF/A compliant archiving products. In addition, callas software technology is available as a programming library (SDK) for developers with a need for PDF optimization, validation and correction. Software vendors such as Adobe®, Quark®, Xerox®, Hewlett Packard® and many others have recognized the quality and flexibility provided by these callas tools and have incorporated them into their solutions. callas software actively supports international standards and has been participating in ISO, CIP4, the European Color Initiative (ECI), Ghent PDF Workgroup, FOGRA, AIIM and BITKOM. In addition, callas software is a founding member of the PDF Association and in October 2010, Olaf Drümmer became its chairman. callas software is based in Berlin, Germany. For more information, visit the callas software website at: http://www.callassoftware.com.

Pim Print automates workflow with callas pdfToolbox Server

callas pdfToolbox: digital gatekeeper for Penthion Media Technologies

Jan-Peter Tjepkema
Jan-Peter Tjepkema - Owner and Managing Director

With the rising amount of new publication channels on the market, publishers not only need to publish content but also manage it. This has lead to a significant growth in the demand for content management solutions over the past years. Additionally publishers are more frequently looking for self-service environments to reduce the in-house cost of supporting their clients. This explains the success of the solution Penthion brought to the market, a self-service solution for the entire publishing process that provides complete and integrated automation using callas pdfToolbox Server for certifying their PDFs.

In June 2012, Penthion started evaluating callas pdfToolbox; the main reason was their involvement in a pilot project for a big customer who had a strong preference for the callas software solution. Based on their evaluation of the technology and their experience with the callas organization itself, they decided to not only use pdfToolbox for this one project but forge a closer business relationship with callas software. “We decided to replace our own PDF checker with callas pdfToolbox as this is a more economical solution for us. It also provides us with new features, improved efficiency, updates and better technical support” explains Mr. Tjepkema, Owner and Managing Director of Penthion Media Technologies. The first integrated solution went into production at the beginning of 2013.

Spend time on Sales – not on material handling

callas pdfToolbox Server was integrated into Penthion’s online Ad|Portal delivery platform. The Ad|Portal upload module is their digital gatekeeper for publishers. Using the Ad|Portal advertisers can upload PDF files, which will be checked and - if possible - fixed instantly and converted into certified PDF files using the integrated callas technology. callas pdfToolbox Server does it all in the background: automated high quality preflighting and reliable automatic correction of PDF files. It speeds up job turn around times and significantly reduces error rates. Jan-Peter Tjepkema continues: “Uploading ads has never been more simple than with using the Ad|Portal. It also supports the workflow of the publisher and sends automatically generated emails to advertisers. It manages deadlines and will act according to these. With the integrated pdfToolbox Server, the Ad|Portal supports the upload of print and/or online material. And of course we can handle ready-made material or material ready for setting.”

The use of the Ad|Portal gives the publisher more time to spend on sales instead of tedious material handling. The pro-active approach of the Ad|Portal always means that both publisher and advertiser are in control.

“Our main challenge remains convincing publishers that there is a market out there and that there is still plenty of money to be spent and earned”, concludes Jan-Peter Tjepkema. “We are constantly striving for building sustainable solutions with our customers and our biggest opportunity is providing a pay-per-use business model. In this model we earn money when the publisher earns money without any major initial investment. It's in fact a turnkey solution.”

About pdfToolbox Server

callas pdfToolbox Server automates and standardizes the process of file delivery and reception. For print, publishing, advertising, packaging and design companies, it offers the most comprehensive solution for automated high quality preflighting and reliable automatic correction of PDF files through the use of hot folders. Fully multi-processor aware, callas pdfToolbox Server easily scales with their customer’s needs and built on the Adobe PDF Library it provides rock-solid processing. A command-line version and full developer SDK are available when it’s necessary to provide closer integration. From the developers of Adobe® Acrobat®’s Preflight technology, pdfToolbox Server offers comprehensive, yet easy to use:

  •     PDF preflighting and automatic correction
  •     Automatic conversion of Microsoft Office files as well as OpenOffice documents into print-ready PDFs
  •     Impositioning from simple booklets to fully-fledged brochures and books
  •     Automatic transparency flattening (Windows, OS X and Linux)
  •     Extensive web-development kit for easy integration

The optional DeviceLink set provides easy repurposing of files for different printing conditions.

About Penthion

Since more than 15 years Penthion Media Technologies operates as an A-Z supplier of automation solutions for both magazine and newspaper publishers. They offer a complete and integrated automation solution for the entire publishing process. Penthion works daily on optimizing and professionalizing automation processes. They do this by listening carefully to the needs of their customers and by closely following the developments in the market. Their solutions are user-friendly, scalable, time and cost saving. Penthion is the exclusive supplier of all products from the Finnish company Oy Anygraaf in the Netherlands and in Belgium. Penthion is privately owned and located in Assen, The Netherlands. For more information, visit the website: www.penthion.nl.

About callas software

callas software finds simple ways to handle complex PDF challenges. As a technology innovator, callas software develops and markets PDF technology for publishing, print production, document exchange and document archiving. callas software helps agencies, publishing companies and printers to meet the challenges they face by providing software to preflight, correct and repurpose PDF files for print production and electronic publishing. Businesses and government agencies all over the world rely on callas software’s future-proof, fully PDF/A compliant archiving products. In addition, callas software technology is available as a programming library (SDK) for developers with a need for PDF optimization, validation and correction. Software vendors such as Adobe®, Quark®, Xerox®, Hewlett Packard® and many others have recognized the quality and flexibility provided by these callas tools and have incorporated them into their solutions. callas software actively supports international standards and has been participating in ISO, CIP4, the European Color Initiative (ECI), Ghent PDF Workgroup, FOGRA, AIIM and BITKOM. In addition, callas software is a founding member of the PDF Association and in October 2010, Olaf Drümmer became its chairman. callas software is based in Berlin, Germany. For more information, visit the callas software website at: http://www.callassoftware.com.

callas pdfToolbox: digital gatekeeper for Penthion Media Technologies

With Claro Premedia, Envision always has a second image enhancement opinion

Chris Mikkelsen,  Premediachef at Envision
Chris Mikkelsen, Premediachef at Envision

Established in 1988, Envision is one of the largest Danish advertising agencies. Spread over two facilities in Aarhus and Copenhagen, the company employs approximately 120 people. Being a full service advertising agency, they cover all aspects of the communication process, from concepts and strategies, to media planning and execution. To support the creative department, the company also has its own in-house production unit.

Decrease workload

The production of a weekly promotional flyer for Danish Supermarket, one of Envisions biggest customers, triggered the idea to look for an automated image enhancement solution. With an average of 110 pages, and approximately 10 images per page, or roughly 55.000 images per year, the need for automatic image enhancement became a necessity. Chris Mikkelsen, premediachef at Envision explains: “With 16
photographers working for the company, we receive a lot of images that need to be processed and enhanced. Before using Claro Premedia, all image adjustments were done manually, and getting a good quality was very time consuming. You can imagine the very high pressure on the shoulders of our 4 image designers. So it was quite obvious we had to do something to lighten the workload and improve efficiency at the same time.”

By using Claro, the average image quality improved dramatically, especially sharpness is a lot better than what you get in Photoshop®. Our image designers love Claro.

TIFF with LZW compression support

When looking for a suitable solution, Envision came in touch with Thomas Holm from Pixl. As a well known Danish color management consultant, he advised Envision taking a closer look at Claro. A demo version of the software was installed. Chris Mikkelsen: “At first, Claro did not fit the bill perfectly. Internally, we only work with TIFF images, but processing TIFF images with LZW compression was initially not possible. So, we made a temporary workaround converting images using a Switch solution. But with too many intermediate steps, the solution was not fast enough for the high number of images we wanted to process.” When a new version, supporting TIFF images with LZW compression, was presented at drupa 2008, Chris was given the green light by the management to go ahead with Claro Premedia.

Getting a second opinion

When correcting images manually, forgetting to apply a necessary enhancement like sharpness can happen to even the most experienced image designer, not Claro. Corrections are always performed to the same standard, over and over again. Standards you can configure and change depending on the output requirements. Chris Mikkelsen comments: “Claro is a wonderful application: it’s like getting a second
opinion on every image. For now, our image designers still check every image after it was corrected by Claro using Elpical Claro Inspector for Photoshop®. The side-by-side viewing of original and processed versions of an image, also gives less experienced image designers the ability to learn from it. What’s more, even if you don’t entirely approve the suggested enhancement, it’s always a good basis to work from.”
After having worked with Claro Premedia for almost a year now, Envision is not only very pleased with the solution, but also the cooperation with Elpical has been excellent.

Thanks to Claro, we deliver a better quality, and handle more images in the same amount of time, without having to invest in extra manpower.

Chris Mikkelsen concludes: “By using Claro, the average image quality improved dramatically, especially sharpness is a lot better than what you get in Photoshop®. Our image designers love Claro, because now, they can spend more time enhancing delicate fashion images, while the rest of the images are adjusted automatically. Thanks to Claro, we deliver a better quality, and handle more images in the same amount of time, without having to invest in extra manpower.”

About ELPICAL

Elpical Software, an international company with offices in The Netherlands and Germany, develops and markets software solutions for automating image production, manipulation and optimization as well as image workflow processes in general, based on extensive image analysis technology. Elpical, established in 1997 by a management buy-out of the Electronic Imaging department of Victor Hasselblad AB, is a leading specialist in digital image enhancement and management.

Elpical‘s key products include Claro Premedia, Claro Single, Claro Layout, 4LeafClover and EmailManager. Elpical is an ideal partner for software suppliers and integrators who want to integrate Elpical  technology into their own applications, Elpical has concluded an OEM agreement with, among others, OCÉ© for the enhancement of embedded images inside PDF documents.

PDF2PRINT – a website integration built with callas pdfToolbox for automated pre-flighting and correction

Fred Soar
Fred Soar - Managing Director

Focus on customers

Soar Printing, an Auckland based company that was founded back in 1920 as a family busi-ness, is considered to be at the forefront of the printing industry in New Zealand. Soar Print-ing now employs over 70 people and they offer an extensive range of services, from short run digital printing to long run offset printing and large format poster prints. Within their specific industry segments, the Soar divisions are market leaders utilizing the latest technology to de-liver the best possible result. They are constantly evaluating and adapting new technologies that will add extra value for their clients. This is especially true with their commitment to en-vironmental issues and the ongoing policy of sourcing the most environmentally friendly pro-cesses and products.

“The printing industry has changed radically since we started out but one thing has remained the same – behind every single job is a customer who wants it done right. Soar Printing under-stands this. It is the heart of our culture. It guides our investment in new technologies and it helps us to continually evolve our business. We need to grow with our customers’ business and be aware of the trends and opportunities they are facing globally. From the smallest print job to the most complex, we want our customers to have the utmost confidence in our company” Fred Soar – Managing Director Soar Printing.

Remove costs of quoting, preflighting and job creation

Soar Printing mainly focuses on printing for commercial business such as marketing material, business forms, Point of Sale display items and packaging. They can count brand names like Nestlé, Estéé Lauder, ASB Bank, Telecom New Zealand, Air New Zealand and Sky City Casino amongst their clients.

“We’ve noticed a big change in the printing industry over the past few years” says Fred Soar.“Print runs are getting shorter, and printing has been substituted by other means of mar-keting communications such as social media and online marketing. We at Soar Printing try to adapt to these new trends by making sure we can offer reduced setup costs, taking care of short-er runs and offer more RIP print services”

Anticipating this new trend in the printing industry and entering a new market, Soar Printing wanted to offer a WEB2PRINT solution for people who know how to use Adobe products and how to create print ready PDFs. Soar Printing was looking for a way to provide instant quot-ing and instant preflighting to people and at the same time remove the cost of quoting, pre-flighting and job creation.  

Streamline preflight processes online and in-house

With callas software the first WEB2PRINT model has been setup as an independent store-front, targeting new customers throughout New Zealand.

The ease of setting up preflighting with callas software offers them to further streamline the preflighting process internally.  So it is not only an online tool, but also an application used in-house. And all this can be done with only one pdfToolbox Server.

The geographical distance between Soar Printing and callas software did not cause any issues. “The fact that callas software is situated in Europe and we in New Zealand created no problems at all. The model was developed over 6 months. Early problems were quickly lined out and some-times the time difference made it easier because the problems were solved over night.  It was an interesting way to work.”

Offer standard and personalized products

PDF2PRINT is a print upload portal build with callas pdfToolbox that allows preflighting and correction. It is an affordable and fast way to do easy print jobs without sacrificing quality. PDF2PRINT uses the newest digital and offset machines for highest standard. In order to offer amazingly low prices, Soar Print has kept a standard range of products that can be ordered through PDF2PRINT which include business cards, flyers, postcards, brochures and posters.

What happens in the background, when a customer orders through the PDF2PRINT button? The file appears on Soar printing’s server with the order and the price that was ordered at. This file is then automatically transferred into a job ticket in the reminder system. Once this is done, the production can be started. In the background, calculations are running to work out where the break is between digital and offset printing for each product and price accordingly.
Depending on those calculations, the order is printed either on an HP Indigo 5500 digital printing press or on a Heidelberg Anicolor press.

Look into the future

The callas software was installed about a year ago and was launched earlier this year. Soar Printing started a marketing campaign, which includes online marketing and direct market-ing, to attract new businesses. So far, there has been a lot of traffic on the website, a lot of visi-tors, a lot of sightseeing and orders are coming in.
In the future, Soar Printing is looking to expand their web to print products. Their next in-vestment will be more business-to-consumer oriented, offering online design options to ena-ble customers to do both design and order online.

“My web developers and me had a look at a few products but we felt that callas software fitted the bill best” , states Fred Soar. “It’s quite easy to use and it gave us what we want. What really stood out was the ability to set your own preflight parameters to your own work environment and the option to provide error messaging as well as other options for auto fix” he concludes.

PDF2PRINT – a website integration built with callas pdfToolbox for automated pre-flighting and correction

pdfToolbox brings Formula 1 power to our web-based solutions

Andy Psarianos
Andy Psarianos - F.E.Burman director in charge of development

Founded in 1958, London based F.E.Burman Limited is a well known supplier of high quality short run printing and digital media services. However, for numerous British publishing houses, F.E.Burman is also a synonym for rock solid web-based production tools. The company supports its customers in a variety of print and data handling tasks including magazine production, handling advertising mate-rial, and commercial print and mailing services. Clients include publishing houses such as Condé Nast Publications, The Guardian Newspaper Group, the British Medical Journal and The Economist.

Costly problems belong to the past

Before investing in pdfToolbox, F.E. Burman already gained some experience with pdfInspektor (a callas PDF preflight solution, now integrated in pdfToolbox). They used it to check incoming PDF files in Auditor, an in-house developed web-based tool for publishers. Auditor centralizes the final stages of checking and distributing PDF files, allowing publishers to manage their publications more effectively. Andy Psarianos, F.E.Burman director in charge of development comments: “With Auditor, it takes editors only a few seconds to check complex PDF files. Running in the background, pdfToolbox checks every single PDF file, and depending on the type of application, some basic things like hair-lines, spot colors and transparency are fixed automatically. Files that aren’t suitable for printing are immediately identified, and detailed reports help editors and employees to quickly identify and solve eventual problems. Before, our prepress employees often had to open defective files manually, find the problem, and then attempt to correct it. These time-consuming procedures and costly problems definitely belong to the past. To put it bluntly, it’s the most accurate preflight engine we ever worked with.”

Unanimously elected as the winner

When F.E. Burman started to develop web-to-print solutions for their customers, the in-house development team quickly realized that tasks such as PDF creation, PDF checking, online proofing, color management and imposition, had to be fully automated in order to flawlessly and timely process the vast variety of incoming files. Andy Psarianos explains: “Creating a good-looking and user friendly front-end is one thing, but making sure that the back-end is capable of processing all the incoming files is another. Let me give you an example: For Savills, a global real estate service provider with more than 80 offices worldwide, we created more than 200 different templates to choose from. Things like layout, imposition and paper are different for most templates, so manual intervention is no option. We knew callas had a solution that fit our requirements, but we had to see it with our own eyes. After some extensive testing, and comparison with other solutions, pdfToolbox was unanimously elected as the winner. Our previous experience with pdfInspektor, and the fact that these products are very accurate and extremely easy to integrate played an important role in our decision.”

F.E.Burman Reception Desk Installation and implementation was very fast. In just a matter of days, the in-house development team was able to automate the complete web-to-print back-end process. They no longer have to worry about selecting the appropriate print queue or imposition scheme, and thanks to the intuitive user-interface, creating a new or modifying an existing workflow is like a walk in the park.

Andy Psarianos Andy Psarianos concludes: “pdfToolbox allows us to build some very powerful and sophisticated products. It’s like putting a Formula 1 engine in our web-based products. We have processed literally hundreds of thousands PDF files through the software, and I honestly can’t recall of one instance where we ever had to question the accuracy of the system. The quality of the imposition and preflight engine is outstanding and the software is extremely user friendly with clear instructions on how to use it. Implementation by our in-house development team was therefore very easy, fast and successful. Thanks to the increased speed, repeatability and accuracy brought in by pdfToolbox, we help our clients work faster and more effectively. And in the end, isn’t that the real purpose of any solution or business.”

pdfToolbox brings Formula 1 power to our web-based solutions

Mercedes-Benz Schweiz AG in the driving seat with pdfaPilot from callas software

Fabrizio Tuena
Fabrizio Tuena - IT - Business Consultancy & Service Management at Mercedes-Benz Schweiz AG

Mercedes-Benz Schweiz AG wanted to achieve greater transparency, uniformity, security, and compliance in its document storage. With its decision to use consistent electronic long-term archiving in PDF/A, the company is very much following the current trend. Mercedes-Benz Schweiz AG was looking for a flexible, powerful, and stable solution. Today, pdfaPilot from callas software, provider of powerful PDF technologies for publishing, print production, and document archiving, is used for the fully automatic conversion to PDF/A of the 30,000 or so order-related documents that arise each year. Mercedes-Benz Schweiz AG will therefore be able to give up its physical archive and benefit from the advantages of long-term, uniform, digital storage.

Mercedes-Benz Schweiz AG is a subsidiary of Stuttgart-based Daimler AG. As a sales and marketing company with around 400 employees, the company is involved with the registered brands for passenger cars Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz and ‘smart’ and the Mercedes-Benz and FUSO brands for commercial vehicles. For the many documents produced during order processing for vehicle fleet business with suppliers and dealers the company used a document management system in conjunction with its system for order processing, but this did not include an archiving function that enabled documents to be stored electronically in compliance with legal regulations. Instead, the scanned documents were saved in image format and the original documents archived on paper. This resulted in duplicate data retention and a large amount of space required for the physical archive.

In October 2011, when Mercedes-Benz Schweiz AG decided to replace the order processing software, one requirement was that the documents should only be archived electronically. It was clear that the company should use PDF/A, the most suitable format for long-term archiving, in order to meet legal requirements. The search began for a suitable product to put this into practice. “We wanted to offer users the most flexible solution possible. We also needed the conversion to PDF/A happen in the background within the application. We were therefore looking for a stable solution to convert image formats and MS Office documents to PDF/A,” explains Fabrizio Tuena, IT - Business Consultancy & Service Management at Mercedes-Benz Schweiz AG.

The analysis of the market resulted in comprehensive tests on three products that made the shortlist – one of which was pdfaPilot from callas. “We were particularly looking for reliable, compliant conversion to PDF/A format and good performance,” says Fabrizio Tuena. “And of the three tools we tested, pdfaPilot turned out to be the most reliable.” The company chose the pdfaPilot Software Development Kit, the programming library that can be integrated easily and flexibly. During subsequent implementation, various questions relating to installation in a multithreading environment were quickly clarified. Tuena states: “The collaboration with callas was competent and very fast, from sales consulting and implementation right through to support for the ongoing project.”

PDF/A conversion fully automatic and flexible

Document-intensive processes are common at Mercedes-Benz Schweiz AG: The company uses them to commission its suppliers to alter vehicles to meet customer requirements – e.g. including interior fittings for commercial purposes or labeling them accordingly. Dealers then take on final tasks such as handover including registration of the vehicle with the authorities. All order-related documents such as the contract, orders for bodies, delivery documents etc. are scanned and uploaded to the new order processing software. There, pdfaPilot converts all documents to PDF/A, thus making them ready for long-term archiving.

The documents are then given a digital signature to meet the legal requirements regarding proof of immutability. Finally, the documents are archived in a document management system from OpenText.

Summary

The project has been concluded in February 2013, and Mercedes-Benz Schweiz AG is very satisfied with the results. “Because conversion is fully automatic, no manual intervention is required. In addition, pdfaPilot is a flexible solution that permits a wide variety of scan formats,” concludes Fabrizio Tuena.
Entry-level PDF/A support, standalone, inside Acrobat or fully automated as Server version

For businesses and government agencies, archives and libraries, that store and long-term maintain documents, callas pdfaPilot is the professional desktop tool to validate and/or create PDF/A-files. It turns all kinds of PDFs into ISO 19005-1 conform PDF/A documents:

  • PDFs created in Office applications
  • interactive forms
  • invoices
  • construction drawings
  • technical documentation
  • presentations
  • newspapers
  • books

With pdfaPilot it is a snap to check whether your documents comply with the PDF/A standard. And if they don’t, callas pdfaPilot contains a wealth of tools to bring them in line. Working as a plug-in inside Adobe Acrobat or as a fast standalone application, callas pdfaPilot offers the broadest PDF/A support on the market in the easiest package. callas pdfaPilot works on single documents or – using its batch functionality – on complete folders at a time.

To process higher volumes of files or to free up operators by hands-off automation, callas pdfaPilot Server provides just that. The hot folder interface lets you setup different watched folders that automatically pick up files and process them. The engine inside callas pdfaPilot is fully multiprocessor aware so it takes advantage of all of the speed available in your server. Additionally callas pdfaPilot Server has load distribution capabilities to enhance performance by using multiple servers. Both the Desktop and Server version run on Mac and Windows. A command-line interface and a full developer SDK are available when closer integration or more fine-grained control is of the essence. With their additional availability on many Unix flavors, the CLI and SDK allow painless integration in a wide range of operating environments. Other supported platforms are Sun Solaris and IBM AIX.

Rosendahls: front-runner for PDF/A compliancy in Denmark

Jens Bjerre Kirkegaard
Jens Bjerre Kirkegaard - Document Accessibility Specialist

The Rosendahls group is a company with a rich tradition and roots going back to 1902. Located in Copenhagen, Odense and Esbjerg, it has offered a comprehensive range of services in the areas of communication, publishing, warehousing and distribution for more than a century. Rosendahls is on top of new developments and continues to be a technology front-runner to support its customers. As many of those customers traditionally come from public administration organizations, Denmark’s embracing of the ISO PDF/A standard had a direct impact on Rosendahls.

PDF/A, the ISO standard for PDF files to be stored in long-term archives, has been steadily increasing in importance, especially for use by governments and public administrations. In April 2011, the Danish Ministry for Economics, Innovation, and Education decided to require accessible PDF/A documents as the compulsory format for all public sector documents. As a full-service provider, it was important for Rosendahls to be able to convert existing documents to PDF/A and check compliancy with the ISO standard when needed.

Well prepared with callas pdfaPilot

The standardisation by the Danish government on PDF/A didn’t take Rosendahls by surprise. While HTML was still the required format for agencies, Rosendahls already saw the European trend towards PDF/A. It started looking for a solution to support this upcoming standard early; the corresponding market research culminated in a visit to the 4th international PDF/A conference in Rome in the fall of 2010. The conference provided a wealth of information and access to experts from the different technology vendors with PDF/A technology.

“This is when we decided to use pdfaPilot by callas software”, Jens Bjerre Kirkegaard, Document Accessibility Specialist at Rosendahls, recalls. “Our requirements for creating valid PDF/A files were best met by pdfaPilot, which also offered convincing reliability and an easy-to-use intuitive operation”. Rosendahls faced additional challenges because it had to be able to provide accessible PDF/A files, which requires support for the technically ‘more challenging’ parts of the PDF/A standard known as PDF/A-1a, but pdfaPilot easily meets those challenges. “On top of that,” continues Jens Bjerre, “callas pdfaPilot offers a range of additional features such as splitting PDF documents or creating hand-outs for example and those come in very handy in our daily use”.

callas pdfaPilot is ideal for the demanding workflow at Rosendahls because it supports direct conversion to PDF/A from a wide range of formats such as Microsoft Office, Open Office, Postscript and a variety of image files. It is built using the same technology licensed by Adobe for Adobe Acrobat and provides seamless scaling for large-volume environments. The fact that so much of the work can be automated gives Rosendahls additional time for the manual steps required for accessible conversion.

Accessibility equals workflow-heavy

For the media services provider who often receives individual documents from many different sources – which creates very different requirements opposed to high volumes that always have the same structure – the ability to automatically convert to and validate PDF/A is particularly important. “We convert either to PDF/A-1a or PDF/A-2a“, Kirkegaard explains, “We usually have to process Word, InDesign, or PDF documents, and callas pdfaPilot automatically resolves many stumbling blocks for us. E.g. it checks for and removes unnecessary metadata, marks or corrects incorrect color spaces or embeds fonts retroactively”.

The fact that the pdfaPilot can ‘repair’ problematic documents or – if this is impossible – recreates them completely from scratch, saves Rosendahls a lot of time and work. But there is still a lot to do for the accessibility specialist Jens Bjerre Kirkegaard: “Provisioning of accessible documents is a demanding and often finicky task which requires a lot of know-how and a few manual steps”, he explains. It is impossible to setup a completely automated workflow, especially when receiving diverse and often-problematic native document formats. But here as well pdfaPilot comes to the rescue by providing manual editing of metadata, colors, images and many other PDF properties.

Meeting challenges in a changing environment – support included

For challenges surrounding PDF/A and accessible documents Jens Kirkegaard benefits from the fast and competent support of the callas distribution partner Actino Software. “Media service providers such as Rosendahls are often confronted with the fact that customers want their heterogeneous documents provided as PDF/A files but they have no idea how complex the required work really is”, Actino director Michael Karbe explains.

Since the installation of the first version, Actino has been supporting their customer Rosendahls reliably and has worked closely with callas software to resolve any questions or problems that arose during the project. callas software integrated all improvements into further development of pdfaPilot. “The continued development of the PDF/A standard also requires adjustments to the PDF/A toolsets”, Dietrich von Seggern, Business Development Manager at callas software explains. “We are highly dedicated to this area and thanks to constant updates to pdfaPilot, we can ensure comprehensive implementation of all requirements and therefore provide optimal conformity.“

Today: Accessible PDF/A documents with pdaPilot 3.0 and axaio MadeToTag

Rosendahls recently migrated to the latest version of pdfaPilot: version 3.0. This version allows embedding documents inside a PDF/A file and implements support for the PDF/A-3 standard. This allows Rosendahls to embed all documents belonging to a certain project or file inside their accessible PDF/A documents. And whenever they want to take advantage of PDF/A-3, the solution is ready for them.

Accessibility and creating accessible PDF files is a topic that really drives callas software and its sister company axaio software. The InDesign plug-in MadeToTag was created by axaio software to simplify and speed-up preparation of Adobe InDesign documents before they are converted into accessible PDF/A files.

Jens Kirkegaard explains its importance: “Accessible PDF files require a clear structure and this is accomplished by adding tags to the PDF. These tags provide additional information about the structure and order of text, provide alternative text to clarify what embedded graphics represent and can discriminate between real content and design elements. These tags are essential for good accessible documents.”

Using axaio MadeToTag, which is now in public beta, it becomes much easier to quickly and reliably add those tags to InDesign documents. Once the document is then converted to PDF, it becomes a high-quality accessible PDF/A document.

“The effort involved in converting agency documents to barrier free PDF/A documents depends on the complexity of the layout. Sometimes one simply reaches the limits of the cost-benefit ratio. For my work, it is a considerable relief to know that a lot of the steps which previously had to be completed by hand are now done by callas pdfaPilot”, Kirkegaard explains.

The PDF/A trend is really taking off in Denmark, so Rosendahls is expecting a major increase in its future order volume. Thanks to callas pdfaPilot and the service from Actino Software, they are already well prepared and equipped for it.

Infocamere, Italy: Deeds in PDF/A for the Companies

Michele Piva - Head of Marketing for the document area of the Italian Chambers of Commerce IT department

When legislation and practice converge, complying with the regulations is simpler. That’s been the case with the deeds that firms deposit with the Chambers of Commerce Companies’ Register - computer documents that from this year on have to be produced in PDF/A format. Infocamere carries out systematic compliance checks on them using procedures from callas software’s pdfaPilot application, which has been entrusted with the prompt validation of the files sent to the Register.

Michele Piva, Head of Marketing for the document area of the Italian Chambers of Commerce IT department: “We’re dealing with a standard that was already widely in use before the Ministerial Decree (of 10 December 2008 sanctioning its use) came into effect, exactly because it derives from the PDF which firms had been widely using for some time”.

Leading edge standard

Of the possible candidates for the long term archiving of electronic documents the PDF/A won out over XPS (XML Paper Specification), TIFF G4 and JPEG. “The PDF/A – Piva adds – was set as the standard ahead of the legislation. Infocamere has invested in it both for the necessity of making available documents that must keep their legal integrity and value over time — considering that the elimination of paper is a must in public administration — and because it considers that, as it is a reinforcement of the PDF, the shift over to it could be taken for granted”.

And the statistics are indeed showing this: whereas from the beginning of March to the middle of April already 47% of the deeds presented to the Companies’ Register were compliant with the new measures, the documents deposited in the following month and a half achieved a format validation of over 58%.

“Looking in particular at company constitution deeds, the most frequent type received in total by the Chambers of Commerce among the over 580,000 analyzed in the period under consideration (excluding the documents classified as ‘other deeds’) turns out to have been in PDF/A compatible format. And for a good 89 of the 105 Chambers the percentage of valid ones is over 80%. This is the proof that the adoption of the PDF/A is being generally and rapidly confirmed over the whole of Italy”.

According to the ISO 19005-1 standard, PDF/A offers a mechanism “for representing electronic documents in a manner that preserves their visual appearance over time, independent of the tools and systems used for the creation, memorization and rendering of the files”.

In other words, the PDF/A files are self-contained and, since they incorporate the information (content, colour, image, text and so on) necessary to display the document, they do not require any additional data for its correct visualization. However, exactly on account of this property, the format must exclude determined functions allowed in normal PDF files such as transparency and multimedia content, and cannot include macro-instructions or rely on links to external resources.
The validation check

“In order to facilitate the file production operations — continues Piva — we have also chosen the blandest compliance to the standard – which corresponds to the sub-category PDF/A-1b, for which no explicit logical structure is needed. Despite this we have noted that there are some recurring errors: on the one hand, the poor indexing­ and aggregation of the deeds attached to the form; on the other, the widespread habit of creating a copy of the document which then doesn’t have the original’s representation (and its metadata) and so loses its validity”.

As well as all this, the possibility of visualizing a document “in PDF/A form” is not in itself synonymous with standard compliance: “It happens — even with Adobe Reader 9, which provides this indication — a source of a widespread error. Thus the only way to ensure adherence to the standard is the validation control”.

To check this it is necessary to use products such as Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro or pdfaPilot from callas software. The alternative is the free service, accessible from the tools section of the WebTelemaco site, which employs the same pdfaPilot tool used by the Companies’ Register office and which enables the validation of any document whatsoever supplying the result online, complete with details of any non-conformities encountered.
Negative outcome — rejected form

“For our validation procedures — explains Piva — we have used the server version of pdfaPilot, which the application we’ve developed makes appropriate calls to, determining the correspondence to the PDF/A-1b specifics. A good number of the people we work with, from service professionals to notaries and accountants, get a great deal of benefit from the tool on WebTelemaco. And, once we’ve received the files, we regularly repeat the checks. If the outcome is negative, the form is rejected”.

“The management application was created over the space of three months from the approval of the Ministerial Decree and required an investment of ­­­­around 30,000 Euro. An expense which has already been repaid by making available a standard that guarantees long term document validity and integrity: a guarantee of uniformity to a defined standard and, therefore, also of quality. Among the further benefits, apart from the return on image, is the improvement of cash flow, since compliance to the standard ensures that homogeneousness which is a key element for its subsequent conservation and concession ­— on payment — to distributors and information agencies who use it for commercial purposes”.

Infocamere, Italy: Deeds in PDF/A for the Companies