Ankit Graphics installs Esko’s Artpro+ and Automation Engine

Tech investments lead to productivity gains for flexo platemaker

Esko at Ankit Graphics
Ankit Darji shows the new Esko Automation Engine workflow installed at Ankit Graphics

Ahmedabad-based flexo prepress and plate trade house, Ankit Graphics, has kept investing and continuously expanding its platemaking capacity. It moved to a bigger manufacturing unit a couple of years ago to fit in additional equipment as the demand for high quality and timely turnaround for digital flexo plates continues to rise. Ankit supplies prepress and digital plates for the narrow web label, wide-web CI flexo, letterpress, corrugated and corrugated segments. Its customers are printers and converters of flexible films, containers, paper cups, and notebooks.

The company recently strengthened its prepress department by investing in Esko’s Artpro+ and Automation Engine software solutions. These tools have enhanced the quality and improved the productivity of the trade house and its customers.

According to Ankit Darji, the hands-on owner of Ankit Graphics, the addition of the two software tools from Esko has helped the company increase its accuracy levels and reduce errors. “With these tools, we have been able to ramp up our productivity. ArtPro+ reduces unintentional errors when editing. Also, many of the files that we receive from customers have several technical problems. Pre-flighting, adjustments, and corrections are necessary before the files are print-ready for output on a digital flexo imaging device. With the Automation Engine, we can correct these mistakes automatically and eliminate the human interface while doing so,” he says. 

Smoothening and de-bottlenecking the workflow

ArtPro+ imports normalized PDF and ArtPro files, saving metadata such as barcode information or screening information. The PDF files edited with ArtPro+ are self-contained and hold all the image, font, and profile information for output and file sharing. In addition, ArtPro+ complies with the latest version of PDF for packaging standards, such as ISO 19593.

Automation Engine workflow integrates seamlessly with any existing infrastructure. The software accepts a wide range of desktop publishing formats, supporting RIPs or file servers and all industry standards such as PDF, XML, XMP, SQL queries, and JDF/JMF communication.

Ankit Graphics finalized the deal for the Artpro+ and Automation Engine in December 2020, and the new prepress and productivity tools were commissioned on January 26 this year. Speaking about his reasons for purchasing these software tools, Darji says that the prepress software that Ankit Graphics was using before opting for the Esko tools was coming up short. The whole operation was hitting a bottleneck in the prepress department. “Now we have been able to smoothen the whole platemaking process and have seen our productivity go up significantly.”

State-of-the-art flexo tech has several components

After investing in a Dupont 2000 ECLF exposure system and a Dupont 3000D dryer in the early part of 2019, Ankit Graphics commissioned a brand-new Kodak Flexcel NX Wide 4260 CtP flexo platemaking system in December of that year. It was the company’s second flexo CtP system – after its initial Dainippon Screen Flexo CtP FX1524.

Ankit Graphics’ shop floor comprises an array of new technology ancillary equipment for producing high-quality flexo plates quickly and reliably for a wide range of customers. Apart from the DuPont exposure and process systems and the Kodak flexo CtP added in 2019, it contains a Degraf 305 DW processor, a Degraf 302 ECDLF exposure system, a Global Graphics Combi letterpress plate maker, and an IST solvent recovery system. The company was one of the first to purchase Hybrid Software’s PackZ in the country. 

Business not bad for a pandemic year

Although Ankit Graphics’ operations in the early part of the 2020-2021 fiscal year were affected due to the lockdown, given the essential nature of packaging business to food and pharma supply chains, operations and production improved quickly. The demand for packaging was resilient, while the demand for flexographic plates remained robust. According to Darji, the excellent results in the second half of the year compensated for the first half. 

“If I have to sum up the year, I will say that for us, the overall business has remained mostly unchanged from the previous year. We lost some customers – we gained some. The overall business has been flat, which is not bad given that it was a year of pandemic,” he concludes.  

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