Contact Group adds magic with Print Control Wizard

Contact Originators Group (‘Contact’) has enhanced prepress and print performance with Print Control Wizard from Esko.

Contact is a UK privately-owned company established in 1992 and is renowned for its innovative approach to packaging origination, graphics management and flexographic plate production.

The Contact Originators team’s ethos lies in ‘driving the print and brand experience through print innovation’. This absolute focus on delivering advances both in its own prepress production efficiency and quality, as well as its customers’ print performance, has assured the company of its leading market position in the UK corrugated market, as well as ensuring Contact is a beta testing partner for Esko. 

Contact was the first flexo platemaking company in the UK to have gained Esko HD Flexo accreditation in the corrugated industry. Over the years, the company has invested in an ecosystem of Esko technologies over the years; from WebCenter to Automation Engine, Crystal CDI to Crystal XPS. The company has a long-held view that integrated Esko hardware and software enables the most flexible, accurate and efficient prepress operation possible. 

Nick Mitchell, General Manager at Contact Originators, comments: “We are the largest supplier of prepress services to the UK corrugated sector today. It’s a highly competitive industry and has been booming in recent years with the growth in e-commerce and the anti-plastics movement in packaging. Being wide format, it’s a technically challenging print sector and when combined with the lower grammage and recycled materials coming onto the market to drive down costs, we need to be constantly seeking new ways to boost our customers’ print consistency and performance. Our job is to ensure our customers’ presses run as smoothly as possible with maximum graphics performance. This is where Print Control Wizard steps in.” 

The award-winning Print Control Wizard software, part of Esko Imaging Engine, was developed to add a new level of simplification to the plate-making process. The tool uses all critical print parameters and variables – imaging resolution, exposure settings, plate, substrate, anilox, press type and inks – to standardize the generation of Crystal screens, curves and application of surface screens at low resolution within the corrugated platemaking process. At the same time, it removes all non-value-added tasks from the prepress process.  

Print Control Wizard operators utilise an intuitive  user interface that unlocks powerful functionality to quickly and easily create premium flexo plates, where partial dots are removed with Dot Clean Up functionality and tints and vignettes print clean. There is also therefore a reduced need to consider object-based screening, which means less work in prepress, a reduced risk of errors and higher efficiency not only in the converter’s press shop, but also in the prepress operations. A win for both Contact Originators and its converter customers! 

“Here at Contact, what we’ve seen with Print Control Wizard is that plates are now more consistent, and we can produce them faster, which is great for a busy prepress environment like ours,” said Les Jones, Print Innovation Manager at Contact Originators. “However, it’s the benefits to our printer customers – and their customers, the brands – that really stand out. 

“First, we are seeing more color density for less ink laydown on low grammage and/or recycled test liners. Printers are also reporting that they are definitely achieving improved final print results in less time, with associated improvements in material and ink waste – a real bonus in today’s cost and sustainability focused industry!” said Les. 

“We estimate that Print Control Wizard is enabling our customers to save up to 20% on ink formulation too. Working in partnership with them, we are seeing more precision on each job enabling less rework or waste, and using Print Control Wizard they can print solids, tone and test work from a single plate. In real terms, this means they’re making savings on the number of plates used, as well as reducing set up times and ink consumption. We know that the benefits to the printer will vary from user to user, but the advantages of being able to print solids, tone and test are clear,” he added. 

Esko has designed Print Control Wizard to reduce press stops for plate cleaning and make ready times, boosting overall equipment efficiency. It also enables printers to move to fixed palette printing due to the consistency Print Control Wizard brings on press. 

Nick added: “Print Control Wizard is truly taking a step forward for the corrugated printing sector. We are delighted to be a pre-release partner for Esko, showcasing the innovation that both our companies can bring to the market.”