Stratus Packaging Group opts for ArtPro+

Leading printed label manufacturer, Stratus Packaging Group, has improved efficiency and productivity, whilst reducing errors, after incorporating ArtPro+ into its prepress operation.

With a workforce of more than 300 people and a turnover of €50 million euros, Stratus Packaging Group (‘Stratus’) is one of the leading manufacturers of printed labels in Europe. Boasting six dedicated sites in France, Stratus provides integrated label solutions to clients from a range of industries, delivering a host of products from adhesive labels, through to sleeves and in mold labels.

Delivering Flexo, Digital, Screen Printing, Offset and combination printing solutions, Stratus serves a number of leading names in four market sectors – food and beverages, health and beauty, industrial and chemical.

Stratus has enjoyed a successful relationship with Esko for more than 25 years, integrating software and solutions such as Automation Engine, WebCenter, Imaging Engine and Equinox multicolor solution into its operations. The company was one of the first label printers to have incorporated a CDI flexo plate imager into its production obtaining ‘HD Flexo Certified’ recognition from Esko, underlining its commitment to quality.

“In today’s climate, one of our main business challenges remains being able to respond to the technical demands presented by producing labels in a mix of small, medium and large quantity, without affecting the quality of the finished product,” said Jean-François Perret, Prepress Manager at Stratus.

“This applies both to our in-store brand customers and for those specializing in e-commerce products. Standardizing reproduction and being able to repeat the color target whatever the printing process – be it digital, conventional or multi-color – and all while maintaining the expected quality threshold, is an everyday challenge.”

Having used Esko ArtPro for a number of years, Stratus looked to upgrade to the latest ArtPro+ software, enabling its team to work across different sites to benefit from the latest innovations and prepress tools, while all collaborating on a centralized server. “The move to ArtPro+ enabled us to switch to the native ArtPro+ PDF editor, while simultaneously allowing us to migrate the entire client history of ArtPro files,” explained Jean-François. “With our lengthy history of working with Esko – either as a customer, online via the user community where ideas are shared, or through working directly with the developers – meant that we were supremely confident in our decision to adopt ArtPro+.”

“Being more modern in navigation and design, the new ArtPro+ interface immediately proved popular with our new recruits; the millennial generation,” said Jean-François. “Its ease of use, its simplicity to learn and integrated control tools combine to help eliminate the risk of human error. With the increasing pressures, short deadlines and just-in-time orders in the industry today, prepress processing with ArtPro+ is a significant support in ensuring operator tasks are undertaken correctly.”

He explained that despite being familiar with ArtPro+ from previous iterations, the latest version exceeded all expectations. “With text recognition, latest generation dynamic marks, conical warping, shrink sleeve and resumption of ArtPro warp grids,” said Jean-François, “together with the ability to convert CMYK to spot color from PackEdge and a full PDF Action list, ArtPro+ 18.1 was everything we had hoped it would be and more.”

Since introducing ArtPro+ into its prepress process, Stratus has benefited from an immediate reduction in operator errors. “Confidence in the accuracy of our processes boosted the efficiency of our production chain to the maximum, while in terms of quality – from processing through to the finished product – we were able to reliably secure the greatest level of customer satisfaction,” said Jean-François.

Jean-François commented: “ArtPro+ works seamlessly in combination with our web platform and the PDF workflow of Esko WebCenter, Automation Engine, Color Engine and DFE digital presses, ensuring that we have full data centralization. So, from a productivity point of view, we have complete automation and connectivity within our business software, and not only with our digital presses but also our connected conventional presses. “The digital transformation of our processes accompanies and complements that of our customers,” said Jean-François. “With the challenges related to e-commerce in particular, such as ever-shortening deadlines and requests for more flexibility from our customers, tools like ArtPro+ are nothing short of essential to us today.”