Last updateFri, 27 Nov 2020 2pm

Innovative new trapping engine from Esko wins 2020 InterTech Technology Award

Esko was awarded the PRINTING United Alliance's InterTech Technology Award 2020 after the company developed a new prepress tool to speed up trapping jobs by up to 70 per cent and make them more accurate.

As a leading developer of integrated software solutions, Esko not only invests in research and development, but also strives to further develop trapping technology. The goal is to provide the industry with better tools to eliminate trapping rework 100 per cent of the time.
"We are very honoured to receive this recognition for the Esko Trapper, which has been so well received by our customers and the industry," says Frank Woltering, Product Manager Graphic Editing. "PRINTING United Alliance is committed to advancing the reprographics industry. This recognition of our efforts to improve trapping, with the aim of increasing accuracy, productivity and efficiency, makes our work worthwhile".
"Achieving a consistent and aesthetic trapping result with the right distance, direction and colour for trapping, and making it as imperceptible as possible, is difficult even for prepress operators," Woltering explains. "If ten different people perform trapping for a job, there will be ten different results. The Esko Trapper is a new trapping product that not only makes it possible to accomplish this task in less time, but above all in a much safer way, so that misregistration gaps can be closed and individual exceptions can be taken into account. This ensures that all colleagues in a team can and do achieve exactly the same trapping result, so that the trapping file for the press does not need to be reprocessed".
Woltering explains that manually performed trapping can be a very complex and time-consuming task that requires experienced operators. About 15% of the time required for pre-press is spent on trapping. "Even though existing instant trapping tools can handle strokes, images and all components within the design, it is still a manual process," he explains. "This means not only that the process can take some time, but also that operating errors can occur. Nor can it be used in a workflow, which makes it difficult to change a setting for global trapping," he adds. "Currently available trappers can apply standards, i.e. rules that can be configured to achieve the same trapping result in a workflow, but they are not very flexible in terms of aesthetics, so operators still have to make exceptions".
"That's why Esko developed this brand new trapping engine, combining an object-based approach with a colour-based approach. Esko has created a new algorithm that can evaluate trapping not only based on the colour situation, but also on the objects," Woltering explains. "Modern packaging designs are often littered with image data that is masked with an alpha channel. These images must be prepared individually by the prepress professional to achieve a good trapping result. But the Esko Trapper does this by adding artificial image data to fill overlaps in the background. With these two improvements, we get much better results without the need for rework when jobs are automatically trapped".
James Workman, Vice President of Technology and Research at PRINTING United Alliance, the largest printing and reprographic association in the United States, notes that the judges for the InterTechTM Technology Award were impressed with the unique ability to make exceptions for overcrowding objects, and keep them for the object even if the design is changed. He explains that some of the judges were surprised that this level of automation is possible given the complexity of trapping designs.
"This is not just an improved method of aesthetic trapping, it was specifically designed to keep exceptions across files," adds Frank Woltering. "This is the first time that this unique functionality has been achieved, which is also protected by several patents."
After completing an initial beta test phase before the release, the new Esko Trapper was offered to customers for the first time in 2020 in combination with Esko Automation Engine, DeskPack and ArtPro + 20.0. As part of Esko's feature launch, one of the company's largest customers gave a detailed report on how the new innovation resulted in a 70% reduction in overfilling time. "This is the average time savings that we received from users as feedback, which leads to higher productivity, greater throughput and increased efficiency," explains Woltering. "The improved accuracy also minimizes waste from errors, both in terms of material and time."
James Workman recommended Esko for the award. “The technically experienced judges have a lot of experience in the industry and are not easily convinced that a technology deserves an award. But they were really impressed by Esko Trapper's innovative strength. "
The InterTech Technology Awards program was launched in 1978 and recognizes the development of innovative technologies that predict that they will have a profound impact on graphics communications and related industries.



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