Blair Labeling automates prepress workflow in just one week with Automation Engine for Labels - Esko

Blair Labeling automates prepress workflow in just one week with Automation Engine for Labels

Thanks to Automation Engine for Labels, Blair Labeling reduced prepress workload by more than 30%, while eliminating errors.

Blair Labeling

Company size
20 employees

labels & decals

Automation Engine for Labels

The customer

Feeding five flexo presses & a new digital press

Denver-based Blair Labeling, Inc., a 100% woman-owned and minority-owned business, has been providing multicolored, prime, promotional and industrial pressure sensitive labels – as well as decals, tamper evident constructions, thermals, patterns, tags, hangers and card products – since 1986.

In addition to working on the presses, their staff of twenty performs die cutting, perforating, punching, lamination/UV coating and graduated screens – all in-line. Blair also has a full service art department capable of providing excellent graphic design and prepress services.

Automation has helped us become very productive — and it has been easy to do.
And, as we grow familiar with Automation Engine, we continue to grow and implement new capabilities. I am confident that there is nothing the system can’t do.

Marco De La Vega, CFO, Blair Labeling, Inc., USA

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The challenge

The manual labor was a nightmare

On average, Blair processes about 20-25 individual jobs per day—and each job has 3-4 pieces of artwork on it. Blair likes to gang the products and run different labels concurrently.

A few years ago, Blair was using a workflow system that was very difficult to operate. It could result in misprints with the wrong copy. Or when doing custom trapping, the operator had to manually create pull-backs on the white undercoat.

Once Blair had some experience with Esko tools, the company looked at automating prepress, and decided to invest in Automation Engine for Labels.

I particularly love that now I can search our product database based on a key word on the label. It’s incredible. The system shows us the most up-to-date version of the product, the correct proof and approved changes made to the copy across the entire board.

Marco De La Vega, CFO, Blair Labeling, Inc., USA

The solution

Deciding on an easy path to automation

Installing an effective workflow does not have to be complicated. Within a week, Blair installed Automation Engine for Labels, and was able to reduce its manual prepress workload by more than 30%, feeding its five flexo presses and new digital press.

The pre-configured, easy-to-use workflow solution addresses the key challenges that constrict throughput and cause inefficiencies in label manufacturing. It includes tasks such as packaging preflighting, checking barcodes including full quality report on the barcodes, trapping, step-and-repeat, Smartmarks and control strips as well as automated job reports.

It’s nice that 98% of all our jobs can be done automatically with Automation Engine for Labels. We manually work on 2% of our jobs that involve difficult tasks, but this is the work we would want to do anyway.

Marco De La Vega, CFO, Blair Labeling, Inc., USA

The benefits

More capacity, better management, and fewer errors

Automation Engine has effectively eliminated an artist. And the remaining artist still asks if there is anything else she can do.

De La Vega was also looking for a system that was foolproof. The prepress artist can figure out most issues without help.

Blair has eliminated many operator errors. “The system does exactly what you tell it to do. It will knock out work and show it to you. Before, working on step & repeat, I would sometimes pull the wrong copy. Now the system shows us the correct artwork—and, of course, with the correct parameters, it will print correctly,” says De La Vega.

  • 6% growth over last year, while realizing cost savings
  • reduced prepress workload by more than 30%
  • all the prepress work is now done by only 1 graphic artist who still has spare time
  • correct prints first time, operator errors are completely eliminated
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