Graphic Packaging International enjoys reduced lead times and improved prepress efficiency with ArtPro+ - Esko

Graphic Packaging International enjoys reduced lead times and improved prepress efficiency with ArtPro+

Leading packaging manufacturer transitioned from ArtPro to ArtPro+, with complete Esko ecosystem delivering prepress efficiency and productivity gains

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The challenge

To meet the growing customer demand for faster turnaround on packaging production

The solution

Automating processes and transitioning to ArtPro+, the next generation prepress editor

The benefits

Simplify processes, improve prepress efficiency and ultimately deliver more in less time

Innovation, quality, and the highest level of customer service

Graphic Packaging International (‘Graphic Packaging’) is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of carton board and paper-based packaging, with over 130 facilities worldwide that provide innovative packaging solutions for some of the most recognized brands. Working across the food, beverage, foodservice, household, personal care and pet care sectors, Graphic Packaging has a product portfolio that emphasizes renewable, sustainable and recyclable materials.

Over the past 100 years, Graphic Packaging has grown as numerous legacy companies joined forces to create an ever-evolving corporation. Despite name changes over the years, the company and its 24,000+ employees remain dedicated to innovation, quality, and the highest level of customer service.

Increased efficiency to meet customer demand

“We are a very fast paced business,” said Christian Baxter, Reprographics and Technical Design Manager – Convenience, at Graphic Packaging International. “Our customers want products and solutions instantly, and sometimes we have just hours to turn things around. Delivering customer satisfaction is our primary objective, and we are dedicated to continuous improvement through identifying and integrating innovations in every area across the business that will help us improve our service.

“I’ve personally used Esko systems for more than a decade, and as Graphic Packaging was already using Automation Engine and WebCenter, we knew that the latest Esko innovations were delivering great advances in technology. When analyzing our existing prepress setup, it became clear that not only in Europe, PDF had become a common and widely acceptable format making it easier for our customers to submit artwork. The more we looked at ArtPro+, we could see that since its launch it had evolved and been updated with additional features that made our life easier, and so it was a perfect time for us to begin using it.

“With ArtPro+ there is no more file converting from classic ArtPro to PDF, which allows for a significantly more efficient process flow,” he said. “For the last two years we have been going through a transition phase. We had some training after the initial install but quickly realized it was just not required.”


Anything we could do in ArtPro we can now do in ArtPro+ as a PDF. The intention was to simply replicate the process, but we have actually found that it is much easier using ArtPro+

Christian Baxter, Reprographics and Technical Design Manager, Convenience, at Graphic Packaging International, Inc.

Efficiency gains through automation

“Our whole approach is about automation,” explained Christian. “We currently use WebCenter and Automation Engine with classic ArtPro, which has given us the platform to automate our prepress processes. Now, since moving to PDF with ArtPro+, our operators are discovering that it is much more user-friendly, seamlessly linking into Automation Engine.”

Christian manages reprographics for production at two Graphic Packaging sites in the UK – Bardon, in Leicestershire and Gateshead in the North East. “All the prepress is carried out from Bardon,” he said. “We have two operators working 24/6 continental shift patterns, and two working a day shift. Now, anything that comes in as an ArtPro file is immediately moved into ArtPro+, with all the files stored centrally and accessible across the sites through WebCenter and Automation Engine.

“Our prepress team is becoming more efficient with ArtPro+,” he said. “One area where we worked together with Esko has been with PDF Action Lists, which have enabled us to automate our prepress functions in a native PDF format. More and more repeating tasks are handled by PDF Action Lists, meaning that we spend less time to get to our master file, ready for the automated workflow using Automation Engine so that proofs, technical layers, varnishes…all are created automatically.

“The benefits and efficiency of not having to convert files from classic ArtPro format into PDFs has seen an increase in our efficiency. Especially notable is the fact that we can have front and reverses in the same file, so we can step them together, and step it just once. These savings of a few seconds on every file soon add up across a number of jobs to savings of minutes and hours across the shifts.”


Previously, we were having to convert to PDF to send to customers. That step has now been removed completely, it’s much more efficient

Christian Baxter, Reprographics and Technical Design Manager, Convenience, at Graphic Packaging International, Inc.

Accurate, accessible and integrated

“Since transitioning to ArtPro+, the quality of the end files has been consistently first rate, and the ease of use of the software and follow-up support has been exactly what we would expect from Esko,” said Christian.

He said that the ease of use of ArtPro+ had been a significant benefit when looking to bring new talent into the company - and the industry as a whole. “The overall improved software takes away the need for very specialized knowledge in order to be able to do the work. It is a lot simpler to use, so operators no longer need a full knowledge of prepress to begin using it. For example, we have a trainee who has joined recently, and we have gone straight to using ArtPro+ because it is more intuitive and self-explanatory for them to use. It is this ease of use that has helped with the department-wide transition.

“With ArtPro+, we still have access to all the same shortcuts, which was always a big help within classic ArtPro, but there are now a number of additional benefits. One of the main ones of these is the Tool Selector Wheel, which has been a big hit within our team. It is a big change, as it means tools are now just one click away as opposed to a whole series of them, which again might not seem revolutionary but can deliver huge time savings and help drive efficiency and productivity.


In terms of quality, ArtPro+ is helping to eliminate human errors, meaning we are able to produce the same or higher quality output in less time

Christian Baxter, Reprographics and Technical Design Manager, Convenience, at Graphic Packaging International, Inc.

“Then there are the intuitive parts – the warnings and messages,” he said. “If you try to do something that isn’t correct in terms of the processing step, then you’ll get a warning. You no longer need to be a full repro operator to know what is wrong with the file. For example, sometimes a blend mode might have been missed, but ArtPro+ will flag it up. Or a technical element might be in the wrong layer, and the software tells you what to do to rectify it.

“Similarly, Dynamic Step and Repeat does all the stepping in the workflows, again saving time and removing the need for operator input, and the risk of human error,” said Christian. “Intuitive color bars have been a big help to us too. With ArtPro+ you create a dynamic mark just once and the color bar is automatically extended.

“The benefit of using ArtPro+ with our existing Esko ecosystem is that it’s all integrated and the automation goes with our business model,” said Christian. “With everything saved centrally we can work remotely as required, and the fact we don’t have to save multiple files obviously helps to further improve efficiency. Moreover, with the integrated automated workflow, we can now turn things around in minutes rather than hours or days.”

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