Esko has unveiled a major new release of its Automation Engine workflow solution, which it says is packed with new capabilities, and for the first time, will be available as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

Developed in response to the ongoing challenges faced by its customers, Esko says its Automation Engine standardises processes across all locations, and boosts operational productivity and capacity by quickly and easily sharing jobs from site to site.

According to Jan de Roeck, Esko’s director of marketing, strategy and industry relations, the next-gen Automation Engine is designed and built by packaging experts, for packaging experts, and represents a major step forward for the workflow solution.

“With Automation Engine SaaS, we are giving customers the opportunity to enjoy the operational benefits of standardised automated workflows, while embracing the freedom of cloud-based computing,” de Roeck explains. 

“Not only does Automation Engine SaaS reduce IT infrastructure overheads and headaches – such as flexible up and downscaling of server capacity, security, backup, guaranteed uptime and availability – but it also helps to boost operational productivity and cross-site working.

“This new Automation Engine will make prepress automation more accessible and easier to use for both long-time customers and for companies that are just starting out on their automation journey.” 

Esko says its workflow solution automates prepress tasks and integrates with business system, which in turn speeds up the process and reduces the error rate and need for operator intervention.

On top of the My WorkSpace application and next-gen user experience, the latest Automation Engine includes a new drop zone feature, which Esko says makes launching workflows quicker and easier. 

“Flexible to fit with individual business needs, scalable and customised to optimise individual workflows, Automation Engine has become the beating heart of the prepress process,” says Paul Land, product manager at Esko. 

“Quick and easy viewing of files for detailed quality checks is now made easy with a browser-based viewing tool, while new Jobs and Products views grant users the ability to efficiently search jobs and assets, access files, view their status, and launch workflows from one workspace. 

“Also, using common software across locations is made easy, and the SaaS model means there’s no longer any need to download and manually install the latest software versions onto individual computers whenever a new update or release is issued.” 

"And, being a subscription service, a simple, flexible and transparent tier-based pricing model offers a predictable cost to help with IT budgeting and management.

“With the price including a storage allowance and no bandwidth charges, the SaaS model guarantees a low step-in price and faster ROI for customers,” Land adds. 

“With IT and licensing costs now reduced through automation and outsourcing, this delivers a flexible pricing model that scales with the needs, size and growth of a business.”

Food & Drink Business

The finalists for the Australia Post Online Retail Industry Awards (ORIAS) have been announced, with Lyre’s Spirits Co, Naked Wines Australia and Adventure Snacks representing local suppliers in the food and beverage sector.

Plant-based ingredients system start-up Harvest B is one of six manufacturers to receive funding in the first round of the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre Commercialisation Fund.

Campos Coffee has been acquired by Dutch-based coffee and tea company JDE Peet's. It will join L’OR, Moccona and Piazza Doro in its Australian brand portfolio.