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Blair Labeling installs Esko Automation Engine QuickStart

Installing an effective workflow does not have to be complicated. Within a week, Denver-based Blair Labeling, Inc. (, installed Esko Automation Engine QuickStart for Labels, and was able to reduce its manual prepress workload by more than 30%, feeding its five flexo presses and new digital press.
Blair Labeling, Inc. (Blair), 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.
Deciding on an easy path to automation
A few years ago, Blair was using a workflow system that was very difficult to operate. “When we were doing custom trapping, for example, we were manually creating pull-backs on the white undercoat. It was a nightmare,” remembers Marco De La Vega, CFO, Blair. There was a slow transition to Esko tools. “We liked working with Esko because their tools were built into Adobe ® Illustrator ®; not as separate software. Once we had some experience, we looked at automating prepress, and decided to invest in Automation Engine QuickStart. 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.
“The integration was seamless; probably one of the easiest I’ve ever been involved with—and I have worked on many,” remembers De La Vega. “I thought we would need months to set this up and I even called an outside company alerting them that we may need their help for emergencies. However, we never used them. It was all installed and in full production within a week.”
“I spoke with Esko a week before our installation. I told them what we do, our process. They did not challenge it. They did not change naming conventions. They visited and configured Automation Engine QuickStart to how we run our shop,” notes De La Vega. Esko installed the workflow, configured it to specific parameters, database queries and smartmarks Blair required and trained De La Vega and his artist on how to operate the pre-configured workflows. Within just one workday, De La Vega was very comfortable with the system.