Industry News

EskoArtwork Equipment Finds Academic Home at Cal Poly

MIAMISBURG, OH--EskoArtwork investments at Cal Poly State University's Graphic Communication Department offer not only digital print and packaging learning opportunities in the classroom, but cutting-edge printable electronics research in the laboratory.

Cal Poly State University's Graphic Communication Department is one of the best-known programs of its kind in the nation. The program is the largest in the western United States with over 33,000 square feet of modern laboratories, including two cutting-edge laboratories: the Design Reproduction Technology Laboratory and the Electronic Publishing Laboratory. The department has one of the largest industry support programs in graphic arts education with the vast majority of its equipment and facilities donated by industry. It maintains an enrollment of approximately 300 students pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic Communication with concentrations in Graphic Communication Management, Web and Digital Media, Design Reproduction Technology, and Graphics for Packaging. The Electronic Publishing Laboratory (EPL) is a state-of-the-art graphics imaging laboratory used during regular classroom instruction with open lab time for the Graphic Communication Department.

"The Cal Poly education emphasizes hands-on learning by doing. Students get experience using professional equipment, which is a key to success of the program at Cal Poly," explains Harvey R. Levenson, Ph. D., department head, Graphic Communication. A wide range of EskoArtwork software and hardware technology can be found in two lab areas. An extremely high resolution CDI with SecuFlex and HD Flexo technology and a Kongsberg finishing table are devoted to packaging work, particularly from flexo and gravure. Along with the CDI and Kongsberg XL 20 table in the flexo and gravure imaging lab, Cal Poly operates the EskoArtwork Digital Flexo Suite, allowing them to position many images on a plate to save plate material and automate the plate cutting process. The graphic pieces are cut, drilled and mounted on a cylinder. "Students at Cal Poly are able to explore some of the latest productivity advancements because the EskoArtwork CDI has inline UV capabilities," adds Levenson.

Cal Poly will be using its other Kongsberg table; an i-XE10 Auto; with its new HP 4000 Indigo digital press to create labels and other materials such as thin gauge flexible packaging and paperboard packaging. "We're going full speed ahead," enthuses Malcolm G. Keif, Ph. D., professor, Cal Poly Graphic Communication Department. "Students will be able to 'prepare' materials online, print them on the Indigo press, and finish them on the Kongsberg table."

Recently, Cal Poly upgraded its software to Suite 10, featuring Automation Engine 10. "Automation Engine 10 is a cleaner, more visual workflow for our students," says Keif. "EskoArtwork offered us an extremely generous license so all our students can work on the software at the same time." Cal Poly uses the software throughout the entire curriculum. In their flexography class, students will work with HD Flexo, pushing the envelope with 200 lpi screens. They will also be creating prototypes in their consumer packaging class and using the Kongsberg table and Equinox color management for the Indigo press in their digital printing class. There are even applications for JDF with a Heidelberg press and a CIP3-compatible Polar-Mohr cutting system.

Cal Poly students used the Kongsberg XL20 for this year's Phoenix Challenge.  In the future they will use both the Kongsberg table and their EskoArtwork workflow for the competition.

Taking advantage of EskoArtwork equipment in the lab Cal Poly has plans to develop a graduate program for printed electronics and functional imaging -- topics such as electro luminescence and photovoltaics -- overseen by Keif. It is one of the reasons why EskoArtwork installed the highest, 10,160 ppi resolution CDI at Cal Poly, the most advanced digital imager available. It allows the school to conduct research into functional materials and fine patterning.