Art of Alliances – Enfocus and Ultimate prepress workflow


Enfocus and Ultimate TechnoGraphics will showcase their latest integrated solutions to automate workflow at Print 18, starting 30 September 2018. Eleven years ago, these two industry-leading companies decided to establish a partnership to combine their innovations that is considered today as pioneering and trendsetting in the integration of different prepress workflow software. Ultimate Impostrip was in fact the first hot folder automated imposition solution that was integrated into Enfocus Switch.

A combination of workflow software solutions

Before 2007, Enfocus Switch and Ultimate Impostrip were standalone solutions to eliminate bottlenecks in prepress. Enfocus Switch was famous for its ability to receive, sort and process files of any type, in a very smart way. Elaborate automation features provided hands-off processing, eliminating the touchpoints print service providers were typically confronted with when dealing with files that they received from their customers. Configurable Switch flows brought a high level of consistency, quality and flexibility to the prepress process, while Ultimate Impostrip optimized the imposition phase of the prepress workflow. Together, they brought workflow automation to a higher level.

So it was completely natural for them to partner and share their unique expertise to improve the experience of their mutual customers. “There’s a saying that goes like: ‘Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.’ Deciding to partner with Enfocus back in 2007 was an easy decision. From the beginning, this collaboration has been beneficial to everyone, especially to the digital print service providers,’’ shares Julie Watson, chief executive officer of Ultimate TechnoGraphics.

For 11 years, this profitable partnership has optimized every aspect of imposition as an integrated part of customer’s prepress workflow with the flexibility and dynamic intelligence needed in automation to meet today’s demands for gang run efficiency, book signatures or on-demand booklets. Shorter runs, varying output sizes, multiple different orders each day and now finishing automation – Ultimate Impostrip users gain an increased return on investment, while Switch customers receive new capabilities and benefits over increasingly complex printing projects that can be delivered on time and on budget.

Today, the integration of Ultimate Impostrip and Enfocus Switch is used by customers all over the world as one simple solution to automate their prepress workflow: “We automate our direct mail process with Ultimate Impostrip and Enfocus Switch. After some implementation support, we had no problems with our set-up. So far, we are not missing any features, and everything has been working very well,” says Christian Sigge from Vögeli, AG, a printing company based in Langnau, Switzerland.

A partnership leaning forward

Both companies agree this partnership helped them adapt to today’s key trends and be prepared for the challenges of tomorrow. To simplify integrations and have customers take full advantage of the automation features within both companies’ products, Ultimate developed the Ultimate Impostrip configurator for Switch. The configurator is now at Version 11 and supports integration with Ultimate Impostrip Automation and Ultimate Impostrip Scalable for Windows v.8 and onwards, and Ultimate Impostrip Solo for Mac v.9.4 and onwards. All are capable of running on different computers with different operating systems, giving users ultimate flexibility in workflow options and automation. The Ultimate Impostrip configurator comes standard with Switch and can also be downloaded from

In early 2018, Ultimate TechnoGraphics took it a step further by taking advantage of the Enfocus Appstore. Being part of Enfocus’ customer-centric ecosystem, the Enfocus Appstore enables anyone with a creative mind to enrich Switch features through the development of apps. In close collaboration with Impressed, a Germany-based distributor and integration partner for both Ultimate TechnoGraphics and Enfocus, the Ultimate Impostrip UICL Integration app and the Ultimate Impostrip Redirection Integration app were released, providing extra cost-savings and more efficiencies to imposition workflows. Before committing to a subscription or one-time license purchase, the apps can be tried for free for 30 days, giving customers ample time to run tests with their own production files and experience the power of the solution.

Being prepared for new challenges

Print service providers need the flexibility to rapidly adapt their workflow when requirements change. The print market has experienced profound changes in past years – consolidation and competition in price, quality and services come to mind. To survive, printers had to move out of their comfort zone and many chose to diversify.

Expanding in one or more directions brings new challenges that need to be overcome. For one, there’s no single vendor solution that will address all the different needs. Also, many customers don’t want to lock themselves in and be tied to one vendor. Instead, they look to invest in best-in-class solutions from different vendors. The challenge is making these dispersed multi-vendor solutions work cohesively and in a fully automated way. This is where partnerships come in whereby all vendors are committed to provide the best possible integrated experience and service to their shared customers.

“I’ve been saying this for some time now and it does sound harsh, but some print service providers need to diversify if they wish to survive, while others will need to automate their processes, since this is no longer a nice-to-have feature but a necessity,” says Wim Fransen, managing director at Enfocus. “It’s basically the last call to action. Our longstanding partnership with Ultimate TechnoGraphics helped many printers make the right choices in their quest to diversify and helped automate many of their workflow challenges. With our continuous investment in a customer-centric eco-system, customers will continue to benefit from this strong partnership as they will see new automation possibilities being offered to them.”

Enfocus and Ultimate TechnoGraphics’ partnership made waves in the printing business at its inception, setting an example to other companies to do the same. It is still an example of combining two sets of strength and expertise, to build something greater.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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