What's The Difference Between Automation Engine & Switch?


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So our company has been playing with the idea of getting some automation software to handle file preflight, simple prepress work, and the like, and were taken through the whole demo process with Enfocus' Switch. Have been comparing that against Kodak's RBA. Then our company president goes to a tradeshow and stops by the Esko booth who suggest he look at Automation Engine. He was a bit confused, expecting to be talked to about "Switch", and he comes back and asks us the difference between Switch and Automation Engine. I realize we've all been using "Enfocus" and "Esko" interchangeably and have no idea. Seems like one company is the parent of the other?

I go to both products' websites and they honestly look like they do mostly the same thing. Maybe a few unique bits to one, but it's hard to tell. Were these competing products that are now owned by the same parent/child companies? What differentiates one from the other? Is one "cheaper" and simpler and the other more robust? Any help would be great. The guy who was supposed to contact us about Automation Engine after the trade show is pretty slow in contacting us (waiting weeks) so I haven't been able to ask him yet.

One of the main powers of Switch is neutrality and integration.
Switch will work with any workflow, database, file, Imposition, software, etc... it is easy to integrate with anything.
As far as I know, Danaher corporation owns both Esko and Enfocus, but they are different entities, according to ABC (I would assume there is some exchange of knowledge and technology between them).
If you look at Business directory of Danaher, they list Esko as their company, but not Enfocus.
Let me try and shed some light on this. I am sure others will contribute as well.
  • ”Enfocus Switch is a neutral automation platform that offers rule-based automation with main focus on file delivery, routing and integrating 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] party products to provide automated file manipulation in commercial print, sign and publishing environments.”
  • "Automation Engine offers a dedicated and integrated workflow solution including specialized processes and technologies to serve the complete packaging and labels supply chain."
Enfocus is an Esko company which in turn is owned by Danaher.

Differences in total price of these solutions depends largely on which 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] party products are required and if these are already present or not and on the amount of integration and configuration that is required.

Hope that helps. You can always PM me if you have additional questions.
As already mentioned, Switch is an Enfocus product and Esko owns Enfocus. In fact, much of the preflight capability inside of Automation Engine is the Enfocus Pitstop Engine. Esko adds to that with other workflow controls and non Enfocus action lists. Both systems are capable of handling all of the RBA type scenarios from Kodak and both are (in my opinion) more user friendly than Prinergy.

Think of this as if you were purchasing a new computer:

While the Switch computer is cheaper, it has just the basic operating system loaded with no other applications. Sure, it will do some functions but you are going to want to add additional software to it (imposition, trapping, ripping, etc.). Adding that functionality generally requires you to A) purchase those third party solutions and B) work with at least one 3rd party integrator to get everything to work. Enfocus/Switch relies on third party integrators for installation, setup, training, etc.

The Automation Engine costs more out of the box, but it has all or most of the software needed for prepress across any market segment (including Commercial Print and Sign And Display) already pre loaded and ready to go. Automation Engine can also integrate with other third party software as well as communicating with external databases and web APIs much like Switch. Esko/Automation Engine has US based installers, trainers, and support staff. Automation Engine connects to Esko's RIP (Imaging Engine) as well as Esko's web portal/project management tool (WebCenter). It also nicely ties in with Esko's other tools such as Deskpack (Various tools for Illustrator -including Variable Data), ArtPro+ (High End PDF Editor), Artios CAD (Structural design), and of course we can't forget the Kongsberg cutting tables. Kongsburg (another Esko brand) tables are used for outputting sign and display work as well as cutting other materials for plates, blankets, folding cartons, labels, keychains, clothing, corrugated boxes etc. etc.

Long Story short:

Switch = Cheaper with less functionality out of the box.
Automation Engine = More expensive but has more capabilities ready to go on day one.
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Fantastic responses, thank you. Makes a lot more sense now, the difference between the two, and I now understand why our Switch quote included a PitStop Server license and was from a 3rd-party integrator!


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