Star product: Agfa Fortuna Version 6

Jon Severs
Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A software package favoured by security printers

What does it do and when was it launched?

Agfa’s Fortuna software is a modular security printing package for the digital design of security elements. It was originally developed to replace traditional, labour-intensive, mechanical pattern generation devices such as guilloche and relief machines. Agfa says its software enables security printers far greater flexibility than the mechanical devices it supercedes and that it can generate highly complex security designs. Version 6 of the software was launched in December last year.

Who is it aimed at?
Agfa says the software is suitable for multiple security and anti-counterfeiting scenarios. It is used extensively in the banknote and ID card printing industries, as well as in the printing of customs labels and other security documents. It is also increasingly used for brand protection, where security elements are included on packaging to help identify counterfeit products.

While there are many users in the UK, unsurprisingly, none wanted to be identified to provide a star rating as disclosure is likely to undermine security.

How does it work?
Fortuna has 26 modules that users can choose from so a tailored security package can be created for each print application. Koen Heyndrickx, business manager for security printing at Agfa, says that the software provides the user with all the tools needed for the design, assembly, editing and previewing of highly complex security designs.

"Taking the modular approach means that each of our markets has the opportunity to create its own Fortuna software by picking out the modules specific to its need," says Heyndrickx. "And as the market changes the customer can change their Fortuna to fit – they can ‘pimp’ their Fortuna in a very reactive way."

Modules include F-soft (Fingerprint), I-soft (opposite ink selector), J-soft (frame generator), L-soft (line generator), M-soft (mirror tool), R-soft (special rasters) and W-soft (special warp grid). 

How does this latest version differ from its predecessors?
Version 6 includes two new modules: an easy-to-use rainbow tool and a guilloche ‘wizard’ that Agfa says increases the software’s high-security capabilities. Module upgrades include special raster improvements, improved UV preview, better scaling and path definitions, advanced crystal patterns and an improved line generator.

The new rainbow tool enables a colouring process that subtly merges colours for extra complexity in the design, while the new guilloche wizard module enhances the creation of standard guilloches, enabling the user to control and edit guilloches individually, based on predefined characteristics.

"The rainbow and guilloche wizard tools are important additions to the software," says Heyndrickx. "All our developments come from the market – we identified that our customers would benefit from us creating these tools."

What is the USP of the product?
"I think our experience really sets us apart from the competition," says Heyndrickx. "We have seen many off-the-shelf options coming out of South East Asia, but they only offer an ad-hoc solution to what the market needs now. However, what we provide is a long-term solution for our clients that can react and be bespoke for the market at any time."

He adds that Fortuna is used by more than 80% of the world’s banknote printers, which he says is a great reference of the software’s capability and popularity. He explains that unlike off-the-shelf products which make up much of the rival software on the market, Agfa is able to work with clients to create a bespoke system tailored to an individual need.

How easy is it to use?
"With Version 6 we have tried to make the software easier to use than ever before," says Heyndrickx. He reveals that there is more automation in the latest version and that the user experience has been improved to make certain tools more visible. The introduction of sliders and other tools has also helped, he adds. The idea, he says, is that people with a basic grounding in design software programs, such as Adobe Illustrator, can make the transition to using Fortuna faster than was possible before.

What training and support is on offer?
Training is supplied and support is extensive, according to Heyndrickx. He explains that the amount of each depends on the individual customer’s needs and requirements.

"We are not selling vacuum cleaners, we are selling solutions, and that means working closely with the customer to find the right mix of modules and tools and reviewing that on a regular basis," he explains.

How much does it cost?
The pricing for the Fortuna software is completely bespoke to individual solutions. Heyndrickx says packages can cost anything from £5,800 to more than £80,000, and that most customers will start with a basic package and build on that as they need to.


SPECIFICATIONS

Operating system Windows 7 (64bit)
Processor 2 x Intel Xeon E56020 (2.4GHz quad-core) or higher
Memory 8GB RAM
Harddisk two 300GB disks
Video card NVidia Quadro NVS 2951
Monitor 23in
Price from £5,800 Contact Agfa Graphics 020 8231 4983 www.agfagraphics.com
Operating system Windows 7 (64bit)
Processor 2 x Intel Xeon E56020 (2.4GHz quad-core) or higher
Memory 8GB RAM Harddisk two 300GB disks
Video card NVidia Quadro NVS 2951 Monitor 23in
Price from £5,800 Contact Agfa Graphics 020 8231 4983 www.agfagraphics.com


ALTERNATIVE

Xerox Speciality Imaging Kit
The Xerox system uses Xerox’s own FreeFlow software to create elements that can be used for anti-counterfeiting applications within the standard data stream. As the printing process used is standard to Xerox printers, there is no need for special inks or finishes. It can produce microprint, fluorescent markings, infra-red/ultraviolet and Glossmark.
Modules include microprint, fluorescent marking, Glossmark
Operation Xerox VIPP
Price £2,000
Contact Xerox 0870 873 4519 www.xerox.co.uk

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