As HP Indigo’s digital labels and packaging printing capabilities expand and become more sophisticated, HP Indigo technology has become the leading mainstream solution in the market, marking a turning point in the industry.
Utilizing these innovative technologies, print providers can now produce runs efficiently and cost-effectively, and deliver the innovative products that marketing agencies need to communicate with customers. Seasonal messaging, market test designs, on-package offers, customized and personalized products, and multiple language editions are just a few examples of the steadily growing need for versioned, multi-SKU printing.
To efficiently meet these challenges and ensure business success, it is crucial to adopt workflow automation solutions. Workflow automation eliminates the re-entry of job information, thereby reducing error rates and improving productivity. It also enables more efficient communication from point of order to fulfillment, as well as real-time job tracking and reporting. Ultimately, it helps converters become more competitive and profitable.
HP SmartStream Labels and Packaging solutions create a complete ecosystem that offers total workflow automation. HP Indigo has teamed with market-leading partners to offer an array of well-integrated solutions designed for the unique needs of labels and packaging converters. This ecosystem drives superior quality, efficiency, and profitability by enabling converters to increase the number of jobs produced per shift without the expense of additional staff.
In a highly competitive printing market, the ability to deliver fast, high-quality solutions and competitive prices is the key to success.
The growing need for shorter runs makes this task even more challenging as it requires handling of hundreds of SKUs per day. This makes a dedicated management information system (MIS) specializing in label printing very important. Such a system provides overall end-to-end business management, production control, and monitoring through all steps of label and packaging production.
Label Traxx and CERM—HP Indigo’s recommended MIS vendors for label production
Both Label Traxx and CERM collaborate with HP Indigo and its partners to ensure a fully integrated and connected workflow via complete business MIS and automation solutions. The systems include planning and scheduling modules, over-the-web interface for business-to-business relationships, order submissions, job tracking, and most importantly—output of a job ticket for all job production steps through fulfillment. This eliminates the need to retype job information following the point of order, automating the whole process up to the press print queue. The Label Traxx and CERM systems are compatible with industry standard formats and are open to any job order source to enable further automation of the end-to-end process. Both solutions have a JDF (Job Definition Format) workflow link with HP SmartStream Labels and Packaging Print Server, helping HP Indigo customers to streamline administration, eliminate errors, reduce overheads, and increase profits.
Enhanced profitability through web-to-print services
Web-to-print services allow customers to make new, structured orders or customize and reorder frequently purchased products with minimal intervention, while protecting brand identity and observing internal procurement rules. Giving customers their own branded print procurement portal, with a simple and effective ordering solution, reduces the internal cost of sales with a corresponding increase in margin. It frequently generates a positive impact on order volume and customer loyalty.
PrintSYS Catalog and PrintSYS PrintShare by Prisme Technologies make up the PrintSYS platform, forming a simple and intuitive cloudbased job definition, customization, and ordering system. This gives customers access to ordering and quoting tools and their static or customizable catalog items through any browser. Offered as a Software-as-a-Managed-Service (SaaMS) and customized for the labels and packaging market, PrintSYS can be integrated with an existing MIS and with workflow software for an end-to-end solution. Prisme Technologies offers a fully managed services support structure for implementing and managing affordable web-to-print solutions.
Digital Front End workflow leads productivity
HP SmartStream Labels and Packaging Print Servers provide printers and converters with the most advanced tools in the industry for streamlining pre-press processes. The suite of HP SmartStream Labels and Packaging Print Servers has integrated solutions for enhanced performance and extended capabilities, and includes:
- HP SmartStream IN050 Labels and Packaging Print server, Powered by Esko, for HP Indigo WS4000 Series Digital Presses
- HP SmartStream IN100 Labels and Packaging Print server, Powered by Esko, for HP Indigo WS6000 Series Digital Presses
The servers support ICC profiles, integral PDF, step and repeat, advanced PANTONE® color conversion tables, and automated workflow through hot folders and job tickets. The solutions enable future scalability to accommodate color workflow tools and connectivity for Esko’s centralized workflow system. In addition, the HP SmartStream Labels and Packaging servers feature a capability to connect directly with any MIS system from the DFE via JDF protocol and consequently provide better job tracking, cost estimation, and faster turnaround.
HP SmartStream Labels and Packaging Color Kit, Powered by Esko, is an integrated solution that quickly creates profiles that match PANTONE and spot colors, and specific customer brand requirements with very little waste. This enables printers to produce more short runs and enhance overall productivity.
HP SmartStream Labels and Packaging VDP Tools, Powered by Esko, is a perfect complement to the HP Indigo labels and packaging press portfolio. It can be used to print unique elements including singular numbers, text, barcodes, or images. The advanced VDP tools support job creation with simple or complex variable elements in the Adobe® Illustrator® environment.
Optimized for labels and packaging design needs, VDP tools include plug-ins for VDP file creation, integrated barcode generation, and an advanced step and repeat tool. The application is also offered with optional scalable RIPs, to meet any VDP performance requirements.
HP SmartStream Designer is an entry-level offering for VDP authoring. It’s a plug-in for Adobe® InDesign® that enables the addition of personalized elements, images, text, and colors to any job. In addition to VDP definition, the application includes graphic design and simple imposition. The user interface is easy to learn and to use, supporting flexible database manipulations.
Pre-press automation solution
Esko’s Automation Engine integrates and automates all design and prepress activities in one workflow for label converters and packaging printers, providing a unified hybrid workflow for both digital and analog printing devices. This client-server software provides enhanced data management, reduces operator intervention, and automates tasks and communications. The Automation Engine is an enterprise-ready workflow that enables unparalleled automation with extensive MIS integration capabilities and excellent scalability.
The HP SmartStream IN100 Labels and Packaging Print Server, Powered by Esko, has a proprietary and bi-directional point-to-point connection with Esko’s Automation Engine. The Automation Engine contains a built-in job ticket called “Digital Press” that enables the assignment of all job parameters for use by the print server. The job ticket automation allows jobs to run automatically directly from the point of order approval on the MIS, through the Automation Engine and the print server, to the press.
Streamlined design and creation tools
HP Indigo supports multiple solutions for the design stages. Esko’s plug-in for Adobe® Illustrator®, for interactive 3D packaging design, builds realistic structural models of standard flexible packaging and folding cartons in a matter of minutes. Studio reduces the need for costly mock-ups and design errors are spotted faster.
Visualizer by Esko visualizes finishing effects such as metallic and fluorescent inks, foils, varnishes, embossing, and reflections. Visualizer dramatically decreases the need for printed mock-ups, saves costs, and shortens time to market.
WebCenter by Esko is a centralized, secure storage for reviewing and approving documents. WebCenter projects can contain any type of document, including CAD files, graphic files, spreadsheets, proposals, purchase orders, and customer specifications. Once approved for
production, a job ticket is automatically generated for Automation Engine for supporting automated workflow.
Plato, DeskPack, and ArtPro are some additional solutions from the broad and versatile portfolio of Esko for pre-press solutions.
Process Metallic Color System by Color-Logic is an innovative system that enables the creation of attention-grabbing metallic special effects using only CMYK and white inks. It allows converters to expand HP Indigo press capabilities and create new, high-value jobs with a small
capital investment. Color-Logic Design Suite proprietary software enables designers to create dramatic effects in minutes. HP Indigo presses using HP Indigo ElectroInk White can produce these jobs on metallic substrates. This proprietary process is particularly appropriate for labels,
packaging, signage, banners, point-of-purchase materials, literature, and shrink-wraps.
Improved print quality via automatic inspection solutions
PrintVision/Helios II, made by Advanced Vision Technology Ltd. (AVT), is a narrow web inspection product designed to meet the needs of the digital printing segment. PrintVision/Helios II is a 100% automatic inspection platform for labels and narrow web printers, providing an easy-to-use and reliable automatic print inspection solution that can detect any print or finishing flaws, on all types of substrates and in any print application.
Added-value modules provide verification of barcodes and variable codes and job verification against an approved digital PDF file, as well as connectivity with MIS, and a complete press-to-rewinder workflow connectivity.
Comprehensive finishing products increase productivity
Digicon Lite is an optimal solution where there is a need for a simple, compact, low-cost converting machine for digitally printed webs. Digicon folding carton system integrated with Kama cutting and creasing modules, a joint endeavor of AB Graphics international and KAMA GmbH, is a dedicated converting solution for digitally printed paperboard. This reel-to-cut unit in-line solution effectively supports flatbed die cutting and creasing for small and medium print runs. Low cost tooling is now readily available and job changes take under 10 minutes to complete.
OMEGA Digicon label converting (available either inline or offline) incorporates flexo varnishing and semi-rotary die cutting, along with options for over-laminating, flat-bed screen printing, hot foil blocking, embossing and inspection. The modular design allows for any combination of processes to be carried out in a single pass, and its sophisticated control system enables quick changeovers with minimal waste. An array of solutions is also available to meet the specific needs of any customer.
HP SmartStream Production Analyzer
A tracking and analysis tool with an easy web user interface for multiple HP Indigo WS6000 Series Digital Presses, HP SmartStream Production Analyzer shows real-time status and historical reports. It supports HP and customer production targets by providing information about the production shifts, presses, press groups, operators, and sites.
HP SmartStream Production Analyzer, well received by HP Indigo commercial customers, is now available for label converters with HP Indigo WS6000 Series Digital Presses, and is recommended with multiple presses.