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How to save time, waste and money with wide format automation

Wide Format Automation Suite

The number of printed products made of various materials in wide format is huge - be it giant posters, sign & banners, flags, vehicle wrapping, site signage, prints for POS or even stickers and tags, produced in wide format printing and finalized to the right size in post-press. What they all have in common during production? As long as there are manual touch points in production, printers will lose their margins and turnaround times suffer. With an automated print production including automatic file workflow and file preparation from order entry through to finishing, wide format printers, sign makers and all other print service providers benefit in many ways. The following questions & answers provide insights into the implementation and benefits of industry software for automation:

1.) What software does OneVision offer for wide format printers, sign makers and other print service providers?

OneVision Software develops powerful and highly flexible software solutions for an automated file workflow and file preparation from order entry through to finishing. The aim is to help print service providers worldwide to achieve a more economical printing process when creating their print products. Thanks to the high degree of automation of the software, printing businesses benefit from very fast processing times, higher job margins, and high print data quality.

Screenshot Workspace Pro X

2.) What is the scope of the product?

From working with our customers we’ve seen that their system landscape and their equipment are very diverse. Having an agnostic workflow tool that integrates pre-press, press and post-press is the key to improve production efficiencies and overall profitability and hence the overall scope of the solution.

Especially in the wide format and digital printing space with the increasing number of piece-of-one orders, automating file preparation and workflow becomes essential. Steps like downloading incoming files from FTP, hot folders or e-mails, opening up incoming files, preflighting and screening them for errors (e.g. color management, format, bleed, transparencies, etc.), correcting errors, imposing/nesting files, generating/correcting cut lines, and normalizing files…These are all very time-consuming steps that can be automated easily, if the PSP has the chance to use job properties that come with the order. OneVision’s Wide Format Automation Suite is designed to automate exactly all these manual steps in print production. By coming up with the respective integrations and connectors to the software and hardware already used by the PSP, OneVision makes its software mold to what the PSP wants it to do. Ultimately, the automation of these steps and the automated file processing together with providing the integrations to web shop/MIS and DFE and finishing device enable a seamless, hands-off workflow.

3.) What level of efficiency gains can be illustrated through the implementation of this product?

Efficiency can best be measured in either time savings, cost savings, business continuity or business expansion: To illustrate this, let the experience of our customers speak for itself.

In 2017, the digital print service provider Siepro KG started off with 2 Colorado wide-format printers from Canon. Back then Siepro wanted to grow as a company and take on more jobs, but the preparation of the files in prepress created a bottleneck. That’s when Siepro decided to get the OneVision Wide Format Automation Suite to automate prepress, file preparation and file workflows. Up until today, the company has expanded its machine park to 12 Canon Colorados, 10 Epson printing systems, 6 Summa plotters and 5 Zünd cutters. All the machines are fed with print-ready and error-free files and the entire production is too a very far extend touch-free thanks to the integration of pre-press, press and post-press. With the implementation of the Wide Format Automation Suite from OneVision, Siepro benefits from a faster, more efficient file workflow and tremendous efficiency gains and now handles over 400 jobs per day smoothly. "Without OneVision, we would not be where we are today. We have so many different products, different laminations, different foils – we couldn't manage that without the software." explained Michael Hiemann, CEO of Siepro KG, to an industry magazine just recently.

Another proof of concept: The photo service provider posterXXL, part of the Fotobox Group, also confirms that since using the Wide Format Automation Suite, the printing specialist has been able to achieve significantly faster make-ready times and higher margins per job.

Production wide format printer Siepro KG
Proof of concept posterXXL

Many others of our customers specifically state the fact, that it is so important that OneVision keeps their standard business running automatically without any trouble, so they can concentrate on new business, particularly important in times of a  pandemic and therefore possible shifts in market demand.

4.) How does it facilitate end-to-end e-commerce?

E-commerce needs a hassle-free link between order entry and the handover to print production and finishing. As a so-called "middleware", OneVision software solutions enable printing companies/departments to implement an end-to-end workflow: through the direct integration to the web shop or the MIS OneVision software monitors web servers for incoming orders, downloads them and processes them automatically. Based on the job properties given in the job ticket, OneVision software sets up error-free and print-ready files, which means it literally automates all tasks in prepress and pre-production, hands the print files off to the RIP and also sets up finishing files that are sent directly to the finishing machines. The software drives printing, finishing and embellishment machines and even provides them with the settings.

Printing process Wide Format Automation Suite

5.)  Why is it worthwhile for wide format printers and sign makers to implement automation software?

By automating file workflows, print service providers benefit in many ways: faster file preparation, maximum utilization of substrates, shorter RIP times, maximum press utilization, short turnaround times, faster delivery times, maximum print data quality and, above all, maximum profit margins per job thanks to fewer manual interventions.

6.) What levels of ability/specialism do users need to implement the software into production?

Due to the modular structure of the software and our consultative approach, it is always our goal to find the best solution for each customer according to their needs. This is highly customer-centric and as we think – unique. The customer is supported by us from a first thorough consultation to find out about his goals and his expectation through a production assessment and a 2-week software trial all the way down to the installation of the software (which takes about half a day) and the training that mostly takes another half a day. Afterwards, in most cases, production can already be run via the software. So, there’s no need to be worried about having to be IT savvy or to have any programming skills to be able to run the software. Should the customer run into any troubles, our Technical Support & Helpdesk Team is only one phone call or e-mail away… We make sure we are always at the side of our partners / customers.

7.) What are the requirements to use the software?

The software can be used locally, virtually or via Amazon Cloud.

8.) What operating systems does the software support? 

Server: Windows or Linux, Client: any HTML 5 capable browser

9.) Which third-party devices are supported by the software?

All relevant printing, cutting and finishing systems, either via direct control, a barcode-supported workflow or hotfolder file transfer.

10.) What interfaces does the software provide? 

Front interfaces: xml, csv, SOAP, REST, json, JDF, databases.
Back interfaces: direct interfaces with Caldera, Onyx, Fiery, Summa, Zünd, Trotec, and generally JDF machine control.

This list is constantly extended according to the requirements of our customers.

11.) How is the performance of the software?

Worldwide, the printing companies with the highest file throughput work with OneVision’s software: This means that performance is very stable and extremely fast.

12.) Does the industry software transparently show both full and partial costs?

Due to the open XML architecture, all individual processes, times and work steps are documented at all times and each module can send reports to leading systems to process them for accounting purposes.

13.) To what extent does OneVision continue to develop the software? Are there any updates of the software? 

The software has been regularly developed for more than 25 years, with an average of two new versions per year. New versions always contain new essential functions, which are developed in close cooperation with our customers and thus enable them to make further gains in economic production.

14.) Is there a trial version of the software for customers? How can I get one?

Yes, after a first, detailed consulting session the software can be tested. For this purpose you can contact us: contact(at)onevision.com or + 49 941 78004-550.

15.) Do you offer training for learning how to use the software?

Yes, we offer such trainings.

16.) What plans does OneVision have for the future?

OneVision is constantly further developing their software based on the input from our customers and the market. Every year we are releasing two new major upgrades that further improve the level of automation in print production. Focus for the next versions is the integration to more finishing and embellishment devices as well as more tools for production management, monitoring and planning.

17.) Is there anything else you'd like everyone thinking about more automation in their business to know?

Be brave: automate! The future belongs to the brave…and the courage to change will be rewarded! By automating prepress and file workflows, wide format printers and all other print service providers benefit in many ways: faster make-ready times, less manual touch points, less errors, maximum utilization of substrates, maximum press utilization, shorter turnaround times, faster delivery times, maximum print file quality, more independence from limited and temporary resources and, above all, maximum profit margins per job thanks to less manual intervention.

What sets us apart in this step into automation? The customer-centricity is what makes us different: Our solutions are modular, flexible and scalable. They mold to what our customers want to do and not the other way round. When setting up a solution for our customers, we follow the consultative approach: we assess the customer’s goals and the current production and, according to the findings we put together a solution that works for the customer. Thanks to the modular architecture of the software this is easily possible. If requirements can’t be met out of the box, we make sure we develop the respective solution. Once customers decided to join the OneVision user family, we still don’t turn our backs on them. Our own Customer Service, Helpdesk and Technical Support do an outstanding job in trouble-shooting and serving our customers in a very unbureaucratic and quick way. We have long-standing partnerships with our customers.

Our customers speak to us directly from the very beginning. We do everything in house: consulting, software development and helpdesk/technical support. Needless to say, that the OneVision software solutions are based completely on our own, independent technology. 

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