The Wide Format Automation Suite is OneVision’s software solution for wide and super-wide format printers. The combination of a workflow management system with an extensive prepress package and innovative technologies such as nesting or tiling & paneling automates the production processes of wide and super-wide format printers.
The flexible workflow management system enables wide format printers to define their production processes individually, standardize them and let them run completely automatically while making adaptions at any time.
The integrated prepress package checks incoming print jobs for possible errors, corrects and normalizes them and creates error-free print files (ISO-standard compliant) for a smooth, error-free printing.
Higher throughput and faster production times are easily achieved by automating time-consuming steps. The Wide Format Automation Suite allows wide format printers to achieve the perfect interplay between their printing presses and software. Improve your press utilization and benefit from significant saving potentials in terms of substrate, ink costs and processing time.
"Not only have we increased the number of jobs per day – we've also improved our profit margins. Using the Suite allows us to work significantly more flexibly, saving time and costs."
Michael Hiemann, Managing Director of Siepro KG
Watch our video and learn how your customers' files get all checked, preflighted, normalized and nested automatically with our Wide Format Automation Suite. See also a perfect interplay between between high-speed cutting machines and our Wide Format Automation Suite.
Fully automatic quality control of print data during prepress and subsequent optimization of print data including preflight, converting of complex pages into images, flattening transparencies, file normalization, etc. for error-free, print-ready files and trouble-free printing
An automated nesting technology that lets you virtually eradicate waste completely
A user-friendly page/ file editor to make last minute changes
A workflow management system that enables you to run your production workflow completely automatically, to keep your workflow flexible
Reach the maximum level of automation in your production, higher throughput and faster production times
Significant saving potentials in terms of substrate, ink costs and processing time
Replace time-consuming manual work by automated job tasks (automatic adjustment/ creation of bleed/ creating varnish and white masks)
OneVision's Wide Format Automation Suite offers the following features:
|Workflow Management Solution: job tickets, metadata based workflows, drag and drop workflow editor|
|Prepress solution: preflight, color management, flattening transparencies, creation of printmarks, normalization|
|Automatic merging of cut lines|
|Individually selectable numbers of copies|
|Cut line manager: Accepts all cut line types and names|
|Auto correction of broken or incomplete cut lines|
|Create varnish masks, white masks, missing bleed|
|Tiling and paneling|
|Connection to Zünd Cut Centre|
|Connection to DFE/RIP (e.g. Onyx, Caldera, EFI Fiery)|
|Extended prepress solution: barcodes, merge documents, cut spreads, output as images or EPS, overlay pages|
|Universal PDF editor|
Complex shapes are positioned automatically whilst maximizing material usage
Creation of a separate PDF with only the cut lines that can be used by the cutter
The extremely fast technology reduces waste to an absolute minimum
With the Cut Line Manager:
All cut line names and types are accepted
Broken or incomplete cut lines are fixed automatically
With Tiling & Paneling:
File formats that are larger than the maximum print format can be automatically tiled/ paneled and split into multiple formats for production
With Custom Marks :
individual objects/marks – such as eyelets – can be placed on the page
With Flatten Transparencies:
Recalculation and restructuring of elements
Original appearance of image remains
Ideal file optimization for printing
Benefits with flatten transparencies
Shorter RIP times due to
• Less complex files
• Less data volume as invisible elements are removed
No occurrence of color issues during the RIP
Preflight report: All file errors are visualized as an extra file
More than 130 different errors can be discovered automatically
File issues are identified right away -> for immediate repairing
Preflight results are used for workflow control
With Place Watermarks:
Watermarks ensure a secure preview of images and documents as well as the possibility to mark documents e.g. as "confidential"
Marks file for customer approval
Prevents misuse of customer data and images
Preserves CMYK black
Higher printing quality – less customer complaints
In its current issue, the German trade magazine "Print & Produktion" reports on how the Munich-based specialist for photo services masters the daily fluctuating ordering patterns of its customers. The perfect mix of automation and manual intervention has helped posterXXL to a production workflow on time, high flexibility and more profitability.
The digitalization in photography and new possibilities by the smartphone have opened up new markets for the printing industry. Only few customers still capture their most beautiful moments in photo albums. The vast majority uses photo books, decorate their smartphone cases with a picture of their family or put up printed canvas with holiday photos in their living rooms. Since 2004 posterXXL, one of Germany's leading providers of photo services in digital printing, produces exactly such photo products. In order to further strengthen and expand its market position, it is particularly important for posterXXL "to deliver on the promise we make to the customer, usually within a few days," explains Bastian Götz, Department Manager Plates at posterXXL.
Product variety and high production costs
On a daily base the Bavarian printing company is confronted with a very variable order income. “We don't really know when the customers are ordering, how they are ordering, what marketing campaigns they are responding to or not”, describes Susanne Feller, Head of Production at posterXXL, one of the daily challenges. In addition, there are "many different products, all of them requiring different production times, because for one product there are several different production steps involved whereas for another there might only be three, for example" adds Feller. “Managing the production flow that way that we can guarantee everything is on time, that is the challenge” says Max Baum, Vice President Engineering at posterXXL.
Moreover, for many big print service providers, running production sites in Germany is becoming increasingly unprofitable; high costs for staff, buildings and infrastructure. “Nobody can imagine that a print service provider with quite some manual work can actually work pretty economically in Munich” says Susanne Feller. So how can these aspects – profitability, product diversity and fluctuating order income – be managed while meeting the delivery time?
posterXXL masters this balancing act with a perfectly matched mix of full automation of their production processes and manual intervention. “To save time, of course, we want to automate as much as possible” explains Max Baum. Nevertheless, it is necessary to react flexibly and quickly to changes in production, for example in the case of a machine failure. However, these manual interventions should not have any effect on the production process, disrupt it or even lead to a loss of time.
Automation with manual intervention
Production at posterXXL starts off in a classic way: In the web shop, the customer selects the product ranging from posters and canvases, over photo books and direct prints to printed bags and individual puzzles, and checks out. The next steps are fully automated. The digital printer therefore uses the Wide Format Automation Suite from OneVision. The images of the customers are uploaded via an interface from the web shop to the software suite, that processes the data according to fixed schedules. “An assembly line that processes the files automatically can consist of up to 28 steps in order to get a printable PDF for our machines” explains Bastian Götz. The choice of the production line depends on the substrate to be printed on. posterXXL prints on both, on plates and on rolls. Hence, in addition to rigid foam/PVC sheets or alu-dibond sheets, various foils or photo and picture printing papers are also used. The print service provider also produces various photo gifts using the sublimation printing process. The individual production lines prepare the images for printing and further processing, move them to suitable folders, rename and sort the files, set them up and then create a normalized nesting. This can be set specifically and adjusted for an optimal material utilization: “When is the software allowed to write a nesting, when should it perhaps wait for other pictures, for other orders so that we have as little waste as possible” describes Bastian Götz the nesting with Wide Format Automation Suite.
Via a direct connection to the DFE, the Wide Format Automation Suite sends the nested print file to the printing presses, such as “large format roll-to-roll printers, classic DesignJets from HP and Arizona from Canon” names Susanne Feller only a part of the machinery. In addition, posterXXL uses printing machines from Mimaki (JV300) or HP (Latex). For post-press, the Wide Format Automation Suite "generates files explicitly suited for the post-press systems (for example ProCut by Zünd/Océ)," says Bastian Götz. “This means that subsequent systems are prevented from queues or crashes caused by heavy print file volumes. Therefore we can guarantee a faster workflow. In this final process step the images are cut, “the canvas is mounted, the book is bound and in the end the product is packed up and shipped to the customer as quickly as possible” Feller completes the process.
Flexible automation, profitable production
In addition to the better material utilization, posterXXL benefits from two major advantages due to the automation: Thanks to the flexibility of the Wide Format Automation Suite the level of automation can be adjusted and changed at any time. Depending on the requirements, check points can be implemented in the workflow and enable manual intervention. This allows the photo printer to adapt its workflow to production conditions without disrupting production. Bastian Götz is sure that this flexibility comes from the user-friendly usability of the software: “You don't need an IT education, you don't need developer knowledge to operate the system. And if you really don't get anywhere, OneVision also has a super Helpdesk you can contact by phone or e-mail.”
The independence from IT also counts as one of the big advantages to Susanne Feller. ”What we appreciate the most is that we can work on the software ourselves.” Changes to the products or the production can be implemented and modified quickly and flexibly, without the IT department accessing it. Hence, posterXXL masters the delivery promise significantly better. The different products “all have different production times, hence, managing and timing the different production times and everything that way that it gets out the door at the same time and in time, that's the crux. And that's exactly what we're doing much better now with OneVision” the production manager sums up.
“Not only have we increased the number of jobs per day – we’ve also improved our profit margins.”
Automation in the world of wide format printing: thanks to the implementation of the Wide Format Automation Suite, Siepro KG was not only able to achieve a significant increase in the number of print jobs per day – the company also saved materials costs and improved its profit margins.
Growth rates in wide format printing are impressive. Web-to-print solutions and increasing demand for wide format printing for media and advertising applications mean that the number of print jobs required is constantly increasing. To ensure that these jobs are delivered on time, full automation is now more in demand than ever before. However, how can production processes be optimized as effectively as possible in order to achieve higher revenue and improved print quality? Answers to these and other questions are provided by the success story behind Siepro KG, a wide format print specialist. The company, which is based in Swabia in southwestern Germany, is an established foil printing specialist and supports the printing needs of global players such as Siemens, Meto, Bosch, Fein, Weleda and many more. In the following interview, Michael Hiemann, Chief Executive of Siepro KG, explains how significant savings can be achieved in relation to material costs while also increasing production efficiency in respect of inbound jobs, pre-print file data preparation, and nesting across multiple print jobs.
As a wide format print shop, which products and services do you offer? How high is your average order volume per month?
We specialize in foil printing with an extremely wide range of materials, such as advertising and product stickers, sticker sheets, magnetic foil, backlit foil, wobblers and crowners for use in POS, signage, displays, adhesive and static foil sheets, floor stickers, and 3D money stickers. Our order volume is approximately 4,000 jobs per month.
What kind of machines and print processes do you use in your company?
To produce our thirty different products, we currently work with over twenty large format systems. This involves the use of a wide variety of machinery, such as the OCÉ Colorado and OCÉ Arizona as well as machines from Epson, Seiko, Oki and Zünd. For our print processes, we use UV Offset, screen printing and digital printing.
How has the market for wide format printing changed over the last few years, particularly in respect of digital transformation (e.g., when you consider how online printing has been incorporated)? Which challenges arise for wide format print shops as a result? What were the greatest problems that your business faced?
Online printing has meant that profit margins and production times have suffered a drastic downward correction, while customers’ quality expectations are as high as ever. To combat these issues, processes must be designed to be as efficient and cost-effective as possible. Increasing our throughput with no increase in staff costs meant that individual steps in the workflow and entire production processes needed to be automated.
Why did you decide to acquire the OneVision Wide Format Automation Suite? What were your expectations of the software? To what extent has the software suite changed your production processes? How did you work beforehand?
We had previously worked with impositioning software from Canon/Zünd. This required some manual input, but with the constant increase in orders, it eventually stopped being economically viable. After a long search, and having evaluated some other systems, OneVision’s Wide Format Automation Suite was able to offer exactly what mattered most to us: a comprehensive software solution with workflow management, a pre-press package and innovative technologies such as nesting and an integrated cutline manager, all incorporated into a single system. All these features from OneVision were nearly tailor made to suit our requirements.
To what extent does the OneVision solution meet your expectations?
So far, I think we have only made use of a fraction of the possibilities that the solution offers us and we are already extremely happy. Using the suite allows us to work significantly more flexibly, saving time and cost. The close collaboration with OneVision allows us to give constant, direct feedback. As such, work is already underway on additional solutions, such as barcode integration for Zünd, so that we can tailor all our options to fit our expectations precisely.
Was it difficult to integrate the OneVision solution into your existing processes and systems landscape?
No, the solution was implemented in parallel with our existing operations and was implemented virtually flawlessly.
To what extent was the pre-press process in wide format printing (such as preflighting/standardization, etc.) already automated? Which changes and benefits came about as a result of implementing the Suite?
As a rule, about 90% of the data we received was properly prepared. The remaining 10% had to be “manually” corrected and optimized for printing. Thanks to the Wide Format Automation Suite this is now handled fully automatically resulting in a smooth, nearly flawless production flow.
What benefits does the OneVision nesting technology offer in comparison to your previous process?
The OneVision nesting technology means that complex shapes can now be placed so that not only do we require less manpower, waste is also reduced significantly. Automatic cutline merging means that we can achieve cutting times that we estimate as 70% faster.
Substrates used in wide format printing are highly variable (such as glass, wood, textile fabrics, foil, etc.) and often highly cost-intensive. What effect has the deployment of the Wide Format Automation Suite on your consumption of substrates?
Quite clearly, there has been a significant reduction in the use of substrates and this has also increased our profit margins.
How highly would you rate the degree of automation in the Software Suite?
I don’t think you could ask for more!
What effect has the Software Suite had on your machine utilization and your throughput times?
Our machine utilization actually decreased as a result of the nesting, creating more space for new jobs. Whereas we previously needed to print ten meters for a job, it might be more like nine meters now.
How satisfied are you with the support offered by OneVision? What would you and your co-workers say, if you and they were asked about your experience with OneVision and the products?
We only have positive things to say. The support works really well and we already have a good working relationship. It really addresses each product individually and specifically and is implemented accordingly.
Download the complete article HERE
Image: Siepro KG's high-speed printing machine "Colorado" from hardware manufacturer Océ works perfectly with the Wide Format Automation Suite
The success story of Siepro KG goes even further. In 2018 Siepro KG was able to expand its machine park from two to seven Océ Colorados and thus smoothly master the significant increase in print jobs. The growing number of incoming print jobs and their preparation in prepress is automatically covered by the Wide Format Automation Suite, while the Colorados ensure a smooth printing process. A perfect example of a perfect print production without bottlenecks.
Production process with OneVision's Wide Format Automation Suite: