HP has released a new One Package workflow suite for its PageWide corrugated presses, which is meant to persuade converters interested in investing in digital printing to buy HP inkjet presses by shoehorning HP’s workflow in amongst the software that those converters are likely to be already using.
At the heart of the offering is the One Package Elite, which is part of HP’s PrintOS Site Flow and offers on-the-fly layout and corrugator preparation as well as all the usual workflow features. Naturally this is designed for use with HP’s PageWide preprint corrugating presses though Site Flow is already widely amongst HP’s existing PageWide press installations.
HP has also included its Link technology of embedded marks and codes to enable tracking and tracing for things such as brand protection, supply chain efficiency and customer engagement. It means that every package can have its own unique digital identity, which is essential since many regions now mandate serialisation codes.
The One Package also includes integration with software from other vendors. David Murphy, worldwide marketing director for HP PageWide Industrial, explained: “We want to allow converters to make a smooth transition into digital and create a streamlined workflow.” He added: “Their customers’ already have workflow solutions but they need a way to integrate our PageWide into their solution. It’s open, not proprietary and can grow with the customers’ needs.”
To this end HP has chosen a mixture of software vendors, typically companies that HP already works with plus some dedicated to the corrugated sector. These include: ColorGate for colour management; Esko for packaging design workflow management, file creation and pre-press automation solutions; and Erhardt+Leimer for corrugator control for handling digital pre-printed rolls.
There are two specific solutions, including PrintOS Box, which is part of the PrintOS solution, and is designed to optimise the graphics jobs as they come into a corrugated converter. It scans every job for errors and then sends those jobs that pass the preflight to prepress to help converters manage digital jobs, which will be shorter and arrive in greater numbers that converters may be used to.
In addition, HP has also worked with another developer, PXI Digital, which makes a packaging design solution called Box It Now. This is an online packaging editing solution optimised for corrugated packaging, complete with advanced libraries so that customers can start with a dieline and add the graphics. It can be used as the basis for an online retail business allowing users to build a box and send it to print, optimising the graphic process in hours rather than weeks. This can now be integrated to PrintOS Box so that users just have to hit submit and it sends it to a corrugated converter.
HP has also put some effort into integrating its workflow with MIS solutions. Ran Lev, HP’s product marketing manager for digital workflow, explained: “For the MIS, we started by visiting a lot of corrugated converters to see how they see digital integrated in their factories. We had to choose between making an acquisition or having an open strategy and we felt this open strategy was a better fit for our customers.”
Consequently, HP is working with Kiwiplan and Witron, both widely used in the corrugating industry. Lev continues: “We are collaborating with the established MIS vendors. Our goal is to have out-of-the box connectivity with these vendors so that the press can be a drop-in experience.” But of course there are other suppliers, and many companies also choose to develop their own management system. Lev says: “So we have developed an SDK so they can do this integration themselves with our support.”
Lev goes on to stress the importance of having the press work with the MIS, explaining: “The press becomes a slave to the factory MIS so the press can be controlled by the MIS, and job submissions can be done through the MIS. There is a streamlined operation from the cutting and corrugating of the boards through to finishing with the press as an integral part of this. Also, it shows what’s happening on the press and how much ink was used for each job and how many boards were printed.”
HP has also announced a new DFE, the Prime Server, for use with the C500, which was officially launched last week. The Prime DFE is heavily based around the Indigo SmartStream DFE, which is itself a proven, widely used solution. It includes advanced colour management for conversion of CMYK to spot colours, as well as an ink coverage estimator so you can drop graphics files on it and find out how much ink coverage and therefore cost that file will need. Lev adds: “It’s also our connection point to the MIS so all the integration happens through this server.”
HP also announced that it now has nine contracts signed for its C500 press, including the alpha test unit at Carmel Frenkel, which is due to be replaced with a commercial version of the press. The first commercial unit has gone to Smurfit Kappa, with the second just installed at LIC in Italy.