Automation made simple and accessible to all print shops.
Automation isn’t complicated.
Automation provides several benefits to you, including more efficient job management, a wider pool of job options, and all of your jobs being considered nest candidates. It also helps you reduce waste based on your release criteria and prioritizes jobs based on your deadlines. Automation complements your web-to-print workflows and enables high volume throughput, multisite support, remote production, and dynamic printer pooling.
PrintFactory Automation Key Features :
Some of the instant automation benefits that PrintFactory’s complete print ecosystem can give to your business include:
PrintFactory’s WorkFlow Desktop App lets you connect your artwork delivery, MIS or ERP systems directly into our Cloud Nester, by placing a simple XML file into a hot folder on your local area network. WorkFlow reacts to the XML, by reading the appropriate PDF file to strip metadata that is used, to create a virtual job in the PrintFactory Cloud Nester, beginning the automation process.
For users that do not have XML compatible systems, WorkFlow can be used with the actual artwork file itself. As with XML tickets, only metadata and page size info is used to define the nesting process. Jobs can be introduced into the system for automatic nesting, printing and cutting.
PrintFactory’s WorkFlow Desktop App is included in a Connect Subscription
During the file ingestion process the WorkFlow will interrogate the artwork file and compare the contents against a preflight profile. Depending on your WorkFlow settings the system will either attempt to fix any defects or move the files to a folder for manual checking.
XML job tickets are used to define the file to be printed, its location, the number of copies required and print deadline. PrintFactory’s automated nesting queues will prioritise printing based on the print deadline specified in the XML job ticket, ensuring that you never miss a delivery deadline again – we can’t book the courier but we can make sure the job is printed.
Once your files are in the PrintFactory system the cloud nester workflow takes over. Jobs are sent to the production queues and virtually nested using rules defined in the nest presets, once the nest layout is decided then the job queue sends the command to the applicable RIP to process the job.
In order to ensure the maximum throughput of work the nester queue will interrogate each connected RIP to ascertain the number of jobs and metres to be printed on each device and will choose the RIP/printer with the least amount of work outstanding. Maximising the overall equipment effectiveness for all connected devices.
Production scheduling is difficult at best, not only do we have to assume 100% uptime of all devices, but also that everything will be produced with no interruptions. Cutting and packing artwork is a manual process and prone to delay. Unlike other systems, PrintFactory allows cut files to be produced automatically for multiple cutters simultaneously.
This allows total flexibility in the finishing process, if there is a backlog and the originally specified cutter is not available, simply take the printed job to another cutter, scan the QR/barcode into the cutting software and the necessary cut file for that device will be loaded.
Total flexibility ensures that the chances of missing deadline in reduced to near nil.
It’s all very well deciding print production solely on deadlines, but that can mean that your work might just get printed with more, not less non-printed space (wastage) on the sheet.
At PrintFactory our automated workflows speed up production with ‘hands-off’ prepress, and minimise wastage as much as possible if the option to fill sheets with non-expired jobs is selected.
By applying both production criterias to the files being processed our users will be able to ensure the most time sensitive work gets pushed to the top of each production queue, safe in the knowledge that they will be using the maximum area possible of each sheet being loaded onto their printer.
XML driven workflows can be very powerful, PrintFactory offers production flexibility not found in other systems by allowing users to define grouping rules based on logistics or production requirements.
Physical Groups can be made automatically by including tags in the XML, for example all work for a client can be grouped by adding the client name into the XML, this forces the system to nest all the customer’s work together. By adding a further layer of information, say location in the Logistics Key then all files for that location can be grouped together – a nest (location) within a nest (customer). This automated collation of files means that once they have been cut, picking and packing is simplified as all the files are already organised correctly. Thanks to our visual job bags, part labels and QR codes nothing should ever get incorrectly packed again.
Automatic nesting, print deadlines, printer routing, multiple cutter support, physical grouping, logistic keys – all this sounds great, but what about tracking all that – how about a good old fashioned visual of my job so I know what I have?
Every job that is produced in PrintFactory is logged and reported in the built-in tracking. Our tracking system automatically generates a job bag with a visual guide of the nest, and a QR code you can scan for the job info, which in turn produces job labels and part labels that you can print and stick on each piece of the nest after cutting. So not only can you produce your print quickly and easily, you can also track it after printing and cutting, with QR codes, barcodes and your trusty eyeballs!
As a default, PrintFactory’s QR codes system includes all the job data created by the system automatically. But system information is not always enough for some of our users. So we included the ability to add customer specific information to the QR. Whether that be office locations, customer addresses, contact information or anything else you need to add – simply popular the User Data tab in the XML job ticket and that is captured in the QR code.
There are two ways to make money, produce more and waste less. PrintFactory’s automated workflows are great at producing more, in less time than any other LFP system, but what about wasting less?
Well after visiting a customer with a pile of odd sized sheets of material we thought about how we could come up with a way to use those wasted sheets. Any nest that is pending in the PrintFactory Queue can be selected, and the sheet size adjusted to match any size (think of those off-cuts) – the system will then look at the best fit of the files that are waiting, re-nest them on the fly and print.
We call it ‘Ad Hoc Nesting’, and its simplicity is its brilliance; it’s our contribution to reducing your environmental impact and increasing your profits.
For more than 5 years PrintFactory customers have been able to work remotely or collaborate at multi-site organisations using our Cloud technology. Customers can submit and print jobs from anywhere in the world without having to use a VPN via our secure Cloud, and also reroute jobs to any available device, even automatically if the scheduled printer/cutter becomes unavailable.
USING A CENTRALLY MANAGED PRINT SOFTWARE WORKFLOW MAKES SENSE FOR SEVERAL REASONS.
It provides a streamlined and efficient workflow that can help reduce errors and delays in the production process. This is achieved through the automation of key processes such as job nesting, colour management, and cutting.
A centrally managed print software workflow can provide a more consistent and accurate output, particularly when it comes to colour management. This is important in ensuring that the final output is of the highest quality and meets the required standards.
A centrally managed print software workflow allows for greater visibility and control over the production process. This can be particularly useful in managing resources such as printers, media, and ink, and can help identify and resolve issues before they become significant problems.
A centrally managed print software workflow can help improve efficiency, accuracy, and quality, while providing greater control and visibility over the production process.
A PrintFactory Connect Subscription includes everything you need to Automate your workflows. Our team of experts are available to discuss more complex installations with you
CASE STUDY - AUTOMATION
AUTOMATION: CONSISTENT COLOUR AND SMARTER JOB PREP
Probo uses PrintFactory to help them with efficient file preparation and nesting.