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Significantly enhanced functions for the Prinect print shop workflow
Four areas in particular have been driving business in the print media industry in recent times – management information systems (MIS), web-to-print solutions, and digital and packaging printing. These developments have prompted Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) to extend the functions of its Prinect print shop workflow in these areas in particular.
In future, Prinect will be the only workflow solution in the industry to offer a fully integrated MIS (management information system). This system is based on the MIS technology developed by software manufacturer CERM, which Heidelberg acquired at the start of the year. The solution is gradually being introduced worldwide under the name Prinect Business Manager. The Business Manager has a broad application spectrum and a modular design, which makes it ideal for various sizes of print shop.
Full workflow integration of management processes with the Prinect Business Manager
The now introduced integration of Prinect Business Manager into the Prinect production workflow based on JDF/JMF is a technology market leading development that ensures intensive process automation, improves transparency considerably, and simplifies data handling. This helps print shops significantly improve their competitive edge in a tough market environment.
In the next development stages, which are already under way, the Prinect Business Manager from Heidelberg will provide a dedicated solution that accesses the same database as the production workflow. As a result, job planning and production data will be available in the same system as, for example, job processing and materials management data. This will give rise to a print shop workflow with an unprecedented level of integration that covers all areas of a print media company and thus offers the highest level of process automation available in the print media industry to date.
“Thanks to the integration of MIS and the production workflow, Prinect will deliver even greater transparency and automation in future. This means, for example, that changes made to jobs at short notice will be implemented automatically in Prinect in terms of both machine selection and materials management,” explains Christopher Berti, Head of Prinect and CtP at Heidelberg. “We are driving forward the merger of two system environments that have thus far remained separate in many areas despite JDF integration.”
Support will still be provided for the Prinect Prinance MIS solution previously offered by Heidelberg. Connection of third-party MIS to Prinect and partner programs will continue.
Web-to-print business models still offer excellent potential for the industry
The market potential of web-to-print solutions (W2P) continues to rise – both for print shops and industry suppliers. In future, the extended Prinect functions for W2P will offer Heidelberg customers the opportunity to move into this market segment with a highly automated solution. Upcoming Prinect versions will offer a webshop interface and a W2P workflow, enabling users to automate processes such as creating mixed forms or selecting the most suitable production technology. The W2P functions also have direct access to the central Prinect database and thus the MIS and production workflow. In this way, print buyers can place orders or issue print approvals online via customized W2P portals. All the relevant information is automatically available to the job management and bookkeeping departments as well as prepress, press, and postpress.
The Partner Program from Heidelberg for connecting W2P solutions from RedTie, EFI Digital Storefront, PageFlex, BrandMaker, Neo7even, and MS-Visucom will remain in place.
Digital printing: Full workflow integration is key to improving efficiency
The Prinect Digital Print Manager, which is used to connect digital presses of various manufacturers, is being expanded and enhanced with new functions in cooperation with Ricoh. In future, a single workflow for digital and offset printing will make it possible to automate the processes of creating and costing a job, selecting the most suitable production technology or hybrid production, and performing inline finishing in an imposition layout. To achieve this, for instance, color management will be optimized in the workflow so that a particular color in the digital print will match the corresponding color in offset as closely as possible. What's more, it will still be possible to connect digital presses from HP, Canon, Xerox, and Kodak via the Prinect Digital Print Manager.
Integration solutions for packaging printing
Due to the highly industrialized nature of folding carton and label production, the complete integration of all print shop operations is even more important for these applications than for commercial printing. Here, too, Prinect offers comprehensive functions for cost-effective production and sustainable data management. First and foremost, Prinect focuses on optimizing makeready times for presses and for die cutters and gluers in postpress with the aim of cutting production costs. Material savings, reliability in production, and optimum repeatability are further factors that play a key role in the further development of the workflow for the packaging sector. In this way, the Prinect Package Designer – the highly productive CAD/CAM (Computer Aided Design/ Computer Aided Manufacturing) software that integrates the structural design in Prinect – will provide graphic designers with contours, 3D images, and dimensions via a special Illustrator plug-in.
This enables them to use Adobe Illustrator to create the graphic design directly using the contour data and to run the 3D check straight away. Sheet assembly functions are also being constantly expanded to meet customer demands in this area. Furthermore, production managers particularly appreciate the clearly structured and precise production information that is used to approve and reliably execute the planning, costing, and workflow optimization processes.
Source: Heidelberger Druckmaschinen GmbH