Global Graphics Software launches SmartDFE for labels and packaging

Global Graphics’ SmartDFE designed to be part of a fully automated manufacturing solution

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Global Graphics SmartDFE
Global Graphics new SmartDFE for labels and packaging applications

Global Graphics Software and its group partners Hybrid Software, Meteor Inkjet, and Xitron have all collaborated to create a smart digital front end (DFE) for labels and packaging applications to transform the role of the digital press in the smart print factory of the future.

The SmartDFE is designed to be part of a fully automated manufacturing solution supporting industry 4.0 telematics and MIS integration, plus connectivity with automated manufacturing lines via OPC UA. It brings together in one solution the creation of optimized print-ready PDF files; workflow and job automation to connect with enterprise IT systems; RIPping; screening; optimized image quality; and, via Harlequin Direct, it drives the print data directly to the printheads at blistering speeds through Meteor software and electronics, or Xitron’s Navigator DFE platform. It meets the need for fully variable data, gives complete control of the print workflow, and provides valuable information for QA and inspection, press maintenance, and stock control.

Rottenborn commenting on Global Graphics SmartDFE qualities

Mike Rottenborn, Global Graphics Group CEO comments, “Digital printing presses are getting smarter all the time, and innovation is powerful in the labels and packaging segment. These presses need a “smart” digital front end to take their place in today’s smart print factories, and this is challenging for many OEM developers of digital packaging presses. Global Graphics has developed SmartDFE to simplify the integration of the DFE and the digital press and reduce time to market for our OEM customers.”

The SmartDFE for labels and packaging comprises PDF editing, layout, and automated Variable Data Printing (VDP) with Hybrid Stepz and Cloudflow, job cost estimation and production controls that connect to the Smart Factory using OPC UA (Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture), rasterization and screening using Harlequin Direct directly to the printhead datapath from either Meteor Inkjet or Xitron.

“SmartDFE gives you everything you need to add label and packaging printing to any industrial production scenario,” says Eric Worrall, VP of products and services at Global Graphics Software. “It provides a complete single-source software and electronics stack that does everything from job creation through to printheads. Our Artemis print operator AI builds print knowledge into the software to keep the workflow running at maximum speed and quality. We have also joined the OPC Foundation, the organization responsible for the development and maintenance of the OPC Industrial Interoperability Standard, so our SmartDFE can connect print to the Smart Factory.”

“SmartDFE will be a godsend for smart factories requiring large industrial inkjet print systems capable of streaming variable data jobs,” says Clive Ayling, the managing director of Meteor Inkjet. “The integration of Meteor’s proven electronics and software within SmartDFE means that print system builders can select from the widest range of print heads while benefiting from Meteor’s exceptional technical support service.”

“Full automation is the logical next step for navigator support of presses using Memjet printheads,” said Karen Crews, president of Xitron. “Our base of installed systems has exploded over the last two years, and the opportunity to enhance new presses with OPC UA connectivity presents us with a huge technological leap forward.”

 

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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