HP Indigo enhances product portfolio with Industry 4.0 solutions

PrintOS site flow to achieve zero-touch automation

HP Indigo enhances product portfolio with Industry 4.0 solutions
PrintOS site flow to reduce the roadblocks and onboard new brands for better future growth

HP has unveiled new ways for print service providers to grow their digital-based business and put Industry 4.0 into practice by enabling better-automated tools to enhance connectivity, productivity and support customer growth as print service providers move to capture online business. 

“We are seeing strong customer momentum in the past year alongside industry challenges created by the pandemic, with Industry 4.0 being a driving force of growth for Indigo customers who have embraced high-automation practices and adopt eCommerce driven web-to-print business practices,” said Haim Levit, HP Indigo vice president, and general manager. HP attributes part of this momentum in particular from continued strong growth in labels and packaging direct print volume growing 36% over 2019 levels and the commercial sector’s continued recovery from pandemic headwinds.

PrintOS site flow, an end-to-end production management solution for achieving zero-touch automation, has fueled explosive growth in customer order traffic through 2021. Connecting to over 600 brands globally, HP customers tapped into a myriad of online order systems and ecommerce platforms. Each PSP automatically receives, produces, and ships an unlimited number of jobs per day with site flow. Site flow reduces bottlenecks, touchpoints, and labor dollars while being device and product independent, many of the core principles on which Industry 4.0 was built on.  

Hundreds of PSPs are operating site flow daily, which saw a 65% increase in job traffic in 2021. More than 460 million items were processed through the secure online platform, operating in 45 countries to deliver print products such as photo books, calendars, invitations, and greeting cards.

“Covid put a lot of power into the consumers’ hands, and our goal was to be the premier B2C print fulfillment supplier in Canada. An integral part of this is our ability to integrate our internal systems with our B2C partners as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Todd Cober, President of Cober Solutions.” Using site flow helps to reduce the roadblocks altogether and enables us to easily onboard new brands and grow our business.”

“We use site flow to produce work for brands that generate 2,000-3,000 unique orders per day during peak season,” said Bill Duerr, President of Hatteras. “There is a great team at Hatteras, but labor shortages are real today. With site flow, I can give my pressroom manager the tools he needs to maximize the productivity of the good people we have.”

HP’s new Industry 4.0 solutions to drive growth through automation and efficiency

Industry 4.0 practices allow HP Indigo print service providers to deliver thousands of digital print jobs every day. As a result, HP continues to invest and expand PSP business possibilities.

HP announced the PrintOS Integration Hub @hp.io, a portal where HP provides technical information on integrating with HP Indigo devices and solutions and achieving automation across vendor solutions. Due to the upswing in eCommerce orders, printers need to increase automation through multiple systems, spanning from submission, printing, finishing, and fulfillment solutions through to shipping and tracking.

“Automation is the only way to consistently deliver high volumes of short-run jobs while meeting customer’s quality and schedule expectations,” said Gershon Alon, head of HP Indigo Solutions. “Customers are struggling to hire and maintain skilled personnel. Cross-vendor automation increases employees’ efficiency and enables the production of much more work with existing staff and resources.”

An example of cross-vendor automation is the improved integration between the PrintOS Production Pro DFE for Commercial Print and Heidelberg Prinect, which automates production and avoids human errors. Customers can now maintain a unified automated workflow for their analog jobs and digital Indigo press jobs and manage them from their Heidelberg MIS.

“The enhanced connectivity between Heidelberg Prinect and HP Indigo presses enables Heidelberg customers to integrate the Prinect Business Manager (MIS), the offset prepress capabilities, and digital presses into one workflow,” says Christopher Berti, vice president of Product Management Prinect. “That brings the benefits of higher efficiency, fully leveraging the original investment (for example, offset prepress system), and the flexibility of using the same workflow for both worlds – offset and digital printing. It helps close a major gap on the road to print shops achieving end-to-end integration.”

“The Prinect integration with Indigo digital presses enables a single data entry point via JDF, reduces touch points and therefore human errors,” said Liesbeth Van Assche, process architect at Artoos Group. “We send our jobs from Prinect to the HP Indigo digital press, and our press operator does not deal with any job parameter settings, file preparation, imposition, or proofing. Press operators are 100% focused on printing the job and ensuring the quality of the job.”

Automating color is also a key focus area for HP Indigo. On top of the already-supported Idealliance G7 color certification, PrintOS Color Beat now also automates Fogra color certification for new-generation HP Indigo commercial and labels-and-packaging presses, including the HP indigo 100K, HP Indigo 15K, HP Indigo 12000 VP, HP Indigo 25K, and HP Indigo 35K.

The FograCert PSD Colour Data allows print service providers to get a fully automated verification to the most widely used Fogra color standards requested by print buyers and brands, validating that the press meets the highest color standards. With a touch of a button. The compliance of a given print job is certified against Fogra PSD, ProcessStandard Digital (ISO/TS 15311-2), and can be easily communicated with the print buyer, the brand, or the QA team.

Automatic Alert Agent 2.0 for HP Indigo Series 4 digital presses (HP Indigo 12000 and 15K). This inline inspection system scans every printed sheet and compares it to its digital print file, automatically identifying possible print defects. AAA 2.0 now automatically diverts defective sheets to scrap and reprints them, all in real-time with no human intervention and no interruption to production. The system leverages advanced Industry 4.0 Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) algorithms, increasing accuracy and speed to provide PSP productivity and profitability.


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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