Gent, Belgium – HYBRID Software is pleased to announce that its web-based CLOUDFLOW Patchplanner solution for patching flexo plates—particularly in conjunction with automatic mounting systems—has been awarded a 2020 FTA Technical Innovation Award. For more than 20 years, the FTA Technical Innovation Award has recognized the most innovative and impactful technologies for the ever-evolving package printing and converting industry. HYBRID Software captured the honor in the Prepress-Graphics category.
Flexo plates are very expensive. When producing a corrugated box, it is not unusual that only a tiny area is printed, even though the box and plates themselves may be large. Manually, a great deal of work was required to avoid imaging large flexo plates with very few graphics. CLOUDFLOW Patchplanner is a web-based production tool, particularly for corrugated plates, that separates printed elements in the design file and consolidates and optimizes them to take up the least amount of image space, minimizing plate material use. The cutting pattern is sent to a cutting table and, at times, a MOM XML file is delivered to an automatic mounting device.
CLOUDFLOW Patchplanner is unique in a number of ways: a pure PDF workflow, a browser based application using HTML5, and ties to MIS. Using HTML5, it can uniquely work in a distributed world available to anyone, no matter where they are in the world, rather than physically working from the workstation where an app is installed, one user at a time. And, because companies can set all their preferences, everyone is operating under the same, standardized set of rules.
Many of the CLOUDFLOW Patchplanner setup processes are automated, along with capturing all the actual patch reports to calculate job costs. This information can be uniquely sent to MIS/accounting for billing and future estimates. Even sales people can import PDF art files into CLOUDFLOW Patchplanner, patch the job, determine the amount of plate material that will be used, and provide an estimate at the customer’s site, almost instantaneously.
Most important, it’s an open, native PDF system. CLOUDFLOW Patchplanner accepts print-ready PDF files from all standard graphics applications and separates multi-color PDFs into individual separations for patch planning. Because other applications input rasterized TIFF files, any distortions could result in rounding up or down inaccuracies prior to mounting. This is not a problem with one or two-color jobs where registration might not be as important, but is critical for 4-8 color jobs.
CLOUDFLOW Patchplanner helps mount plates faster because users can add extra sets of marks—for example, user-definable marks, such as configuring the distance from ink edge to patch mark placement; not possible with other similar applications—where there are tight trap areas, and clip them out before the plate goes to press.
HYBRID Software recently decided to include Patchplanner into the Flex Production Pack of its new Tectonics product, which saves flexo plate material and optimizes the use of flexo CTP devices. The software allows flexo customers to automatically optimize job layouts, reduce waste and optimize CTP usage. The combination of Patchplanner and Tectonics features—at the same price—is of huge benefit for flexo platemakers.
HYBRID Software is thrilled to receive the FTA Technical Innovation award in the Prepress – Graphics category,” exclaims Guido Van der Schueren, Chairman of HYBRID Software. “It supports our view that there is certainly room to improve existing prepress solutions in the market. We believe that the underlying PDF and HTML5 foundations of CLOUDFLOW and PACKZ from HYBRID Software provide opportunities for greater flexibility for the applications themselves. And, it allows much more flexibility for the operators who, for example, in the ‘new normal’ can do all their work from the comfort of their homes.”