Ghent, Belgium - Process management for every type of packaging across the whole company: For Permapack AG based in Rorschach, a leading Swiss manufacturer of sophisticated packaging, process management for every type of packaging across the entire company is a must for a successful future. To that end, the implementation of WebCenter and the Automation Engine from Esko is an important step toward complete process reliability and automation of processes in packaging production. JDF-based integration with the job entry system Theurer C3, a well-known ERP/MIS trade software solution for the printing and packaging industry, now combines all work processes from the customer to sales through to production in a comprehensive process management solution. Each new project entering the plant is being processed via the modular Automation Engine workflow server and the online approval and communications tool WebCenter since May 2016.
"We were looking for a solution to cope with the rapid growth in the number of smaller, shorter run jobs being produced with the digital printing technologies we invested in last year. As we had been using ArtPro, Nexus and a CDI Spark 4835 platesetter with inline UV for some time, augmenting our infrastructure with a solution from Esko was virtually automatic," says Markus Wirth, Managing Director for Flexible Packaging at Permapack. Wirth reports that the company invested nearly seven million Swiss Francs in the development of a Digital Center of Excellence and an expansion of its flexible packaging production lines at its site in Rorschach. This investment, combined with the excellent support the company received from Esko, enabled implementation of Automation Engine and WebCenter within just three months.
"Permapack is a company that is characterized by strong growth. Our joint philosophy is to integrate and optimise investments comprehensively into a unified process. Using Automation Engine and WebCenter. Thanks to this integrated solution, Permapack can now manage and more profitably produce the 20 % rise in short run production jobs that has been generated from digital printing," explains Armand Gougay from Esko.
Benefit of high process reliability
An important advantage for Permapack with this new integrated solution is that all internal and external parties involved in a project – customer, advertising agency, sales, work preparation, prepress and production – are working with one and the same file. This results in a high level of reliability in the correction and approval process. Via the Viewer, all involved parties have the opportunity to quickly and easily compare versions. The advantages of the WebCenter approval tool are primarily being exploited internally at the moment, although several projects are already underway to integrate large customers into the process via a portal. Also important is the fact that WebCenter is not dependent on time, location and language, meaning there are no limits to Permapack’s strategy of expansion into international markets.
Labels, tubular laminates, sachets, bags, films as well as wrap-around labels and much more are produced in the in-house print shop comprised of 77 conventional printing units and two digital printing systems from HP Indigo. Special challenges include data preparation for sophisticated designs from a broad range of customers, including multiple individual versions as well as the varied finishing types that are possible on the 10-colour hybrid machines. The database stores in excess of 5,000 cutting dies, as well as about 1,000 format drawings for flexible packaging options. Once these dies and templates have been created and approved using Esko SmartMarks for print production controls such as color bars and registration marks, they can be retrieved over and over again without errors.
"Process reliability in comparison to manual production is disproportionately higher with Automation Engine and WebCenter. We estimate that our packaging production can now be processed at least 25% faster", adds Wirth. For Permapack, the investment in automation solutions as a modern packaging manufacturer is essential, especially since pricing is still under pressure at the Swiss production site due to unfavourable foreign exchange rates for the Swiss Franc. Automation solutions like those from Esko help the company to compensate for this disadvantage by taking time, labour and cost out of the production process.
The core of the Esko prepress workflow is Automation Engine, a modular workflow server that automates all projects and processes in prepress. It not only ensures a higher level of efficiency and greater throughput, but is designed in all aspects for the daily challenges that printing professionals are confronted with, by increasing quality, reducing the likelihood of errors and lowering process costs. Automation Engine has a scalable and easy-to-operate client/server architecture. It can also be seamlessly integrated into any business system.
WebCenter is a powerful, web-based platform for packaging management that can be used to manage all work processes, packaging specifications, approval cycles, text contents and digital resources. It ensures secure online collaboration and allows users to manage their projects reliably as well as check, comment on and approve documents. In addition, all packaging objects in a project – including graphics, print templates, logos, images, 3D drafts with finishing effects and other packaging elements – can be securely saved in a database and inserted into the layout automatically.