Future-Proof Quality Control in the Digital Pre-Press Stage
The production of high quality labels alongside increasing of efficiency stands as the top priority at All4Labels - Global Packaging Group. Together with EyeC, the pre-press inspection was integrated into the workflow in 2018. Therefore, the local production processes have been optimized and made more reliable.
Over the last three years, the All4Labels site in Trittau has developed into the largest digital print center for adhesive labels in the world. Based on the volume of orders coming in and the frequent need to change the digital print and job formats, the optimization of the production processes for All4Labels became their main priority. In 2016, EyeC offered a solution for the automated print sample inspections of pharmaceutical labels at their facility in Trittau. The EyeC Proofiler 600DT fit within their framework of their automation process. Parallel to that, the introduction of a workflow system from Esko was initiated. Following the successful automation of the production process, in early 2018 the pre-press processes were also included into the existing workflow by use of the EyeC Workflow Integration.
Automated Incoming Data Checks in the Esko Workflow
In recent years, the requirements across all industry sectors, in particular for pharmaceutical printed products, have increased over the entire production chain. Although the pre-press stages have been largely excluded from these requirements so far, it was recommended in order to optimize inspections and rule out potential errors when dealing with nonstandardized customer data. Before the workflow integration, the incoming data inspection was largely completed manually at All4Labels. With the help of a softproof, the customer data was standardized in the pre-press stage and approved by the customer before printing.
The unique challenge here came in dealing with print data without a prior approval process. In addition to the risk of changes, such as shifts or missing design elements, manual inspecting was also time and resource consuming. Production processes that were already automated were also slowed down by the manual pre-press inspections. Along with the increased productivity, the automated inspection of texts, graphics, and 1D as well as 2D codes with the EyeC Proofiler Graphic provides additional reliability within the incoming data controls today. The configuration of the artwork inspection was completed in close cooperation with EyeC so that today‘s inspections are possible across almost all jobs.
In comparison, the inspection of print data with very high customer requirements, e.g. mandatory for pharmaceutical labels, is carried out with differentiated inspection parameters. Based on the respective customer number, the inspection parameters are automatically selected so that the inspection is carried out in the workflow according to customer requirements and without extra manual steps. Today, the right configuration of the inspection profiles ensures the consistent quality of all delivered print jobs and gives those responsible more security in the preparation and execution of print jobs throughout the pre-press and production stages. "Among other things, we decided on EyeC because, from the beginning, it was clearly communicated what the system could provide us. Together with EyeC, we configured the variety of setting possibilities for the inspections to meet our specific requirements. Furthermore, there are additional options, such as the Braille inspection, available that we can profit from in the nearer future," said Michael Koch, Head of Prepress Digital Printing.
Fully-automated Inspection of 2D Codes
In addition, the Step-and-Repeat files from two major customers are automatically inspected with the help of the EyeC Workflow Integration at All4Labels in Trittau. Therefore, the EyeC Proofiler Graphic is used for the inspection of 2D codes. For this, the QR code provided by the customer is entered into the MIS through the Account Manager in the first step. After the print job has been created, the Proofiler Graphic automatically inspects the codes in the pre-press stage against the stored data. In addition to the readability check, the system inspects the information contained in the codes, such as the article number so that variety mixups are excluded.
Future Challenges of Automated Inspections
The pre-press inspection of personalized pharmaceutical printed products continue to present a challenge. Because the required evaluations in the workflow are both time- and resource-consuming, an adaptation of operational processes and the appropriate configuration of inspection parameters are required. "Especially in the pharmaceutical sector, we see great potential in digital printing with variable data and therefore have already set up a close-loop system in our workflow. In the future, the multipage PDF provided by the customer is loaded directly on the press and will automatically be inspected. Print defects are automatically detected and marked or reprinting is directly initiated. In addition, the final report contains all information for the automatic replacement of defective labels and serves as proof to the customers. With the solution of EyeC, we are already prepared for future challenges today." Michel Koch concludes.
About All4Labels - Global Packaging Group
As one of the world‘s leading manufacturers of adhesive labels and the global market leader in digital printing solutions, All4Labels - Global Packaging Group supports local and multinational companies in all industries with innovative, industry-specific solutions from a single source. Their product portfolio is rounded out by flexible packaging solutions, sleeves, folding cartons, as well as smart and security technologies. The owner-managed company group is a reliable partner, with over 3,000 employees at 29 locations worldwide, in the growth regions and market of its customers through its strong local operations and continuous expansion of its global presence. The site in Trittau employs almost 200 people, including more than 105 experts in the digital printing sector.
For further information, please visit: www.all4labels.com