DigiLabel automatically generates marks, barcodes and punch holes (Source: OneVision)
Automated software solution for label printing
The German software manufacturer OneVision will soon release the latest version of its automated software solution for label printing. Together with its customers, OneVision has continued to develop the software solution and constantly adapts it to meet the needs of label printers. According to the company, with DigiLabel 17.1 complex stages in the label printing process are simplified, automated, and optimised. As a result label printers will achieve increased throughput, which helps to save valuable time and cost, and increases the overall output efficiency.
With the 2-in-1 solution DigiLabel, OneVision provides digital label printers with a system for production planning and simplifies complex label workflows. The aim of DigiLabel is to optimise the entire label workflow from order receipt through to prepress stages and production planning. Prepress includes a fully automated quality check of PDFs, resulting in subsequent optimisation for the print run.
In the following production planning sequence, the software checks all open jobs and even combines multi-customer orders in one single collect run. The job is then automatically transferred to printing and cutting machines. By automating the production process, sources of error in production can be avoided, and time and resources saved.
Simplifying label control and production
DigiLabel processes production files from different management information systems (MIS) which can be connected to the system via interfaces. The first production step involves the automatic import, optimisation and standardisation of the artwork. The software includes preflight checks and normalisation, also tools for modifications – such as trimming to cutting dies, creating white and varnish masks, or extending the bleed.
Individual assembly lines can be created for complex amendments to the artwork, with multiple sequential modifications, such as rounding off all corners, upscaling images, and creation of white masks. It is possible to run these assembly lines directly in DigiLabel to automatically edit the customer’s PDF file. Minor adjustments, such as minimal deviation to the cutting die size due to a differing interpretation of the line centre, can be corrected via smart resizing with a mouse click.
Integration of correction tools
If manual processing is required, e.g., due to a last-minute amendment by the customer, PDF editing tools such as Solvero Access (included) or third-party PDF editing tool can be connected via a web interface. These correction tools can speed up the workflow. If the tools are implemented in DigiLabel, it reports all editing steps with logs that can be reviewed if the customer has questions or complaints.
A flexible approval PDF is automatically generated at the end of the process. All information, such as a preview of the label or the editor is provided and if required can be used to create an approval PDF. Moreover, the product’s PDF tools can be used to dynamically create preview data, such as comparisons of print images and hot foil output, in order to check whether the different processing stages are fully consistent with one another and fit into the same space. This allows errors to be recognized, corrected, and avoided at an early stage, increasing customer satisfaction and resulting in time and cost savings.
Automatic system control
An additional new feature is the dynamic mark generation. Individual marks can be defined for each machine by the label printer. If a particular production workflow is defined within the job data, appropriate marks will be integrated into the respective job. A practical example can provide insights into this process: passer marks should only be created if a foil will be applied at a later stage of production.
This new approach also allows automation of more complex decisions, which previously had to be done via laborious manual work. For example, a colour bar with the applicable label colours can be printed alongside the label which means that colour measurements for quality control can be made after printing as all necessary data is already generated automatically. Free programming also allows label printers to adapt the tool to their specific requirements to create a flexible workflow.
The new version of DigiLabel 17.1 includes support of finishing machines. Thus, the software solution can now depict the entire production process. As soon as a label requires finishing with hot- or coldfoil, embossing or lacquering, this information will be read out from the job data. Within the label software, finishing colours are defined and standardised to ensure that the system recognizes them automatically.
On this basis, the necessary finishing designs are generated for production. The information can be forwarded via marks to the finishing machines as control information. The special function of marks for finishing machines also enables the creation and addition of punch holes to the output, considering the minimum size requirements.
Punching machines and laser cutters are the next steps in the finishing process. Support for laser cutters is optimised for multi-customer jobs with small batches. The way collect run configuration can now be chosen is on the basis of a range of criteria, such as optimised paper usage or minimal surplus production. On this basis the label printer receives a series of suggested options for collect runs.
The operator can then manually decide which should actually be used for printing. Following this stage, the laser control data is created, containing relevant information including the cutting shape, the number of items to output, and the cutting depth, to further increase the levels of automation.
However, the label printing software can also be used with die-cut plates. When configuring die-cut plates, the label printer can plan the composition with regards to production volumes, colour use, shape changes or the necessary roll length. All previously produced die-cut plates are stored in an archive in order to ensure a fast and easy re-production if needed. A further benefit of this archiving is that DigiLabel automatically checks if a suitable die-cut plate has been produced previously, to save the costs of producing a new die-cut plate if not required.
Workflow management system
OneVision makes use of its workflow management technology. A consistent, overarching interface allows all operators to monitor the production process. According to the company, DigiLabel guarantees maximum transparency from order receipt to final printing to ensure a reliable production. The job workflow system has been simplified in the new software release by enabling it to be adapted to the way the customer’s company works. Depending on the size of the company, users can decide how to allocate tasks and permissions.
Larger companies with specialist divisions can distribute roles by department, while smaller companies can allocate tasks on a job-by-job basis. This will provide a better overview of individual tasks. Coordination between specific users is improved by sending messages directly via DigiLabel to ensure a smooth production process.
DigiLabel is an intranet-based solution for standard web browsers that is easy to install and can be connected to existing digital print, embossing, and laser cutting machines. Digital printers who produce small runs of self-adhesive label rolls can benefit from the software, due to the ability to combine jobs in a combined production run.