When HP Inc began developing HP Site Flow, an end-to-end workflow and production automation system for HP digital press owners, they encountered several challenges including: addressing the growing personalized market; the need to ‘normalize’ PDFs, given the wide variation in the quality of files entering the system; and the ability to quickly scale up or down to accommodate varying levels of demand.
Read the case study to see how Mako Core™ SDK proved its capability and adaptability by rising to HP Site Flow’s development challenges, resulting in increased productivity and profitability for its users.
It’s great to be back in Lucerne this week for Hunkeler Innovationdays 2023. We’ve had some interesting conversations and it’s been a good opportunity to catch up with friends and colleagues in the industry. But it’s not over yet! If you’re interested in adding a print subsystem to a smart factory or manufacturing line, come and talk to us on booth 45 to find out more about our SmartDFE™.
This year, we’re exhibiting on the Hybrid Software Group booth, alongside our sister companies: ColorLogic, HYBRID Software, iC3D, Meteor Inkjet and Xitron. In this recent interview with Inkish TV, our CEO, Mike Rottenborn, explained how we all work together and what you can expect to see from the Group at Hunkeler Innovationdays:
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This month we’re celebrating the 20-year anniversary of our Japanese office. We chatted to sales director Hagiwara Yoshiyuki who told us how it all began, how the market has changed and what’s next for his team:
Tell us about your background. What did you do before you joined Global Graphics Software?
After graduating from university, I worked for a Japanese office computer manufacturer, developing various controller boards, ASICs and semi-custom large-scale integrations. The printer controllers I designed were very successful and widely installed not only in Japan, but also in Europe and Oceania. We were one of the first companies to develop a serial impact printer that prints Kanji characters for the office market. I designed many controller boards and firmware for laser printers, inkjet printers and RIP servers for large format printers. I then set up the Japanese subsidiary of a US company providing PostScript Level 2 interpreter software licenses to printer and MFP manufacturers.
After working with several foreign companies that developed RIP servers and embedded controllers, I established Global Graphics KK as a Japanese subsidiary in 2003.
Tell us about the early days with Global Graphics KK
Initially I rented the smallest room from Servcorp, an office rental company offering fully furnished spaces. On seeing my office, Gary Fry, former CEO with Global Graphics PLC, commented that it was ‘smaller than an elevator’. Over the years I’ve employed more engineers and have changed rooms several times to accommodate us. Today, we are five very talented engineers.
Back in 2003, I offered solutions for the Harlequin RIP® and the PDF creation software, Jaws PDF Creator™. My first customer was Justsystem. We developed the Justsystem PDF Creator, which was sold as a standalone packaging application then bundled as part of their Ichitaro word processing software. Ricoh Ridoc and Fuji Xerox DocuWorks followed.
Today, the team supports a range of products from Hybrid Software Group including, Harlequin, Mako Core™ and SmartDFE™ from Global Graphics Software; color management solutions ColorAnt, CoPrA, ZePrA from ColorLogic; pre-press software for packaging STEPZ®, PACKZ® and CLOUDFLOW® from HYBRID Software; and 3D rendering software for packaging from iC3D.
How has the market changed over the last 20 years? You must have seen a lot of changes.
Yes, there have been many changes: Firstly, companies that used to develop everything in-house are starting to consider using ready-to-integrate products, which offer a faster time-to-market. Our SmartDFE is ideal for this.
Secondly, the decrease in profits from office MFPs and printers, partly due to less paper being printed to help the environment, means office printer manufacturers are expanding their reach into industrial inkjet printing.
In addition, we’re seeing growth in digital printing, especially printing customized products on demand and in the labels and packaging sector. We’re seeing many new applications, for example, textiles and décor, due to the non-contact printing characteristics of inkjets. Digital inkjet is also growing as it meets many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Ways of doing business are also changing, with more cloud-based solutions and there’s also the introduction of 3D printing.
How important is sustainability in print to the Japanese market? Have you noticed a change in your customers’ requirements so that they can meet their sustainability commitments?
From a sustainability perspective, it’s essential that we consider the SDGs when developing new products and it seems to be easier for a company to follow through with their plans when they are linked to those goals. The amount of ink, electricity and iron needed for large-sized printing machines cannot be ignored. Also, as I mentioned earlier, we need to consider new ways of working to eliminate paper usage.
What’s next for you and your colleagues?
We will focus on promoting ready-to-integrate products, such as SmartDFE. In addition, as an ambassador for the Hybrid Software Group, we’ll focus on promoting the Group’s industry-leading products.
What do you enjoy most about working at Global Graphics KK?
It’s said that Japan is ‘the world’s printer factory’ where there are many printer manufacturers. This has certainly been an advantage; I enjoy building on my experience as a printer controller developer and using my knowledge of PostScript to ensure the best outcomes.
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Are you confident that all your print jobs can be printed at full press speed? How do you know at what speed the press can be run for a given combination of print job – RIP / RIP – PC etc.
In his presentation at the recent FuturePrint Tech Digital Print for Manufacturing, David Stevenson explains how, using Streamline™ and the help of machine learning, we can analyze a PDF file and intelligently estimate how long it will take for that file to run through the press. But it doesn’t stop there: David explains how we can then optimize the file to ensure it will fly through the press without compromising quality or color integrity.
At the recent Fespa show in Berlin, Justin Bailey, managing director at Global Graphics Software, spoke to Morten Reitoft of INKISH TV about the technologies offered for inkjet by Hybrid Software Group and why the SmartDFE™ is a key component if you’re planning to integrate print into your smart factory.
This month WhatTheyThink’s third Technology Outlook takes place. It’s a series of webinars and interviews that highlight new innovations from industry analysts and thought leaders.
As part of the Thought Leadership Video series, David Zwang of WhatTheyThink chatted to Mako™ product manager David Stevenson, about how, by using our vast experience in RIPs and rendering, we’ve created a high-performance framework for print inspection systems.
David introduces Smart QI™, a quality inspection system available with SmartDFE™. Designed especially for print, SmartQI is a camera-based, real-time quality inspection system, offering the same real-time streaming of rasters. It is especially useful as the use of variable data increases, and press speeds and resolutions continue to grow, making it essential to inspect the print for defects before it comes off the press and goes into finishing and converting.
Project manager Jason Hook shows how we’ve implemented OPC UA into our solutions in this film: How to transform your inkjet business with Industry 4.0 and OPC UA. Jason demonstrates how we track performance metrics like pressure levels across an entire production line using our PC and Ink Delivery System, all while uploading it securely onto cloud servers using AWS IoT SiteWise and Azure IoT.
At the InPrint Munich 2022 exhibition, our VP of products and services, Eric Worrall, sat down for a chat with Marcus Timson of FuturePrint. They discussed the future role that software will play in connecting print to the fully automated smart factory and how, as the print subsystem becomes an integral part of the smart factory, the press will self-monitor, ensuring color is right, checking ink levels and even predicting when printheads need replacing.
Watch it here:
Find out more about connecting print to the smart factory: SmartDFE™ is a full software and hardware stack that adds print to the fully automated smart factory.
Looking for a new role as a software developer? We’ll be attending the Cambridge Careers Fair on Friday, 4th March. Come and meet our team and find out more about what Global Graphics Software has to offer and two roles we currently have available:
If you’re a graduate, perfect! We’re also looking for recent mathematics or computer science graduates or those who have a year or two of real software development experience to join our graduate program.
Whilst primarily aimed at graduates, we are also keen to hear from candidates without a degree who have strong demonstrable skills in software development. We’re also interested in giving opportunities to veterans and service leavers.
Our graduate program will kick-start your career as a software engineer and give you valuable skills and insights into our industry.
We’re looking forward to seeing you at the careers fair next week. In the meantime, read about what our software developers get up to here at Global Graphics Software:
Meet Lavanya, one of our software test engineers. Lavanya joined our print team in 2014.
What is your background?
I was born in India and moved to the UK in 2007. I am from an electronics and communications engineering background and my love towards artificial intelligence, mathematics, automation and electronics has helped me progress academically and pursue an MSc and a PhD.
I enjoyed singing back in India, performing at various shows since childhood and finally managed to sing in a professional capacity for a couple of albums in our regional language. I now enjoy working with my boys making pet electronic projects in the spare time.
What were you doing before and how did you come to work at Global Graphics Software?
I worked as a senior integration engineer for Vix Technology Limited in Cambridge for seven years before joining Global Graphics in 2014. Although I had no experience of the printing industry, I had a great interest and curiosity in it, and I felt there would be a lot to learn with Global Graphics’ technology and software.
What is the best thing about working at Global Graphics Software?
I have never had a boring day in the past eight years; there is no limitation on how much I can learn and grow personally and professionally here at Global Graphics. I have been given opportunities to enhance my skills, knowledge and capabilities throughout my past eight years with the industry’s most experienced and helpful colleagues. I also love the Cambourne-based office and its location – it’s great and peaceful for my lunch time walks.
What has been your career path since joining the company?
I joined the print team, working in automation, and I have since developed skills in color management.
What is the most exciting thing about your work?
I love the fact that I can explore and learn any area, and you are welcomed to do so. I always got great support from my colleagues and my line managers, which makes it exciting to move forward.
What keeps you here?
There’s always more to learn here and my colleagues are very experienced and helpful. I also always get the support I need to do my continuous professional development.
APS Engineering creates cutting-edge ink delivery systems for all stages of production for inkjet printing, additive manufacturing, and microdispensing. The company has worked together with Global Graphics Software to create the first OPC UA-enabled ink delivery system for SmartDFE, a full software and hardware stack that adds print to the fully automated smart factory.
OPC UA is the interoperability standard for the secure and reliable exchange of data in the industrial automation space and in other industries. It is platform-independent and ensures the seamless flow of information among devices from multiple vendors.
The OPC UA-enabled ink delivery system developed together with APS Engineering can communicate with anything in the industrial inkjet ecosystem. This means that the press can be monitored remotely from an iPad or from a browser on the desktop, or that data can be stored from the ink delivery system in a historical archive database to enable other functions like predictive maintenance.
In addition to fluid delivery systems, APS Engineering also offers printbar design and consulting services for custom projects. We look forward to working together in the future.
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