Shenzhen Xianjunlong Color Printing Company, China.
Just one hour is all the Shenzhen Xianjunlong Color Printing Company in China needs, from creating the folding carton design to printing approval. This is made possible by the Prinect Packaging Workflow. The mostly automated processes have enabled the company to greatly shorten throughput times in prepress – and increase output to around 45 jobs (500 plates produced) per day.
Shortened throughput times
from design to printing
Xianjunlong Color Printing Company in Shenzhen has immense capacities: A space measuring over 50,000 m2 - equivalent to the area of five football pitches - houses both digital and flexo printing presses as well as 23 Heidelberg Speedmaster machines from the 102 model series. Production runs around the clock in two-shift operation, and mainly consists of packagings for wine and products for the cosmetics, pharmaceutical, and electrical industries. “We process around 1,400 print jobs (13,000 plates produced) a month in the packaging area. 60 percent of these are repeat orders. These jobs go through prepress in just 20 minutes, and then are ready to print,” says Zebin Lin, General Manager of Xianjunlong Color Printing Company.
Structural design at the touch of a button
Efficiency and productivity are at the forefront at Xianjunlong Color Printing so that customers get their goods as quickly as possible. With this in mind, the company has been using the Prinect Workflow for over fifteen years. Starting with individual modules, the workflow now covers almost the entire value chain. Prepress in particular is highly automated in order to get the high job volume to the presses quickly. “For new jobs, we can do this within just one hour,” says Zebin Lin. “Around three-quarters of the jobs are standard folding cartons. We create the structural design for them at the touch of a button.” All standard shapes, including the ECMA and FEFCO catalogs, are available in the Prinect Package Designer. The user simply choses the desired folding carton type, and enters the height, width, and depth. Within seconds, Prinect creates the CAD file without any manual intervention.
Interactive 3D design saves time
“We get an interactive 3D design of the folding carton. This saves us a lot of time and effort when creating the carton design as well as in quality control and customer approval,” says Zebin Lin. For example, graphical elements can be positioned quickly and accurately on the carton using the Illustrator Connect plug-in. If design objects are to extend over several sides of the carton, Prinect looks after the positioning and ensures that the image joins line up exactly.
“We can examine the folding carton design in various states – for example flat or assembled – and from all sides and check every detail such as the positioning of texts, images, and graphical elements,” says Zebin Lin. The design is then sent online to the customer as a PDF file. The customer can turn and rotate the virtual carton as well as open and close it.
“Our customers are impressed by this service. They get a realistic, three-dimensional likeness of the carton, including the finishing effects. The soft proof simplifies and speeds up the proofing process enormously,” says Zebin Lin.
instead of manual work
Manual intervention is required in around 20 percent of jobs due to changes requested by the customer. “We make these changes quickly and easily with the PDF Toolbox ,” says Zebin Lin. The different tools for specific applications such as trapping, barcode, paint effects, or embossing enable changes to be made in a targeted and efficient manner. The PDF is then compared with the file sent by the customer to ensure that only changes actually requested by the customer have been made. Prinect also ensures speed and efficiency following customer approval. The software generates the sheet layout for the printing press and the die-cutting layout for postpress. The space-saving shingling of the repeats on the sheet by the Prinect Signa Station and the automatic creation of gang runs minimize the amount of material and time required.
“Prinect is easy to operate. The central data storage and seamless integration mean that our employees have access to the functions and information they need for their work at all times at their workstations,” says Zebin Lin.
The end-to-end data consistency also increases production reliability and process efficiency. For example, Prinect creates the presetting data for press and postpress by forwarding not only process parameters such as sheet size, substrate, and ink zones, but also control elements such as gauge pins and register marks. In addition, Prinect generates the color profiles for the various printing methods and converts spot colors into process colors.
Optimized overall process
“By networking the jobs and machines using the Prinect Workflow, we can control numerous workflows centrally and automate the process steps. The biggest challenge today is no longer the printing itself, but rather organizing the whole process from order receipt to shipping in an efficient way. With Prinect, we have the whole process under control,” says Zebin Lin. Next, Xianjunlong Color Printing intends to use the production planning and planning board features of Prinect. The new Prinect Production Manager subscription model from Heidelberg makes it easier to use new functions quickly and without complications. Heidelberg unlocks the software and keeps it updated. “Only Prinect offers such a high level of integration and comprehensive functions from prepress to postpress. The resulting process simplification and automation is an important competitive advantage for us,” says Zebin Lin.