Heidelberg claims that it is the only company that can offer an integrated design to finishing packaging solution linked seamlessly together by its Prinect workflow modules. Although Prinect is now an established brand, its entry into the packaging space is still developing, albeit rapidly.
When was it launched?
The first incarnation had its debut at Drupa 2008, and has developed at a rapid rate since. The product is part of the press giant’s move into the packaging sector, a journey that has seen it acquire Jagenberg, which developed its Dymatrix/Varimatrix die-cutting and Diana folder–gluer range. The last Drupa also saw the company showcase its VLF Speedmaster presses in a dedicated packaging assembly hall.
Who is the system targeted at?
According to Sabine Roob, product manager of Prinect workflow at Heidelberg, Prinect is targeted at three groups: commercial printers that produce some packaging work and are already familiar with the Prinect platform; packaging converters that have anything from a sole production site to two or three; and large packaging businesses that could have an international presence. In Roob’s experience, the Heidelberg presses most commonly used by packaging customers are the Speedmaster XL 145 and Speedmaster XL 162 models.
What is its USP?
"The Prinect workflow is truly integrated, from design through to finishing," says Roob. "We really are the only company that can offer that and I would say that around 80% of our Prinect customers in the packaging sector are using that integration from pre-press through to press production."
What are its other main features?
Prinect is split into a variety of modules across the pre-press, press and post-press disciplines. Only this year, Heidelberg launched a range of improvements to its Prinect Prepress Manager and latest PDF Toolbox collection.
According to Roob, the product that is the most advanced this year is Heidelberg’s Prinect Signa Station Packaging Pro imposition and planning tool. Now in version 10, the structural design of the carton and the graphics are combined and the necessary colour marks, colour bars, control and printing marks and numbering for one-ups and waste areas are added to the sheet.
Signa Station Packaging Pro can import and export CAD format, step and repeat work and create ganged-up jobs, which, the manufacturer claims, makes best use of the plate and minimises paper waste.
Heidelberg has also pushed its range of measurement devices, such as Inpress Control, Image Control, Axis Control and Easy Control in the area of colour management.
Last year, the company introduced its own ISO 12647-2 certification scheme in a bid to offer printers a practical way of running to the colour standard. Companies such as Hampton Printing and Stephens & George have already signed up, while Shorewood Packaging (Ebbw Vale) was the UK’s first packaging company to secure the certification.
How easy is it to use?
"At its core, Prinect is very easy to use. It has to be in order to be accessible for the operator. However, the technical knowledge required increases with the more complex configurations of the system and the more you require it to handle," says Roob. She says there are hundreds of possibilities with Prinect, while jobs that require spot-colour expertise, such as packaging for hair colouring variants, would require a trained pre-press figure.
What about training and support?
Training takes place on site during the installation process and is tailored to the experience the company has in the field. After several days, the company is left to get to grips with the system before Heidelberg returns to carry out more advanced training while tackling issues that have arisen. Beyond that point, Roob says, delegates can attend additional training at the manufacturer’s Print Media Academy in Germany.
How much does it cost?
There have been around 200 installations at packaging operations of all sizes worldwide. Due to its modular nature, the starting price is dependent on configuration.
Prinect Prepress modules include:
•Prinect Package Designer
•Prinect PDF Toolbox
•Prinect Prepress Manager
•Prinect Signa Station
Prinect Press modules include:
•Prinect Easy Control
•Prinect Image Control
•Prinect Press Center Compact
Prinect Post-press modules include:
•Prinect FCS 100
•Prinect Postpress Manager
On application, dependent on configuration
Heidelberg UK 0844 892 2010 www.uk.heidelberg.com
Packaging Print Prepress is perhaps the closest like-for-like alternative. The company’s products comprise editing and sheet layout, colour management, online collaboration, output and imaging, workflow automation and MIS and ERP.
ArtPro is a full-featured packaging preproduction editor, while Odystar is a highly automated pre-press workflow solution based on PDF 1.7. In addition, Nexus is EskoArtwork’s comprehensive workflow solution for label, packaging and commercial print pre-production.
Esko UK 0121 667 4200 www.esko.com
The Printnet system comprises the company’s entire collection of workflow tools from administration to press production for its sheetfed presses. Job administration is handled by Printnet PressManager, which automatically prepares jobs while performing technical pre-settings.
The ColorPilot ink measuring and controlling system measures print control strips at 25cm per second, which allows for densitometrical and colorimetrical values to be measured simultaneously.
The Roland InlineInspector helps promote waste reduction by detecting faults early on, allowing the press operator to react immediately. Three fault ratings can be set, as well as five sensitivity stages.
Manroland UK 020 8648 7090 www.manroland.co.uk