There is more to label printing than meets the eye. As mainstream printing companies begin to explore the sector it pays to consider how to integrate labels into your workflow, and printIQ believes it has the solution.
Label converting is a complex process. From quoting to dispatch, label production has its own special requirements. Printing is part of it but it’s not the full story. Die-cutting labels to shape is integral to producing the label, turning it from a web of self-adhesive substrate into a commercial item. When companies add digital to their analogue, flexo or offset label fleet, it presents complexities in deciding which press is the right one to use.
Short run printing enabled by digital technology presents its own challenges. It not only has the potential for versionalised and even personalised printing, but also creates a greater number of jobs flowing through the system. Production management software has to not only deal with the volume, but also be able to recognise and separate different types of jobs. This is part of printIQ’s printing DNA.
The printIQ Core is made up of eight modules that create a seamless, end-to-end estimating, ordering and production workflow encompassing everything needed for successful label production. printIQ also comes out-of-the-box with an online portal (no bolt-on required), so that customers can submit, pay, and track orders with ease. You can even create branded portals for each of your customers to make the experience that much more personal.
According to Mick Rowan, director of product development and marketing, printIQ differs from traditional software in that it understands the entire production process from quoting to fulfilment.
“printIQ maps out all possible alternatives for the job to pass through the factory. We do this by integrating your business rules with all the pricing rules based on your component inputs; such as labour, machines and materials.”
To handle labels, the printIQ software includes an advanced visual die library with dynamic search functionality, as well as ‘custom fields’ that allow for the configuration of up to 30 fields specific to a customer’s business processes. This gives enormous flexibility on the setup and use of the library. printIQ also has the functionality to link images (such as rewind direction) to quote questions, to simplify the overall process and make the workflow that much more visual.
The printIQ benefits
The printIQ label functionality has been written as part of the printlQ core, to cater for the specific needs of a label printer. By adding a die library, advanced imposition control, and custom size calculators, it allows converters to accurately estimate and produce labels of all sizes.
The ability of label printers to create their own die library within printIQ allows them to configure and identify stored dies with multiple levels of hierarchy. A label shop will have many dies stored from previous jobs that can be reused on repeat orders or for labels of the same shape. In printlQ the dies are tagged for easy searching and selection within the estimating process.
The production path is defined at the ordering stage, recognising the different requirements for optimum passage through to fulfilment. Jobs are identified as being new orders that require the creation of a die, or repeats that can use an existing die from the library. printlQ also calculates the optimum production mode, either digital or analogue based on the given criteria. Run lengths and the number of processes required to complete the label decide where it’s best printed, and by which resource. There is no need to quote separate digital versus offset options to get the optimum path. On the contrary, printlQ will do this on the fly.
Advanced imposition controls allow definition of die blocks and then further define the individual dies that sit within the block. At the same time it provides a visual imposition with details such as: machine, number up, printable width, rolls width, cylinder size, and roll direction. Custom size calculators allow accurate estimation of labels of all sizes. printlQ also maximises the use of substrates to ensure the most efficient imposition to avoid waste.
Because printlQ is created by printing industry professionals, particular attention is paid to ensure that quotes take all options into account. Pricing options range from per sheet, per linear metre, per label, plus a range of per unit options.
According to Rowan, working in fast-changing business environments means you have to adapt strategies and innovate.
“With printlQ you get groundbreaking software, and a team that specialises in transitioning you from your outdated MIS to a system designed and built for future growth. When you work with IQ you can finally start to see what future success might really look like, and are assured that we’ll be there to help you with the leap into the future.”