Like many commercial printers, NXP Europe has experienced an increase in short run, quick turnaround digital print jobs. These faster delivery times required faster press handling.
To meet the demands that come with these types of orders, NXP Europe turned to the HP Indigo Enhanced Productivity Mode (EPM). This HP Indigo feature boosts productivity by eliminating black ink from the production process. This printing method produces a 33% boost in productivity on the HP Indigo digital press, while reducing the colour gamut by 10%. Fewer separations mean less time is spent putting HP ElectroInk on the paper, which gives NXP Europe greater control of the balance between printing speed and color.
The results were impressive, but a problem soon emerged: all files were being presented to the press in EPM mode, but not every job benefitted from being printed in EPM. That meant that some files were sent back to the studio, where someone had to manually assess each file. Checking close to 250 files per day created a lot of additional work for the studio.
The challenges started to build.
"Not only was it taking someone four or five hours per day to check all files manually, it was also delaying jobs from going straight into production. Our presses slowed down again, just the thing we were trying to avoid. This was a particular problem for short runs, especially when some jobs could be as simple as business cards. It also meant the creative person wasn’t free to work on more value added work. This was an issue we simply had to resolve through automation."
Turning to the Power of Prepress
To meet that demand and speed up the production process, NXP Europe added Enfocus Switch and the HP Indigo EPM Kit to their previously purchased Enfocus PitStop Server.
Together, these combined solutions create a unique resource that automatically preflights print-ready PDF files and routes them to EPM and non-EPM hot folders based on a set of rules created by NXP Europe. The hot folders, in turn, feed the HP Indigo DFE to ensure that the PDF files print in the correct printing mode.
Using the HP Indigo EPM Preflight Solution means that every file is now automatically checked and then presented to the press. There are no human touchpoints, making the checking more reliable. The HP Indigo EPM Preflight Solution is also designed to scale, so it can expand as the job order agenda for NXP Europe grows.
Measurable Increase in Capacity and Productivity
The company reports that their decision to adopt the HP Indigo EPM Preflight Solution resulted in an instantly definable return on investment that has positively impacted every aspect of the day-to-day operations of their organization.
Mr. Charnley says, “It is difficult to fully measure all the ways that the solution from Enfocus has improved our operations. I can report that the HP Indigo EPM Preflight Solution has had a dramatic impact on what we can produce on all the presses. We have increased capacity by 12.5% without investing in a new press and increased the productivity of the studio by five to six hours a day without the need for an extra member of staff.”
He goes on to note that, “80% of artwork is automated - as we always produce a proof for the client - and we are 25% faster in job delivery. Now, when people want a specific delivery time, we can meet that demand each and every time. We run 16 hours a day, so if a client gives us artwork at 8pm, we just run it and finish the job without having to put in overtime.”
Proper Job Handling Results in Better Efficiency
The addition of HP Indigo EPM and the HP Indigo EPM Preflight Solution has generated more time for NXP Europe to handle a job properly, which in turn enabled them to batch jobs efficiently.
"Because of the time gained, we could be more thorough in the way we put jobs together. For example, we could group all the gloss laminated, rather than matt. This of course reduced the need to change rolls on the laminator. These little step-by-step improvements make us as efficient as possible."
The company used to run 250 hours of overtime across the business every month. Now it only runs 10 to 20 hours, tops. The company reports that they are spending less money on “same day” vans and the staff is no longer as strained or rushed as they used to be. The studio is no longer a bottleneck. Where similar businesses may have four members of studio staff, NXP Europe has only one.
A Mutually Beneficial Partnership
All of these operational improvements have been made possible because of the partnership between NXP Europe and Enfocus. The organisations worked together on developing and improving the solution, and continue to share feedback and updates. Mr. Charnley sums up: “We signed up for an automation solution that would speed up the presses. But we got so much more out of it. Our whole process of delivering on time, within tight lead times, has dramatically improved.”
"Enfocus is a very good company to collaborate with. We treat our cooperation more as a partnership. We’re very involved in the beta testing. It can be time consuming, but it gives us great perspective on how the product can help businesses like ours be successful. We are glad to share what we know with Enfocus because they do the same with us."