02/26/2018

Hard facts instead of buzzwords – how to save by optimizing your print planning with artificial intelligence

If you want to show that you are up to date in the lingo of technology and innovation, you can nonchalantly drop catchword phrases into your conversation. You can impress your friends and colleagues with such buzzwords du jour as Industry 4.0, artificial intelligence and analytics, for instance. These terms are so wonderfully nebulous — probably except in the ivory towers of large corporations — that hardly anyone can connect them with hard business realities.

Giving substance to some popular buzzwords, sPrint One, our solution for dynamic print planning and the calculation of gang forms, is based on an approach that includes innovative algorithms, artificial intelligence and prescriptive analytics. The latter means that the system not only analyzes which developments will occur (that would be just predictive analytics), but also describes solutions.

In sPrint One, these technologies calculate the gang forms for entire pools of various print jobs in just a few moments, taking into account agreed-upon delivery dates, available production capacity, the characteristics of the substrates, and more. Conventional systems or manual calculations simply cannot keep up.

Tough test: optimizing print planning under real conditions

Catchwords only have practical value when they are corroborated by the results of customer testing. For example, one medium-size print shop in Germany has a 4 and an 8-color machine. The owner and an employee handle the print planning and the calculation of the gang forms using software that they are familiar with.

A heterogeneous job pool covering two days worth of order intake involved 171 different print jobs from more than 50 customers.

With the printer’s legacy software, the planning of gang forms for the 171 jobs took several hours. The production required 20 forms and 83 plates, which resulted in 20 print runs and a production time of 10.5 hours, at a cost of € 8,157.

Significant savings: time, material and costs

Calculating the gang forms for the same 171 jobs using sPrint One took seconds instead of hours, and the number of forms was reduced from 20 to 12. The offset printer was able to save no fewer than 32 printing plates — an enormous cost advantage.

In addition, the production could be handled much faster. The orders of the pool were produced in just 6.5 hours — a time savings of 36.5 percent — and production costs were reduced by 22.8 percent, corresponding to a savings of € 1,858.

Speed creates flexibility for the unforeseen

The extremely fast calculation of gang forms not only reduces staff hours by up to 90 percent, it also gives the printer the flexibility to react quickly to unexpected issues, such as last-minute changes, very urgent jobs or even machine problems.

The reduction in machine hours also ensures a significant increase in production capacity, meaning that investments in machinery can be postponed or even eliminated.

By using sPrint One, printing houses can sustainably improve their bottom line while also becoming more competitive.

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