Over the last 15 years Aufkleber Produktion has printed every kind of self-adhesive label imaginable. From classic shapes to domed stickers, industrial-grade machinery labels and 3D doming products, this business in the suburbs of Stuttgart, Germany sells exclusively via its webshop. Stability and accuracy are therefore must-haves for the software it uses on a daily basis – as is the versatility to automate processes.
Putting together a system that works fluidly from start to finish has been at the centre of Aufkleber’s operation. Philippos Zachiridis and Rainer Zeh, joint managing directors, have invested continuously, trialling and adapting systems over the years to achieve maximum automation. Offering both solvent and UV-curable prints, the Aufkleber webshop provides the workflow with contour cut data, nesting and the generation of variable data, such as QR and bar codes, name lists or sequential numbering. Customers can even request spot colours, making for a theoretically unlimited number of options.
“In the beginning we offered a wide range of services,” considers Zachiridis. “We soon realized that we would need to specialize in order to keep quality and affordability high for our customers. Improvements in hardware, software and online tools over the last 15 years have given us increasingly strong foundations to make this a reality.”
Until recently, Aufkleber’s specially developed webshop delivered job data to hotfolders, which would then be imported manually into previous, well-known RIP solutions and then printed. “Our system is optimised from the start for label printing,” Zachiridis continues. “Almost every interaction that causes unnecessary time or communication is covered by intelligent web software. The customer therefore receives a high-quality result in a very short time and is always informed about the status of their order and what it will look like when it’s delivered. Quality assurance is also important to us to give our clients the consistency they require.”
For the management team, though, there was still optimisation to be done. “The problem was that we had a large number of hotfolders to manage and maintain,” Zachiridis continues. “That meant a lot of human interaction to process orders without errors.” This is why Caldera partner MPEX Druckermanufaktur advised the company to make the switch to GrandRIP+ with Nexio automation earlier this year to overcome the last of its manual processes.
“We spoke with Mr Ortler from MPEX, who looked into our production flow and led us to change over to the Caldera RIP with JDF automation. After planning out two possible production scenarios to incorporate our existing modules and machines, we decided to implement it, with Mr Gohlke of MPEX finalising the integration plan within two weeks. Switching over took only two days. On day one the hardware was installed and the client-server network put in place, and on day two we completed color management and system training. After that we were equipped to plug Nexio into our web ordering system ourselves.”
Now, the Aufkleber webshop transmits job and production data with meta tags directly to GrandRIP+ via Nexio, giving two specific advantages. Orders can be sent directly to the right printer based on a number of criteria, including, for example, spot colour information and media profiles. Large quantities of jobs can therefore be printed without human input, saving time and reducing the potential for errors.
“When we installed Nexio we’d been hoping for a closer connection with our web system, which already contains all the necessary job information,” Zachiridis adds. “Because each of our products can be individually changed by the customer, there are thousands of combination and that is impossible for a single employee to oversee and manage. The automation we can achieve with Nexio gives us the option to increase and expand that range even further without the risk of introducing faults in the process.”
Through its changeover to a Caldera print workflow Aufkleber has also benefitted from a number of other advantages. PDFs are always interpreted correctly and quickly thanks to GrandRIP+’s use of the most current Adobe PDF Print Engine (APPE). A dedicated client-server installation means that RIP times are reduced and media profiles can be generated and saved directly within the RIP. MPEX also included a Barbieri SpectroPad DOC to help Aufkleber meet its quality standards by ensuring full colour accuracy throughout the process.
“Thanks to MPEX’s consultancy and Caldera’s product range, we’re achieving a new step in automation in harmony with our existing systems,” Zachiridis concludes. “In the future we’ll be able to offer even more combinations while guaranteeing the same level of quality.”