Leading automation provider Significans Automation has facilitated the launch of the country’s newest digital corrugate printing company, Georgia-based Sustainable Printing, by customizing and automating its prepress workflow and digital infrastructure based on the requirements of Sustainable’s first pilot customer, Orlando-based box-and-display company Dusobox.
In November 2021, North Carolina corrugate manufacturer Jackson Paper purchased the industrial-grade HP PageWide C500 digital press, launching Sustainable Printing as a wholesale trade printer to offer printing to Jackson’s existing clients of blank corrugated sheets.
The company, which had virtually no expertise in digital printing, was able to successfully install the multi-million dollar printing line and hit the ground running with a line-up of packaging customers eager to use its services by collaborating with its long-time customer Dusobox, and by bringing in the technical expertise of Significans Automation.
Dusobox and Jackson Paper began discussions early in 2021, questioning the traditional approach of printing litho sheets or labels and applying them to blank corrugated boards. Evaluating the speed and quality of the HP PageWide C500, it became clear that this technology could be a game-changer.
“When I think about what a single pass direct-to-substrate digital device like this can really do, I call it a litho killer,” explains Roland Greene Director of Prepress and Workflow Technologies at Dusobox.
Greene and the team estimated that a potential packaging customer could be spending up to $4 million annually on outside litho ‘top sheets’ which then require laminating to boards.
With a powerful output device, Dusobox’s valuable customer and market perspective, key personnel at both companies, and a built-in customer base ready to be converted, the final piece of the puzzle was how to tie everything together.
“Our biggest challenge being a start-up, was that we didn’t have a lot of systems or processes in place; starting from scratch is a very different animal with its own unique hurdles,” explains Randy Gilbert, Creative Director of Sustainable Printing.
Dusobox, which had implemented a successful workflow automation project with Significans Automation a year prior, was quick to recommend Significans as a proven technology partner for the task.
“Roland [Greene] had the customer perspective, I knew the HP PageWide C500, and we both had a wish list of what we needed the system to do,” explains Gilbert. I wanted it to be as hands-off as possible as essentially a one-person operation.
When it came to the workflow platforms, both parties had expressed a desire to explore solutions that were more affordable, yet less complex and easier to maintain than the industry standard typically implemented.
Equipped with its clients’ wish-list and system preferences, Significans Automation set out to build the automation infrastructure required. Within 3 weeks Significans had returned to the table with a custom-built solution based on the Enfocus Switch workflow automation platform.
According to Marc Raad, CEO of Significans Automation, the installation is unique in that it is believed that this is the first corrugated company which has implemented an Enfocus Switch placement in their operation. “Although Switch is generally a product used in the commercial printing space, we listened to the customer who saw great value in Enfocus’ suite combined with Tilia Labs which prompted them to purchase a number of modules from us,” adds Raad.
With this high level of automation, Gilbert can now perform the daily tasks of 4 full-time staff by himself in half a shift, an eight-fold savings in prepress manpower and production time.
“What Significans built for us has been truly incredible,” says Gilbert. “They found a way to give us exactly what we needed and save us valuable time and manpower while reducing the potential for costly errors.” Gilbert estimates that these savings have delivered a return on investment of less than 6 months, which is especially impressive considering the system was built from scratch, from the ground up.
Though built on the initial needs and processes of Dusobox, the system’s architecture makes it easy for other clients to tap into, regardless of their degree of technical savvy. Each customer has its own portal unique to their business and requirements, and they can use it in different ways depending on their level of graphic sophistication.
According to Dusobox’s Greene, other benefits include the ease with which re-runs can be effectively managed as well as the ability to offer a wider range of stock choices. Greene explains, “It’s really a win-win because a lot of these jobs are on repeat, so we no longer have to print more than we need and throw the rest in the trash. All we have to do is push up the file and all the info is already in the system in terms of color, imposition, stock, and other info vital to that job.”
With over a dozen customers already using the site, the partnership has been a resounding success. High-speed digital printing has shaved days off production times, eliminating costly steps and saving clients money, and reducing cycle times. And by listening to its customers and maximizing every module within Switch, Significans Automation has built a robust infrastructure that has been integral to the success of this exciting new venture, and delivering an ROI of under six months.
“What’s really been huge for us,” concludes Greene, “is Significans’ willingness and ability to try new things and to deliver a solution for every suggestion and request we made. We ask them, and they just figure it out.”