Me & my: Agfa Apogee Cloud workflow answer

In Could, Prinovis UK hosted a VIP occasion to formally launch its new net offset printing functionality. The Liverpool-based print firm, which following Polestar’s collapse in 2016, grew to become the UK’s solely remaining publication gravure printer, took supply of a extremely specced Goss M600A 16pp net press earlier this yr following the collapse of Manchester print agency G&H.

 

Worthington (left with Betty): “We’re all more than happy how rapidly it has develop into an efficient answer

Prinovis had beforehand sub-contracted its cowl printing work to G&H, so following the latter’s receivership it made sense for the gravure big to snap up the press and produce a few of the journal covers and circa 1.5 billion inserts and onserts it produces per yr for its periodical purchasers in-house, saving cash and decreasing lead instances within the course of.

Chatting with the assembled throng of journal trade VIPs on the launch, Niklas Darijtschuk, Bertelsmann Printing Group chief working officer and chief government of worldwide print on the group, mentioned the introduction of the offset press was an “historic second” for the corporate.

“It’s an enormous alternative for our purchasers to do extra with us, and an enormous problem for us to present a broader, extra complicated providing,” mentioned Darijtschuk.

However to totally capitalise on the chance the corporate wanted to spend money on an offset workflow answer that may enable it to get probably the most out of the brand new machine.

“The workflow answer we’d already obtained was for gravure so we wanted a specialist system that might run the offset press and connect with the platesetter we’ve obtained,” explains Ian Betty, information operator on Prinovis’ offset methods.

What the corporate determined to plump for in March this yr, to coincide with the set up of the brand new offset printing press, was Agfa’s Apogee Cloud, a cloud-based workflow answer.

Betty says that earlier than taking the plunge the corporate reviewed numerous completely different workflow choices in the marketplace. “Nonetheless, the Apogee system appeared much more intuitive and simple to make use of,” says Betty. “It additionally gave the impression to be much more versatile.”

In addition to being impressed by Agfa’s cloud-based workflow answer, what additionally helped to seal the deal was the corporate’s general perspective to doing enterprise.

“They had been superb at demo-ing issues for us earlier than we purchased it,” says Betty. “They got here in and mentioned ‘what have you ever obtained, what are you going to place by way of it and what do you count on to obtain information clever?’ Then they did loads of trial jobs and confirmed us what it might try this was particular to our necessities.”

Choosing the cloud-based workflow supplied the corporate a lot of different distinct benefits, in accordance with Mark Worthington, pre-press and high quality supervisor at Prinovis.

“From an IT perspective, it gives an apparent price saving in each the buying of latest servers and upkeep of them too,” says Worthington. “It additionally makes any updates from Agfa seamless. Our IT workforce had been impressed with the extent of safety Agfa supplied and felt assured to go for a cloud answer. We had the plain discussions about what occurs if entry to the web from our finish was impaired, however after a lot consideration it made extra sense to make our workflow answer cloud-based.”

Betty says the set up of Apogee Cloud ran easily, thanks largely to the truth that the software program was up and operating a few fortnight earlier than the press went dwell. “Agfa had been with us for 2 strong weeks ensuring we obtained on top of things on it,” he explains. “After set up we went by way of per week of coaching and attending to know the system. Then we sat down and mentionedwe wish it do that and that’. We examined it a couple of days earlier than it went dwell and it was good to go.”

Betty says the Apogee Cloud workflow is simple to make use of. “It’s additionally very adaptable and there are loads of completely different options. We’ve set it up and configured it the way in which we wish it so we solely use what we’d like. In consequence, it’s very easy.”

This ease of use advantages each Prinovis and its prospects, in accordance with Betty. As an illustration, Apogee’s WebApproval operate permits the printer to mechanically e mail a safe hyperlink to purchasers in order that they will add paintings instantly right into a job. These information are then processed dwell and made accessible for approval with out requiring any enter or interplay from Prinovis’ prepress division. This helps to dramatically scale back turnaround instances and eliminates the necessity for FTP or third-party file switch methods. As Apogee Cloud makes use of the identical internet hosting know-how as different Agfa enterprise items, the corporate says buyer information is “100% safe”.

Since set up any preliminary reservations Prinovis may need had about utilizing a cloud-based workflow answer have utterly evaporated, with the workflow greater than residing as much as its billing. Certainly, it’s confirmed so adaptable that it’s been in a position to deal with jobs that the printer has by no means handled earlier than.

“The press was purchased to do covers primarily, plus a few of the inserts and stuff that for magazines that we’ve got beforehand performed by gravure, however we’ve had issues are available in like posters that folded to A4, that we’d by no means even thought of. Nonetheless, we’ve been in a position to deal with these jobs with a little bit of assist from Agfa,” says Betty.

Intuitive operation

Worthington has been equally impressed, each by how the workflow answer has dealt with tough jobs and the way Agfa has handled any points which have arisen.

“From a pre-press standpoint, the Apogee software program has been intuitive, the assist in each set up and coaching has been spot on and we’re all more than happy how rapidly it has develop into an efficient answer for everybody within the division,” he says.

Like Worthington, Betty can also be eager to reward the bundle of assist that Agfa has supplied since set up. “We have now had a few points connecting to the cloud, however Agfa have at all times sorted this out rapidly,” he says. “If we report one thing then normally inside 15 to 20 minutes they soar on the server in order that they see what we’re seeing.

They’ll change issues, put it proper after which present us what they’ve performed.”

Along with the power to supply distant options to any issues Prinovis, Betty says the primary factor he likes about Apogee Cloud is the pliability of the system. “We will construct completely different workflows and tailor a template workflow to every job,” he explains.

As for Worthington, he singles out the environmental advantages the corporate has loved because of the “seamless integration” of InkTune inside Apogee, which helps to cut back ink consumption.

To this point Betty hasn’t encountered any important points with Agfa’s cloud-based workflow answer and solely has reward for the way easily it’s allowed the corporate to make its preliminary foray into the offset enviornment.

“I labored at a earlier firm that used offset and we had [what was then called] Heidelberg Prinergy and Apogee is arms down significantly better than that was.”

He’s been so impressed with the brand new answer that he wouldn’t hesitate to suggest Agfa and its workflow product to different firm’s wanting so as to add offset print to their service provide.

Proper from when Agfa got here in to do the demo during to at the moment, they’ve supplied good ranges of assist and their communication can also be superb. Every part they mentioned it might do it has performed. There haven’t been any surprises.”

Betty and Worthington shall be hoping it stays that method as Prinovis seems to be to push forward with this new chapter within the firm’s historical past.


SPECIFICATIONS

Worth For an 8-up Apogee workflow together with on-line add and approval (WebApproval) software program, the associated fee can be from £1,400 per 30 days. This contains all software program, {hardware} specification primarily based on plate quantity, all software program and {hardware} upgrades and assist throughout the contract interval


Firm profile

In Prinovis’ most up-to-date outcomes the corporate, which is now the UK’s solely gravure publication printer, racked up gross sales of simply shy of £70m. At its 65,000m2 manufacturing unit in Liverpool the corporate employs 480 workers and round 100 contractors (as a part of its net offset growth plans it took on a lot of former G&H workers). Its consumer base consists of main publishers and newspaper teams together with DMG Media, Information UK and The Telegraph Group. The corporate additionally prints OK! and Hi there! magazines. Its gravure facility runs 24/7 with the online press at present operating 24/5.

Why it was purchased

Prinovis beforehand outsourced offset work, reminiscent of covers, to Manchester-based firm G&H. Nonetheless, final yr the corporate collapsed so the gravure printer determined to snap up G&H’s Goss M600An online press and produce its offset necessities in-house. In consequence it additionally wanted to implement a brand new workflow.

How has it carried out

In addition to dealing with the corporate’s customary offset work like journal covers, Apogee Cloud has additionally allowed Prinovis to tackle jobs it had by no means even contemplated tackling, such posters. “It’s very simple to make use of and it’s performed all the things Agfa mentioned it might do,” says Betty.

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