Sustainable Printing and Dusobox

Significans Automation Facilitates Partnership: delivering an eight-fold reduction in prepress staff requirement

cat 5Sustainable Printing and Dusobox started with the acquisition of the industrial-grade HP PageWide C500 digital press in November 2021, North Carolina-based corrugate manufacturer Jackson Paper entered the business of digital printing, creating a new division based in Georgia, called Sustainable Printing to offer wholesale trade printing to Jackson’s existing clients of 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 one of its best customers, Orlando-based box-and-display company Dusobox, and by bringing in the technical expertise of automation provider Significans Automation.

“When I think about what a single pass direct-to-substrate digital device like this can really do, I call it a litho killer.”
– Roland Greene Director of Prepress and Workflow Technologies, Dusobox

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. Many of Jackson’s customers were smaller packaging plants with limited or no in-house printing who were buying sheets and outsourcing longer-run prints to large format litho shops.

“Needless to say, with that type of revenue for the workload (especially for digital) there would be hundreds of thousands of dollars and ample hours spent in prepress to take into consideration. Now think about that litho spend and the lamination process going away, with everyone going to Sustainable for high-quality direct-to-print; it’s just a brilliant business model.”
– Roland Greene Director of Prepress and Workflow Technologies, Dusobox

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.

Looking at the marketplace, 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. “Needless to say, with that type of revenue for the workload (especially for digital) there would be hundreds of thousands of dollars and ample hours spent in prepress to take into consideration. Now think about that litho spend and the lamination process going away, with everyone going to Sustainable for high-quality direct-to-print; it’s just a brilliant business model.”

“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,
– Randy Gilbert Creative Director, Sustainable Printing

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. “Working with Dusobox, we were building a workflow from the ground up, around their needs so we could learn and grow as we opened it up to other clients.”

Being a start-up, I was the prepress manager, the CSR, the shipping guy, and a lot more, so automation was the key.
– Randy Gilbert Creative Director, 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. “Being a start-up, I was the prepress manager, the CSR, the shipping guy, and a lot more, so automation was the key.”

Similarly, Greene also sought an automated solution with the ability to stop gap in any potential issues. “I told Marc [Raad, the CEO of Significans Automation]: ‘I want online proofing; I want users to have their own dedicated space, no need to play email tag or invest in any of the current file transfer services currently on the market.’”

Significans had returned to the table with a custom-built solution

Greene needed customers to be able to upload files for preflight and send automatic emails alerting the necessary departments of any issues, or conversely to continue in the absence of problems. An automatic proofing file sent to the customer as a link in an email for ease of use.

“I don’t want them to have to do anything except click on that link. If the proof is approved, I want the file imposed automatically and I don’t want an operator to have to touch it.”
-Roland Greene Director of Prepress and Workflow Technologies, Dusobox

“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.”
-Marc Raad CEO, Significans Automation

“I don’t want them to have to do anything except click on that link,” adds Greene. “If the proof is approved, I want the file imposed automatically and I don’t want an operator to have to touch it.”

When it came to the workflow platforms, both parties had also expressed a desire to explore solutions other than Esko Automation Engine which is the industry standard for packagers, as they wanted something more affordable, yet less complex and easier to maintain.

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.

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.

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.

Worth noting, Significans evaluated an imposition solution to fit Sustainable’s environment and after some due diligence, Tilia Phoenix was picked by the customer to be integrated into their workflow. Naturally, this brought optimization and immediate efficiencies.

“What Significans built for us has been truly incredible. 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.”
-Randy Gilbert Creative Director, Sustainable Printing

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 When a Dusobox employee uploads a file into the Switch server portal, Gilbert can quickly perform checks to verify it’s what he needs for the press. With a few clicks, an order can go through preflighting, proofing and straight to press – all within Switch –without the need to manually manage that file, unless any red flags arise, in which case there’s direct communication via emails to Dusobox and Sustainable about the state files are in.

“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.

THE WIN-WIN

flexibility for customer easy re-runs wide range of stock choices no more printing waste

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.

“For re-runs, 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.”
– Randy Gilbert Creative Director, Sustainable Printing

“For example, if it’s a salesperson entering files into the system I might have to do a few more checks on my end or tweak the process to, perhaps, allow them to send a file via Hightail if that’s where their comfort level is,” says Gilbert, adding, “It gives me the flexibility to do it the way the customer needs it.”

High-speed digital printing has shaved days off production times, eliminating costly steps and saving clients’ money, and reducing cycle times.

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.

Significans Automation delivered an ROI of under 6-months

“If we need to print 100 sheets, we don’t have to go back onto a litho press anymore; that’s the beauty of digital,” he explains. “For re-runs, 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.”

And unlike most packaging printers who tend to carry only a handful of substrates, Sustainable Printing has the advantage of being able to offer over 100 grades of stock partly because it is part of a corrugate manufacturing company, but mainly because its workflow system can profile all these different stocks and manage color on the fly.

“What’s really been huge for us 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.”
– Roland Greene Director of Prepress and Workflow Technologies, Dusobox

“That’s another example of the brilliance of Sustainable’s system,” explains Greene. “You’ve got color management in front of the press, so as soon as the client picks the substrate – for example, a coated kraft B flute – when it comes down for color management, it moves into one of the 100 possible queues, and everything is profiled and fully automated – all with just a one-man prepress department; it’s really amazing.”

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 6-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.”

About Sustainable Printing
Sustainable Printing, the newest division of the Jackson Paper family, maintains a vast knowledge of the printing industry and a high level of expertise in graphic-ready materials.

About Dusobox
Since 1951, Dusobox has been a privately held family business under the leadership of the Kelley family and is recognized as one of the world’s most technologically advanced prepress, printing and manufacturers of corrugated products. As a G7 certified manufacturer, their core competencies include workflow development, structural design, engineering, printing, and finishing while providing brilliant, effective, and environmentally responsive custom packaging and displays.

At Dusobox, we convert our customers toughest corrugated printing and finishing challenges into their greatest success stories.

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