albelli, a subsidiary and brand name of albumprinter BV, represents one of the largest European photo book suppliers in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. albelli’s mission is to make the world a better place by bringing people’s moments to life, offering excellent quality, affordability and customer service.
A partnership built to elevate fast and innovative HP printing capabilities
albelli needed a solution that was dynamic and powerful enough to keep up with its new HP technology. The HP Indigo 50000 Digital Press that was so fast and dynamic that traditional imposition solutions upstream from the press couldn’t keep up.
albelli partnered with Tilia Labs on a faster software solution that would automate imposition processes, enabling all different print formats while integrating with their existing finishing equipment and software environment.
With tilia Phoenix, albelli was able to:
- Process files around 15 times faster than any technologies tested.
- Quickly adapt to the new print requirements by avoiding the need to write custom imposition software.
- Easily integrate with existing IT and finishing equipment using an open REST API.
- Maximize throughput of the HP Indigo 50000 with multi-lane imposition.
A powerful workflow companion that can improve imposition
At its facility in The Hague, production fulfillment for the entire albelli market uses an arsenal of HP Indigo digital presses, including B2 HP Indigo 12000 digital press models as well as HP Indigo W7250 and HP Indigo 6600p digital presses. In 2018, this facility also became home to Europe’s first HP Indigo 50000 digital press.
When albelli installed the HP Indigo 50000, they faced potentially overwhelming workflow challenges. The HP Indigo 50000 Digital Press, an oversized B1 duplex web press, was designed for productivity and efficiency. It offers digital print service providers economies of scale for high coverage creative designs on virtually any type of paper. With a 746 x 1120 mm (29.3 x 44-inch) image size and the capability to print up to 770 duplex color pages per minute or 2300 ppm in monochrome, it enables albelli to produce a colossal throughput for photo books, yearbooks, publications, direct mail and marketing collateral. Feeding such a powerful press with the volumes required to keep it running effectively and efficiently is no easy feat. Whether photo books, calendars, or wall art, all print production at the facility is integrated into a single workflow, from artwork input through to shipping.
“We have many different kinds of products, all needing different formats and requiring different procedures from the operators,” says Michael Koval, Software Engineer with albelli. “And the more types we have, then the more routes and procedures we have to build into the software. Supporting all that, of course, increases complexity.”
When it came to the HP Indigo 50000, the team had to tackle a unique situation. To integrate the printer into production in the easiest possible way, albelli wanted to utilize all its existing finishing equipment with the 50000. Designed for handling rolls from the previous generation printers — 24 or 33 centimeters (9.4 or 13 inches) wide — this meant splitting the web into two or three lanes.
“Previously, we had always printed on either a single sheet or on a roll. Our existing imposition software was built in-house and was capable of automatically positioning everything in one lane, but we had never done it with two or three lanes,” says Remco Beekhuizen, Production Engineer at albelli. “So that was the biggest challenge: to make the imposition as efficient as possible, in all different formats, different positions. And it should also fit within the rest of our software environment.”
Unprecedented speed and efficiencies with tilia Phoenix
albelli met with several vendors, including Tilia Labs, to see if there was a quicker solution that could avoid months of work building the software in-house. The huge single PDF sample files for the HP Indigo 50000 were each more than 20 gigabytes in size. Tilia Phoenix processed the files around 15 times faster than any of the other technologies tested. Another critical factor for albelli was the Swagger-based RESTful API.
“When we started looking, we knew we weren’t interested in a UI based solution. We wanted an API system because we automate things as much as possible here at albelli,” says Beekhuizen.
Knowing that the DIY method would have been pretty intensive for the albelli team, one of the direct benefits of tilia Phoenix was the fact that is sped up the process of implementation entirely. The hope is that in the future, the albelli team can utilize the speed and flexibility of the tilia Phoenix solution on other printers in the facility as they continue to help customers bring special moments to life.
Performance-wise, tilia Phoenix is better than anything else we have in house. It churns 10 gigabytes of PDFs per minute, which is quite fascinating,” says Beekhuizen. “So far, we’ve been very happy.”
Tilia Phoenix XML and JSON reports connect the information and data output from tilia Phoenix with the next steps in automated workflows, automatically updating MIS/ERP systems with production information. In the tilia Phoenix Configurator in Enfocus Switch, the XML report is embedded into each file exported from tilia Phoenix as a dataset to greatly simplify integrations.