The importance of IT and customer communication will be paramount for the future of the package printing industry, says Guido Van der Schueren, chairman of HYBRID Software. Van der Schueren shared these insights in a virtual press conference, held Tuesday, June 16, introducing the company’s latest product upgrades, and stressed how the company’s IT solutions will become even more important during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, due to the added importance of remote communications.
“Companies are investing in their future and innovation,” Van der Schueren said. “[Those who are] close to their customers will be the leaders for the future. HYBRID Software wants to be leaders in our niche for labels and packaging for printers and prepress shops.”
To achieve this goal, HYBRID Software offers two main products, said Christopher Graf, the company’s CMO. PACKZ, which is HYBRID’s PDF editor exceeded 3,000 licenses at the end of 2019. Graf added that the main functionality of PACKZ is as a native PDF editor designed for prepress, and is largely utilized for helping packaging designs become ready for print.
The second major product offering from HYBRID Software is CLOUDFLOW, which Graf referred to as workspace software, rather than simply workflow software. With its ability to extend beyond processing files during prepress, Graf explained that CLOUDFLOW is able to help manage the entire process from the receiving of files to the final output.
While PACKZ and CLOUDFLOW are established products within the HYBRID portfolio, Graf said they are each receiving upgrades, packed with new features and functionality. Starting with PACKZ, Graf revealed that HYBRID is launching PACKZ 6.0, a new version of the software featuring an entirely new interface.
Among the new features Graf outlined is “Pactions,” which allows the user to record the chain of actions taken to complete a task. This can then be stored as an action list and applied to a variety of documents and objects.
“At the end of the day, for our customers it means there will be a dramatic performance increase because it’s really automating without having a workflow system,” Graf said. “It’s also a standardization of tasks, meaning if you have set it up once in the correct way, you can always apply it in that same way and it reduces the risk of human errors.”
Another new feature of PACKZ that was revealed is specifically geared toward digital printing. Packzimizer, Graf said, is an automatic step and repeat system designed for sheet optimization and gang run printing. Packzimizer works by assessing the quantity of the products being printed, the substrate, press attributes, and other variables, and groups the print together in an optimized way to save material.
Other PACKZ features that were highlighted include VDP Execute and Boosters. While variable data printing had already been a component of PACKZ, with Execute and Boosters, Graf said that the process becomes much more efficient. With Execute, static and variable elements can be optimized in PDF format for output on a digital press. Boosters meanwhile, takes the calculation intense process of the PDF optimization and increases the efficiency, making variable data production more accessible at a time when it is in high demand.
To go along with the launch of PACKZ 6.0, Graf said HYBRID Software is launching StepZ 6.0, which is essentially a stripped down version of PACKZ, designed specifically for digital print.
“Features that are relevant in prepress, such as trapping for example, do not have the same relevance for digital print,” Graf said. “We can take them out without reducing functionality. It allows for quicker implementation and is easier to use.”
Turning to CLOUDFLOW, Graf said that among the new features is Nebula, an updated user interface that will improve the user experience through its uniformity in design and typography.
Tectonics was another new CLOUDFLOW feature Graf highlighted, which optimizes the layout of a flexo job, saving on plate material and reducing waste. Also on the flexo front, Intelligent Flexo is a new screening module in CLOUDFLOW that increases the quality of flexo output.
While the virtual event served as a launch of a variety of new product features, they all related to what Van der Schueren described as HYBRID’s formula for success. Written as F~i4.0*C2, the equation stands for the “future being proportional to the latest innovative technology, multiplied by extreme customer care.”
“For us, customers are not adversaries, they are partners,” Van der Schueren said. “By working with our customer base, we arrive at better solutions geared toward the needs of our customers.”