Time Savings & Benefits
The system is reportedly saving users between five minutes and 10 minutes to patch an entire job. Users simply open the browser, find the file, break the job into patches and hold the patches to be sheeted.
Since so many jobs are processed daily, CLOUDFLOW Patchplanner could result in a total 50 percent savings in prepress. For corrugated plates with limited graphics, savings can reach 30 percent to 70 percent on material because jobs can be ganged. Operators can run jobs with multiple fingerprints, screen settings, plate characterizations and curves.
CLOUDFLOW Patchplanner sets itself apart from other plate patching applications because it utilizes a number of differentiators: a pure PDF workflow, a browser-based application, ties to MIS and features that are much more versatile than similar tools.
Many people and applications have access to CLOUDFLOW PatchPlanner. By allowing access via a web browser using HTML5, it can uniquely work in a distributed world, rather than requiring work to be done from the workstation where installed, one user at a time. CLOUDFLOW Patchplanner is available to anyone, no matter where they are in the world—even at home—extremely valuable during these difficult times. Companies can set all their preferences, so everyone is operating under the same, standardized set of rules.
Even a sales person can import an art PDF file into CLOUDFLOW Patchplanner, patch the job and determine the amount of plate material that will be used, allowing them to provide an estimate almost immediately. This is extremely helpful in a competitive marketplace.
CLOUDFLOW Patchplanner offers an intuitive way to let the operator make an intelligent decision to ensure that plates are optimally manufactured. The system pulls job information from MIS systems—for example, polymer, thickness and sizes, among other variables. CLOUDFLOW Patchplanner automatically knows all of the job specs and embeds them in the mounter’s MOM file. Using an automated mounting system, the plate is reassembled onto a plastic carrier, ready for the press. The CLOUDFLOW Patchplanner setup processes are automated, along with capturing the actual patch reports: the number of square inches of plate material a job took and the number of patches used, to calculate job costs. This information can be uniquely returned to MIS/accounting for billing and future estimates.
There is also flexibility to override the system if the plate optimization scheme does not make sense. Other applications force the operator to image a patch to a specified size, according to Hybrid Software.
In addition, because some automatic mounters mount plates with one camera instead of two, CLOUDFLOW Patchplanner lets operators decide whether to stretch a patch, or rely on a one-camera mount. To help make the correct decision on what’s best, CLOUDFLOW Patchplanner can calculate the extra plate area that would be used, allowing the operator to make a financial determination.
Hybrid Software says that other applications do not offer the ability to drive two mounting systems at the same time: both coordinate-based logic for automatic mounters and/or mirror mounting. CLOUDFLOW Patchplanner does—including flat mounting with drill solutions.
CLOUDFLOW Patchplanner has been very well accepted by users, says Hybrid Software.
“Our customers, as they become accustomed with the basic features, have experimented with the more advanced aspects,” Agness says.
One example is a company that says CLOUDFLOW Patchplanner enables it to take multi-color, complex, high-end jobs and not only produce them efficiently, but mount them more accurately.
“Because it imports PDF rather than rasterized TIFF files, Patchplanner can determine the correct plate distortion from the cylinder—and any other graphics placements need no rounding up or down. This exceptional accuracy, along with that which the machines we are mounting on offer, delivers better registration than full plates; as perfect as the industry can deliver,” explains one highly experienced art director. “Unlike other patching systems, Patchplanner works from a server. You do not have to pay to install it into every workstation. The Patchplanner license is much more lenient and cost-effective.”
Another premedia service provider’s innovations specialist notes that CLOUDFLOW Patchplanner has saved plate material, making the company much more efficient. “[It has] allowed us to standardize among many locations, and has improved quality. It is a significant improvement from the way we previously patched plates—not an easy process.”
Agness says Hybrid Software was thrilled to receive a Technical Innovation Award.
“What was important for us was the validation of the technical foundation of all our products,” he explains. “We have been able to develop them on the underpinnings of PDF and HTML5, which has really allowed us to build systems that are extremely flexible. It makes what we do easier, on a conceptual basis, to build—and for customers to use.
“We are not done. Lately, we have introduced HYBRID Tectonics as a way to optimize corrugated and all flexo plates even better, building off the proven CLOUDFLOW Patchplanner foundation.”