Software can be a powerful tool, and yet the companies behind it are usually small in terms of the number of employees. This is true for HYBRID Software, which is globally successful with its PDF editors and production workflow solutions. By Andreas Tietz
“We are sometimes called the smallest company in the world,” joked Artur Wall, Product Expert at HYBRID Software, during the webinar at Deutscher Drucker’s “Packaging Days” in November 2021. In fact, the 113-employee software house has sold 4,000 licenses around the globe and is constantly winning new customers. Users benefit from an increase in efficiency and the degree of automation thanks to networked processes. Artur Wall explained how this is achieved for example with the digital print of label and packaging, and showcased the example with a sweets packaging label. The software products PACKZ, a PDF editor specializing in labels and packaging, and CLOUDFLOW, a modular workflow suite for file processing, asset management, soft proofing and workflow automation, were demonstrated.
From QC to approval
The demonstration began with checking and correcting customer data using PACKZ. Wall showed how a PDF can be “cleaned up” with just a few clicks, for example by removing separations, layers, paths and objects that are not required. The integrated color management adjusts the print data to the color space of the respective press. Rasterization can also be assessed and modified via Proofscope. Bleed and overprinting can be adjusted or added, as can areas for spot varnish or white. The process continued step by step – for example via the cutting masks and the automated construction of the overall print form – until approval, where the customer receives a link to a soft proof by e-mail.
The email contains all the relevant data and shows the changes made. The customer can then give approval in real time at the click of a mouse. He does not need his own editor for this, as all applications run via a web-based file server and are networked with each other. The subsequent question and answer session took up a lot of time. Many members of the audience were interested in aspects of data security. Artur Wall pointed out that although the workflow software is called CLOUDFLOW, it does not necessarily have to run in a cloud: “It just means that it is a web-enabled application that runs in a browser. The data could just as easily be on an internal file server.” Another question was aimed at interconnectivity, such as linking to other workflow and ERP systems. Here, Artur Wall referred to the large number of cooperation and technology partners of HYBRID Software, including many important players in the global printing and packaging industry such as Efi, HP Indigo, Xeikon, Fujifilm, XSYS, GMG Color or ColorLogic.
It was also fundamentally questioned whether a PDF editor was still needed in view of AI-based, fully automated prepress software. A question that Artur Wall answered by looking at the installation figures of PACKZ. “There are still a lot of templates that need to be rehashed,” Wall said. “In companies with many different and frequently changing jobs, this work is difficult to automate”, he said. “PACKZ offers more security, speed and efficiency here”, he said.