Can Automation Help Reduce the Cost of Printing?
Technology has been growing rapidly, and with this, the way different industries work. One of the most used technologies is automation. Countless businesses have been using it to take repetitive tasks off employees and let machines or computer programs do the job.
Industry statistics show that 94% of employees of small and medium-sized businesses perform preventable tasks. Automation effectively handles these time-consuming tasks, so 66% of SMBs saw an increase in productivity.
One industry that sees plenty of benefits from automation is the printing industry. Automated workflow bridges the gap between media and print, enhances output quality by reducing errors, accelerates turnaround time, and significantly lessens the overall cost of printing.
How Automation Cuts Printing Costs
The printing industry—and every industry, for that matter—always looks for ways to maximise production and reduce costs without compromising quality. From packaging and label manufacturers to book and magazine printers, achieving low cost and high production is a primary goal.
With automation, all of these are possible.
1. Automation minimises printing and production errors
Human error is inevitable in most jobs, especially in projects as meticulous as printing. Most printing jobs involve design approvals, pre-press setups, and other specifications. If done manually, you could overlook a detail and not notice until the finished product rolls off the line.
One of the main benefits of automation is the reduction of human error. With computer programs and machines, which process information faster and more accurately, there is little room for mistakes.
The only human input in automation is encoding data and instructions, starting, and stopping machines and checking the final product outputs for rare production errors.
Even in the creation stage of printed materials, from books, newspapers and magazines to stickers, packaging and posters, automation plays an important part in reducing errors. While these start as human creations, computer programs can catch spelling and design errors before they’re sent to printers.
Fewer errors mean less wastage of resources and, ultimately, higher product quality. These result in lower costs and higher product value.
2. Automation eliminates repetitive tasks
There are multiple repetitive tasks involved in printing. Quick reproduction is the goal of printing. But without automation, businesses would have to resort to manual reproduction of their materials.
Can you imagine doing what scribes used to do in the olden days and painstakingly writing book contents by hand again and again? This is why early innovators created the printing press and automated the process.
With automation, you only have to input data and instructions to computer programs once. With the right settings locked in, the machines printing different materials will take care of the rest.
You can have an automation system that integrates processes like plate making and digital finishing operations into the pre-press workflow. With this integration, operators can monitor the status of each project and prioritise the functions of all connected devices.
Another example is colour management, which is essential in the graphic arts industry. People used to measure the viscosity range of inks and coatings using Zahn cups and other manual devices.
These manual measurement methods may not give you the precise reading that a specific project requires. What’s more, even the most well-trained and experienced operators may not catch the changes in viscosity that occur between measurements.
Fortunately, there are automated tools like viscometers and viscosity sensors that can consistently monitor your ink’s viscosity. This ensures it falls within the optimal range to deliver finished products of the right quality.
All of these practices reduce the cost of printing not only because they involve less manual labour, but also because the turnaround time is faster.
3. Automation converts paper to digital and vice versa
Turning paper to digital and vice versa is another important part of the printing process. Older organisations, for example, may have cabinets filled with legacy documents. Some designers may prefer sketching ideas on paper.
Without automation, turning these things into digital copies, whether for printing or simple filing, will be a lot of work. It will involve manual, repetitive labour prone to errors. These things will cost more money instead of saving.
On the other hand, automation makes it easy to scan documents and designs and store them digitally, where the storage costs are significantly lower than the real estate these papers take up. But more importantly, by digitising them, automation makes reproducing them easier.
4. Automation makes for easier content management
Marketers, copywriters and graphic designs manage assets like text, images and logos in printing and packaging digitally. It’s because digital methods make it easier to collaborate and offer instant input throughout the production process.
Automation makes this easier through content management systems. With a collaborative environment and access to digital assets, the right content management system can streamline virtually every step of the pre-press workflow, while ensuring they meet quality standards and client specifications.
This saves you the time you would otherwise use for constant back and forth, which also uses up other resources.
Other software programs have also evolved to allow users to automate nearly every action in their printing process. These programs can ensure that all digital files, fonts, colour proofs, images, coating finishes, and other requirements adhere to project specifications.
Save on Printing Costs with Cutting-Edge Printing Technology
Duplo International provides high-precision, automated print finishing technology that helps you create a more efficient workflow. Our range of slitters, cutters and creasers, as well as workflow and connectivity technology cut the costs of your printing process without compromising the quality of your output.
Contact us for enquiries.