Tilia Labs and Cerm partner to extend prepress efficiencies for label printers

As part of its continuing strategy to integrate with key technology partners, Ottawa-Ontario-based Tilia Labs, a leading developer of planning, imposition and automation software solutions for the printing and graphic arts industries, has announced a new partnership to benefit label printers. In a development with Cerm, a major Belgium-based MIS provider to narrow-web printers, the two companies will combine their strengths to offer integrated prepress capabilities dedicated to maximizing efficiencies in label print production on an ongoing basis. The initial result of the collaboration is a new, seamless integration between Cerm MIS and Tilia Phoenix’s ganging capabilities to deliver a “Plug and Play” solution for optimizing sheetfed label production workflow – from design through to distribution.

Geert Van Damme.
Geert Van Damme.

According to Geert Van Damme, Managing Director of Cerm, increasing demand from customers for an “intelligent ganging system” acted as the catalyst for Cerm to explore options for a dedicated imposition solution. “Cut and stack sheetfed label producers were asking for a sophisticated capability that would allow them to combine a variety of labels with different sizes, colours and quantities on print sheets,” he said. “We tested several different offerings and options with a number of customers – and Tilia Phoenix came out way ahead in every respect. Its speed was the first thing to impress everyone. It also offers an extensive set of preferences, allowing the print shop to align the system with its routine production habits. The user can make any number of changes to the chosen option, and even save it as a template for the future. On top of this, the system is very intuitive – for usability it couldn’t be matched.”

Tilia Labs’ flagship imposition solution, Tilia Phoenix, draws on new developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) in automating planning and imposition for all types of devices and print applications. At its hub is Imposition AI, a set of tools and protocols designed to search across millions of possibilities to calculate the most cost-effective ganging and nesting combinations for up to 1,000 orders at a time. The system factors in parameters such as job specifications (quantity, dimensions, colours, substrates), presses/print devices, postpress requirements and delivery considerations, to deliver optimal layout options.

In the combined solution, the Cerm MIS interfaces directly to Phoenix as to an intelligent ‘black box’ – without the need to switch back and forth between applications. A group of individual orders can be ganged in the most cost-efficient way based upon the calculation of total production costs. The preferred ‘option’ can then be stored during estimation and re-used for repeat production runs, even allowing individual elements within the template to be swapped for identically-shaped labels. If significant changes are called for, the gang-sheet can be opened, elements can be replaced or added and then re-ganged. When a final option has been selected, Tilia Phoenix generates print-ready ganged layouts and imposition JDF instructions. Van Damme added that, due to Cerm’s existing integration with Esko Automation Engine, the Phoenix JDFs will automatically drive Esko’s platemaking, offering additional time savings and cost savings to the print shop.

Sagen de Jonge.
Sagen de Jonge.

“In line with our strategic focus on selecting and integrating with the best technology partners, we’re thrilled to join forces with Cerm,” said Sagen de Jonge, CEO of Tilia Labs. “Tilia and Cerm customers can now tap into a wealth of combined know-how via a single source to gain a very powerful management system. The ongoing development opportunities are also promising. Cerm is already looking at our die-cut capabilities to explore the potential of developing a joint offering. This isn’t simply a technical interface between the two systems; it’s about complete solutions that will evolve with new developments from both sides over time.”

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.