Hybrid Software releases STEPZ 5.2 for digital labels and packaging

Hybrid Software (Gent, Belgium) has announced the release of STEPZ 5.2, the latest version of its powerful, native PDF step & repeat desktop solution for digital label and package printing. Along with its strong Variable-Data Printing (VDP) capabilities, STEPZ 5.2 is a modular version from the software creator’s PACKZ family that allows its users to build upon the complexity of the software when necessary. This simplified version of STEPZ 5.2 allows for a faster learning curve but at a much more attractive entry price, said the company. STEPZ is a powerful tool that can augment high volumes of jobs (optionally with variable designs, text, numbers and barcodes) translating data from data systems directly to a step & repeat layout. The new capabilities in version 5.2, based on customer feedback, have been praised for their ease of use, richness of features, and the efficiency and speed of file output.

The solution enables HP Indigo users to create step & repeat templates for their HP Indigo label and packaging presses. Hybrid STEPZ works efficiently and quickly with the HP PrintOS Production Pro for labels and packaging Digital Front Ends (DFEs). The DFE is based on Global Graphics’ Harlequin RIP, Fundamentals (which utilizes Hybrid Cloudflow technology for digital label and packaging workflows), and Hybrid Software’s Label Layout Station for imposition. Ideal for ultra-short runs and variable-data printing, STEPZ is available to HP Indigo users for subscription or purchase through the HP PrintOS Marketplace.

Processing moves from desktop to server. Rather than at the press, VDP file development with STEPZ has always resided at prepress, where it belongs. To offer even more computing power, STEPZ 5.2 can process all VDP file variants from the desktop to a server level, if desired. The link to STEPZ is still accessible in Cloudflow, making possible “the most powerful VDP execution of output files yet. Users can build complete VDP files approximately eight times faster, compared to leaving the work at the desktop workstation.”

STEPZ 5 now available as a standalone solution. For those who prefer to operate STEPZ for its VDP capabilities alone, Hybrid Software is offering a standalone solution, providing customers with the opportunity to handle high-volume VDP jobs with a single, easy-to-use application. With its modern server architecture, STEPZ 5.2 optionally allows users to scale their processes if needed, and output any challenging amount of data with ease.

Hybrid Software Chairman Guido Van der Schueren.

A number of new step & repeat features. STEPZ 5.2 also includes a number of new step & repeat production enhancements. There are upgrades for roll-to-roll applications as well as for sheetfed solutions. For example, users can now define the bleed distance of common flaps on cardboard folding boxes. “PACKZ is our flagship product for sophisticated prepress work” said Guido Van der Schueren, Chairman of Hybrid Software, “Based on this powerful technology, STEPZ now offers just the required tool set for digital printing preparation for a short learning curve and a quick introduction.”

With offices in the U.S., Belgium, Germany and Italy, plus a global partner network, Hybrid Software is a software development company focused on innovative productivity-boosting tools for the printing and graphic arts industry. Its Cloudflow workflow, PACKZ editor and integration products offer a unique set of advantages that include native PDF workflows, vendor-independent solutions based on industry standards, scalable technology and low cost of ownership. These products are used by hundreds of customers worldwide in all areas of prepress and print – including labels and packaging, folding cartons, corrugated, wide-format and digital printing.