Inland Packaging has invested in dedicated Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology from tilia Phoenix to alleviate pre-production bottlenecks that were becoming increasingly problematic with a growing customer base and more jobs per customer.
Tilia Phoenix is an open-API planning and imposition application that uses AI to fully automate the creation of effective, print-ready impositions across potentially millions of possibilities. Before discovering the tilia Phoenix solution, pre-production had been a very manual process for the Inland team.
‘Things that work when you’re smaller don’t work when you have double, triple, quadruple the orders. As production ramped up, the amount of manpower we would need to force jobs through was daunting,’ said Inland’s Business Analyst and Programmer, Willie Spindler. ‘My chief concern was ensuring that, from order to production, the amount of effort required is as minimal as possible. After getting Tilia Labs in to give us a demo, we realised right away that Phoenix was exactly the solution we’d been looking for.’
‘Our comboing and gang-run process essentially involved our planners looking at a set of demand orders and, through years of experience, picking and choosing what they thought would be best,’ explained Spindler. ‘Our planning department now saves a huge amount of time and for customer orders many hours are being saved. We’ve got integration built up-front that feeds Phoenix these demand orders so there’s no issues with data entry.’
The system factors in parameters such as job specifications (quantity, dimensions, colours, substrates), presses/print devices, postpress requirements and delivery considerations, to suggest optimal layout options. When a final option has been selected, tilia Phoenix generates print-ready layouts and JDF or die instructions, for all devices in the production chain.
As well as up-front tasks, Inland has felt the benefit of Phoenix’s open architecture through the entire job fulfilment. Feeding Phoenix exports downstream has enabled the company to eliminate data entry duplication and potential errors, ‘It has saved us huge amounts of time in our planning department. The prep department is now taking a fully stepped PDF and creating plates from it – their time has been cut in half.’
Exploiting a Phoenix feature called Cover Sheet, which allows Inland to embed product information into the barcode, tilia Phoenix has made the company’s verification systems much more effective. ‘We can use it to help sort combo jobs into the right boxes and eliminate those mixed bundles that would otherwise happen,’ said Spindler.
Inland Packaging is a supplier of sophisticated flexible, in-mould and pressure sensitive labelling solutions for food, beverage and consumer product packaging customers. The company ascribes continued success over seven decades to a customised innovation process, which involves strategic evaluation and investment in emerging technologies, such as smart packaging and advanced variable data digital printing. The company offers digital, flexographic, offset and rotogravure production capabilities.
‘Our company strategy is to continue to support our large brand clients, while at the same time developing our success with many smaller brands. This means investing in new technologies – such as Tilia Labs’ – and expanding capabilities that make our culture of innovation possible,’ concluded Jackie Kuehlmann, director of marketing at Inland.