Blog: How we created a fully automated workflow at FESPA 2023

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Life’s a beach when you automate print 

When is an automated workflow demonstration not really an automated workflow demonstration? When you’re only getting to see a small part of the workflow.

And that’s something that’s frustrated us for a while – what’s the point in showing off our platform at trade shows, if the printer is seeing it in isolation?

A completely automated workflow

That’s why this year, we, along with our friends and partners at EnfocusKongsberg Precision Cutting Systems and HP, went to great lengths to show off not only how easy it is to use our software to create individually branded storefronts, with a powerful editor, that enables you to personalise at scale; but to also show how, when integrated with other platforms, Infigo’s web-to-print solution is essential to creating a completely automated workflow, from start to finish.

This is how we found ourselves hosting a laid-back beach party in Munich, Germany at The Personalisation Experience, co-hosted with FESPA’s Global Print and European Sign Expo 2023. That’s right; we held a beach party in one of the most landlocked cities in the world – you can never accuse us of not being creative!

Infigo’s Chris Minn, Paul Bromley and Jason Taylor at the stand on opening day

Why a beach party?


Well, when you automate your print, you get time back. This is one of our goals – to give time and often-sacrificed relaxation back to print business owners and operators.


And what better way to kick back and chill than a day at the beach?


Surf’s up, dude!


So, we had our Hawaiian shirts, our sunglasses and our friends, Enfocus, who brought the drinks. Only one thing was missing – surfboards.


But even the keenest surfer and print enthusiast doesn’t want to spend a two-day trade event carrying a full-sized surf-board.


Instead, along with our beach-inspired partners, we set up an entirely automated workflow, where attendees could personalise their own desktop-sized surfboard design.


But even better, they could see the back-end process, the integrations involved and even see the finished article printed and cut.


Because, in our opinion, if you can demonstrate that an automated workflow can be created using wi-fi at a trade show, then it proves that it can be done practically anywhere.


Yes, even from the beach.

Watch the workflow, from start to finish

Featuring Infigo Head of Global Marketing, Chris Minn, as Infigo web-to-print expert and overall workflow chaperone, what a treat it was to see our ‘Life’s a beach’ collaboration with partners Enfocus, Kongsberg PCS and HP at FESPA’s Personalisation Experience played back on demand, thanks to some slick video and editing skills from our friends at INKISH TV.


Alternatively, you can continue reading this article, where we follow CEO of INKISH Benelux & France, Jacques Michiels, as he experiences the process first-hand, from start to finish.



Watch now

Stage one: Infigo (web-to-print & workflow)

At the first stage of the workflow, Jacques customised a surfboard template on our demonstration storefront.


We limited the personalisation level by locking in most of the template data fields. Attendees could add their names and change the colour of the surfboard.


However, in reality, you could have multiple templates, multiple colours, and multiple variations. Once Jacques completed his design, he was able to preview the surfboard. We also offer a 3-D preview, which is great for label and packaging converters.


Once Jacques was happy with this design, he added it to his basket and completed the order, just as you would with any e-commerce platform.


And as the printer, you don’t really need to get involved in an email stream or flurry of phone calls to finalise the design – which gives you a bit more time back on the beach.

Stage 2: Enfocus (Workflow automation & proofing)

Once the artwork was completed, it was pushed into Enfocus Switch. In this demonstration, the files were transferred by email. However, we offer a range of dedicated and generic APIs to connect to different MIS systems, including a direct integration with Enfocus.


The MIS then checks the resolution of the image and the file format. Again, the printer does not even have to get involved as the user is notified of any problems.


Enfocus’s software also handles nesting, so similar orders are batched together, optimising space on the sheet, significantly reducing waste.


The software also creates two files – one for the printer and one for the cutter – which adds a cut path and bleed.


Once all these checks have been carried out, and the data has been synced in the backend (which the customer isn’t aware of), the file is submitted to the printer. Which in this case, was our friends at HP.

Stage 3: HP (print & processing)

Jacques file was then loaded onto HP’s internal printing system (IPS), through an API. The surfboard design was then printed onto foam board –made with recycled materials. Likewise, the printer used a 100% water-based latex technology which is environmentally friendly and stretch resistant.


And as HP explained, their printers can print on a variety of surfaces – from paper, to foam board to wood and aluminium – up to 5cm in thickness.


So it is technically possible to print your very own full-sized surfboard.


The printer also automatically preconfigures and pre-imposes the files it receives through a JDF system.


And because the machine has all the order information, it lets the operator know when the next foam sheet needs to be loaded – the only manual task.



However, as well as receiving the order and production data, the printer also sends job data back through the workflow.

Stage 4: Kongsberg PCS (cutting & finishing)

As we mentioned in stage 2, while one file was sent from Enfocus to HP for printing, another was sent to Kongsberg for cutting. Obviously, you (and your customers!) want to be confident that the product is cut in the same shape as the print design.


Because the data is being synced across all platforms, all the parameters are automatically filled in.


Once the material has been placed on the cutting machine a camera detects registration marks. So all the operator needs to do is press start on the machine. The machine then reads the cutting marks, which is essentially positions the cutting file on top of the print file.


Again, the job will dictate which cutting machine is to be used and the speed of production.


But once the (limited) waste was disposed of, our surfboards were ready, and it was time to hit he beach bar.

The only overhead you'll worry about, is the sun

Ok, eagle-eyed readers will have spotted that there were still some manual touchpoints in that workflow. However, each task you can automate, cuts costs and gives you more time to focus on the things that matter – whether that’s landing larger corporate clients, spending time with the family or chilling at the beach.


However, as we have mentioned, it’s all about looking at your overall workflow, to see what areas can be automated. And this may be a project that requires several years of time and investment and making sure you’re investing in the right hardware and software for YOUR business.


This is why we’ve taking a slightly different approach. We don’t want to force our solutions on you, if you’re not ready for them. When we speak to a prospect, we’re qualifying what their needs are. So if we’re not the right fit we can ask other questions about their workflow.


What do they currently have in place?


How does their workflow currently look?


Do they understand where the manual touchpoints are and how much interaction is there with different types of jobs?


Because it might not be the front end that needs the investment. It might be with one of our automation partners at another part of the workflow.


But in short, we want all printers to thrive in this new exciting age of print. We want them to be able to process small, low value orders at minimal cost and at maximum profit, with minimal touchpoints.


To do that you need to have a workflow that is fully automated, and then you can look at the B2B and B2C platform opportunities.


And more importantly, spend more time on the beach, where with print automation, the only overhead you’ll worry about, is the sun.