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It’s always time for Print Automation

20.10.2023

Morten Reitoft from INKISH TV interview Raymond Duval at the HP Expo. They discuss print automation ahead of the PRINTING United Expo in Altanta GA.

It has been a busy year for Canadian Ultimate TechnoGraphics. New major upgrades to its Impostrip software, an entirely new nesting engine, new partner announcements, and Scalable software technology – as you can understand, good reason to talk to Raymond Duval. We will also meet Ray and his colleagues at PRINTING United to dig more into details, but this is, as always, great talking to him. Enjoy!

 

Morten: This is Morten from Inkish, we are still here at the HP Event in Atlanta Georgia, and I am here with my good friend Ray from Ultimate TechnoGraphics.
Super good to see you.

Raymond: Same thing here.

Morten: We have done so many films from you in the past year, and every customer I visit, they are just so happy working with you, and I still haven’t been able to see what the software… What is it all about Ray?

Raymond: Well, if you see it, then it’s not automation in the back. You shouldn’t see it. It should just be there and work.

Morten: Is that sometimes a challenge?

Raymond: Sometimes it can be a challenge. You know, in any print operation you need people to be empowered by automation and be willing to implement tools and solutions and technology that will allow humans to do something else and not pay attention to prepress and post-press and just let the machines do what they do best; print, cut paper and finish paper automatically.

Morten: I’m asking because another thing I have noticed, especially the last month, is that you are releasing major updates and upgrades to the Ultimate Suite of software. I think I have asked you before, is now the time for automation?

Raymond: It’s always the time, but you’re right, we are releasing a lot of new technology, a lot of new solutions, for prepress, for nesting, different things in wide-format, large format, labels, packaging. But also finishing automation and like I said before, people need to do it step by step. It’s not something that you implement by magic in your entire shop or factory and its entirely automated. But, you need to do it step by step, because everybody is doing it to certain levels, so if you’re not already implementing automation in your own print environment, you’re late.

Morten: We were actually in Groningen in The Netherlands just a month ago, and you were almost there because you were in Hamburg for the Finishing First event. When we were there, one of the things that we spoke about was that there seems to be a tendency that, you know in the past when you had a lot of different software that was licensed, then you pay for it, and then you need another software and you paid another license, and basically it was an x-amount of investment but you kind of depreciated and then you move on, right?
Today, where everything is subscription based, I think that also now is the time you pick whatever track you go on. Because if you pick Ultimate TechnoGraphics as a supplier for your workflow automation, you don’t need much else do you?

Raymond: Well, we adapt to how a business operates. It varies around the World. Some people still want to acquire perpetual licenses for software. They invest, they own it, that’s how they feel about, that’s how they expense it out, that’s how they put it in their books, and then they pay an annual maintenance license. It’s been like that for years and years. Subscription is something that pleases some, not pleases others. If you stop the subscription then you will need to start with another technology. We adapt to how our customers want to invest and acquire technology.

Morten: But I was more thinking that if you have like, let’s say you have bought a piece of hardware and you have some software along with it, then you buy another piece of hardware that has another piece of software that comes with it, and if you and up having like 10 subscriptions for example, basically now it’s like the right time to consider who you should work with for let’s say one or two 2 subscriptions, because they can manage the entire workflow, right?

Raymond: Yes, you are totally correct. A lot of people come to us, because of our solutions and what they want to do, which is centralize. When you buy equipment, you can buy a software subscription for software that comes with the equipment. You can have 10 different suppliers, you know machine, HP and others, they have 10 different pieces of software, subscription or with the machine. But at the end of the day, you pay for it. Customers want to centralize and automate with a few pieces of software, like you say. And they want to operate the entire fleet of the equipment they have with a workflow that will be independent, agnostic, of their devices.

Morten: Because I was just about to say that is maybe one of the key things as well because if you have a workflow that you have taylored to your business, then you are less dependant on specific hardware. Now you can exchange your hardware as you go to fulfill your requirements for your customers at this time. Instead of just changing everything.

Raymond: Totally. It allows customers to be a lot more flexible to grow. Not being dependent on choosing a brand, maybe they want a new technology that this supplier has, and they can acquire this print technology, yet rely on the backbone of the software that they have, that they own. Maybe it’s a subscription, maybe they have their own software, but they can drive their entire fleet, and that’s the beauty of what we provide.

Morten: Another thing that we learned also from Fotofabriek in The Netherlands, is also the fact that with the new scalability ability in Ultimate, basically now you can have the CPU power you need for your average, but you can scale it so instead of having a lot of licenses you can basically peak when you have demand, right?

Raymond: Yes exactly. It’s like the concept of the hardware rack that we have have back here where it’s scalability. The more processing power you have, the more you can add hardware. Same principal with Ultimate Impostrip Scalable. You can add processing power, like Fotofabriek, when you can have multiple different machines, different brands, and you just want to produce with one centralized approach, that’s how you can scale it with our technology and bring, whatever level of production capabilities you need for your fleet of print devises.

Morten: When Inkish interviewes you, and we’ve done it quite a few times now, it’s obvious you know that we have an interest in also the customers you have and what you offer, but there’s always one saying that you find very important when you end a show… what is that?

Raymond: Talking to new customers that have automation challenges. Always, it’s so motivating to talk to people that stil today, have growth projects, have investment projects, but the common denominator is that they want to automate everything. They want to have less manual intervention and it’s fun. Every day is fun talking to customers like this.

Morten: So the three words we need to have on camera?

Raymond: Automation, automation, automation.

Morten: Thank you sir.

 

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