Utilizing the Production module, you can easily create a dynamic production plan based on each product’s technical specifications, resources availability and load, operations set-up time gain, and customer deadlines. Meanwhile, you can monitor real-time and collect data from all production stages via PLCs and sensors and accurately log materials consumption.
The Production module includes the following functionalities:
Following the order processing, a job ticket is generated for each product to be produced; each job ticket contains all the information on how the product is to be made. Every detail that needs to be available to the production floor for each product phase is included in the job ticket. Other than being available in the MIS system, it can also be output to a pdf or a printer, so that it exists as a physical document on paper for use on the production floor.
A job ticket may contain more than one product, provided the products added to the same order are of the same die-cut design thus the same die-cut plate can be used. In production, this would be the only pre-requisite to print two different jobs in one production run. Overprint, being built from the feedback of users’ experience, will intuitively provide suggestions of ganging orders based on the same die-cut design found in different jobs.
To add more automation to this functionality, when multiple job tickets are used on the same die-cut, the ganging functionality will also provide outright calculations of the optimum amount of repeatability of each job on the sheet, according to the run-length per job, the number of sheets, and quantity of remaining stock.
Out of this calculation, having the optimum amount of repeatability for each job on the die-cut plate, the best fit of jobs that can be grouped on the same sheet and repeatability may also be derived. This feature is quite beneficial when different product versions are possible (e.g. labels for one product in a variety of flavors), as well as when the jobs are repeatable.
Further processing of the job ticket continuous to production planning, which is often assigned internally to another department therefore to another licensed user having separate access rights. Production Planning is vital in meeting delivery deadlines, optimizing equipment efficiency, and minimizing idle times within work shifts.
Preparing for Production
Within Production Preparation, the user can set up the production schedule using one main view which combines the following detailed data: the list of job tickets, the time of production preparation tasks, production data, and comments.
The calculated estimate of the time needed to complete each job that is described in the job ticket will be displayed. This means it will provide separate times i.e. for preparing plates, printing, hot-foil stamping, varnishing, rewinding, packaging, in the case of labels. The indicated times for each job are calculated based on parameterization, machine learning, and even manual data entry.
We also have machine learning built-in: the planning tool can leverage past actual setup and production times to better estimate the time needed for each job, depending on the equipment that it will be produced on.
Scheduling Job Tickets
Scheduling allows manually scheduled plans or Just-in-Time planning by prioritizing jobs based on the specifications of the print job and by calculating the time gain compared to a different prioritization.
For example, the planner can instruct the tool to combine all jobs that have the same colors or varnishes to save setup time or combine all jobs that have the same die cut or folding to gain setup time on post-print phases. Or a combination of those criteria always by respecting and meeting delivery deadlines. This way the planner, can define the optimum sequence of scheduling planned jobs.
Scheduling can be done either manually or by auto-scheduling using filters. Auto-scheduling is using pre-defined filters (or by enabling/disabling filters), which are set as per business requirements. Filters are applied in a sequence of priority or based on the severity of business requirements, i.e. the user can set the delivery date as the first criterion to sort the priority of job tickets. Manual intervention is also possible if needed. The filters can be production-related (i.e. the die-cut design that is used), based on technical specs (e.g. number of print colors), or business-related (e.g. delivery times).
Planning based on Resources
Scheduling also delivers a Resource Planning functionality, which shows the usage of each piece of equipment based on the planned jobs both on a Gantt chart (project-like depicting) as well as on percentage (%) of workload. These figures depend on shift times, available days of production, and the number of jobs, parameters that have been defined in the system. The load on each piece of equipment used can be shown for the number of days defined on the spot. Each piece of equipment used can follow a separate shifts calendar. In the same functionality, the planner can easily modify the equipment used in production for each job to be produced.
Machine Learning in Production Planning
Using Machine Learning technology, the algorithm is using data from previous production cycles to estimate the time needed based on the job-specific parameters, constantly improving job prioritization and time gain control, regardless of last-minute changes or production-related issues.
We apply continual learning to feed the Machine Learning engine. Leveraging all historical production data, such as setup and production time, downtimes, etc. as well as the details of each job, we process the data by cleansing, removing outliers, etc. to train the predictive model and improve its accuracy.
This forecast is based on actual historical production data, so it is more accurate than any other theoretical time estimation, no matter how complex it is calculated.
Shop floor terminals – Control Center
Every user on the production floor can connect to the Overprint MIS system, through the Control Center shop floor terminals installed on industrial touch screen consoles. When a Job Ticket has been planned and sent to Production, it is distributed directly to the Control Center terminal. On the Control Center, every equipment operator can have a complete list of the Job Tickets to be produced, including information of the customer, required delivery date, and Job Ticket status.
Drilling down to each Job Ticket, the user’s home screen will provide the process details, several production counters with estimates, current and remaining times, the current and average production speed indicated in performance gauges, a section to indicate reasons of downtimes, production notes, and incomplete production details.
In most cases, it is preferable to automatically log production data without any human intervention, while in some cases there are specific data that a system may not be able to log. When automatic data collection is not an option, the operator can log manually the required production data within the Control Center shop floor terminal. During production the following data is tracked: setup time, production time, as well as material consumption and waste.
There are several functionalities possible on Control Center, including scanning of materials through handheld barcode/RFID scanners, list of consumptions, staff selection, ISO details, reports, changing shift/equipment.
Automation via Floor Data Collection Terminals
Production data such as set-up/production start and end times, production count, usage of consumables, waste, can be captured automatically (without the user intervention) from the production floor eliminating the need for manual entries. This is established using PLCs, sensors such as infrared or encoders, as well as JMF files sourced by the equipment within JDF-enabled workflows.
Information such as job-ticket status, operator and equipment identification, and assignment, precise recording of production runs, waste material monitoring, and equipment status is captured and is available to Overprint users immediately for various decision-making processes towards resources optimization and achieving shorter lead times.
The use of the job ticket in combination with shop floor data collection terminals ensures seamless flow in production with real-time monitoring throughout all stages. Shop floor data collection terminals allow the collection and logging of valuable data in real-time such as time and material consumption, idle times, maintenance intervals, etc., which is used for Business Intelligence and reporting purposes. Job order management and production planning and tracking feature built-in into Overprint put an end to endless paperwork and proprietary production management tools.
Overprint provides different ways to log materials consumption and material waste in production, either manually or through automatic shop floor data collection terminals, configured according to your requirements.
If the equipment is connected to the system via PLCs, Sensors, or JMF, then no user interaction is needed at all – just scanning the barcode of the material through handheld barcode scanners to track consumption and waste. However, even this can be avoided by using an RFID workflow to track the materials used.
The data captured through Overprint’s terminals will automatically populate the relevant accounting logs for warehousing in case of integration to an ERP system. Overprint’s seamless integration guarantees a smooth flow of information from the production process to any third-party ERP, which is required for accurate invoicing, costing, and financial management.
The sub-module allows monitoring production in real-time while assessing overall production performance and resources utilization. In addition, it provides the means to maintain quality control records.
Monitor production in real-time
In the Production Status functionality, you can have an overview of the job tickets which are sent to production showing the status, number of completed production tasks, as well as details on the completion of each production task. Completed production tasks are also categorized as per production stages, e.g. 2 completed tasks in prepress, 1 task in progress in the printing stage, etc. End and start times on each Job Ticket are also displayed, as well as detailed timings for each process taking place within the job ticket.
The data that needs to be viewed is user-customizable and can easily be changed. An exhaustive series of data can be retrieved on this grid function list depending on the user’s convenience and preference for monitoring production. Several lists can be prepared to create reports of the required data needed.
In addition, Overprint provides an overview of the Prepress Production and the Outsourced Production activities allowing the users to have real-time information of the status of the relevant tasks.
Prefer working with Gantt charts?
The list of jobs in production can be viewed under a Gantt chart, showing the sequence of processes and tasks plotted against a timeline. This makes assessing the duration of each task possible, specifically how long it should take, what should have been achieved by a certain time, and if a task is behind schedule.
Similarly, you can view the list of equipment under a Gantt chart, by which you can view the load on each piece of equipment with the information of which Job Ticket is currently processed on each equipment. This makes for meaningful real-time resource availability tracking.
What happens to Remote facilities
Even remote equipment can be monitored in real-time as if it were on the same floor plan. We use the Internet of Things (IoT) devices to gather and track production data from equipment in remote facilities, allowing a monitored and distributed production environment.
An important aspect in managing print production is the processes that safeguard and improve the quality of production, that is what quality assurance undertakes. Overprint MIS provides the features required for quality control to maintain high-quality standards on one end and to help in making the correct decisions in cases where corrective action may be required.
Quality inspection sheets which are used in different steps within the print production workflow or quality inspection departments are logged in the system. For example, warehouses that receive raw materials need to check the packaging and condition of goods received, inspection labs will measure the hue when sampling inks and other product properties. Quality inspections sheets containing all this information are logged in the system.
Similarly, the equipment maintenance procedures can be logged to compile quality assurance records. This data can be used to produce declarations of conformity as required, e.g. for ISO purposes.