La Commerciale: the importance of prepress automation in label workflow

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La Commerciale S.r.l of Alba is a graphic industry with over seventy years of experience in the field of labels: for a more agile work process and to increase safety, efficiency and reduce errors, the company, on the basis of its CERM management software, uses the native Packz PDF editor and Cloudflow workflow by Hybrid Software for the entire traditional and digital process phase.

La commerciale video
Click on the play button to watch the testimonial by Federica Artuffo, La Commerciale. (ENG SUB)

Founded in 1945 by Cesare Artuffo as a small printing shop in the central Via Vittorio Emanuele in Alba (CN), La Commerciale has always invested in new technologies with the aim of guaranteeing the highest quality and speed of delivery to the end customer. The company started from lead characters, experimented with photocomposition techniques and used the first computers for video layout and digital graphics. Finally, with the entry into the company of Mauro and Paolo Artuffo, La Commerciale acquired the most efficient sheet and web offset printing, hybrid and digital technique, as well as the best graphics software on the market. The customer is always at the center: with him, in very close synergy, a relationship of professionalism, consultancy and availability is established, from the initial idea to execution.

Recent years have seen the addition of Federica, Stefano and Carolina Artuffo to the company, the fourth generation of a story that began seventy years earlier. “La Commerciale, about forty employees, works with extreme operational flexibility, because thanks to the considerable experience accumulated over the years it is always able to intervene on the job, finding innovative and highly quality solutions and with immediate response times”, says Federica.

Technologies and production

La commerciale interno macchineLa Commerciale is equipped with UV offset printing systems for self-adhesive labels. The three Gallus TCS 250 machines for adhesive labels are hybrid with various finishing options such as hot foil, dry embossing, flexo varnishing and screen printing. Furthermore, there is a digital printing department dedicated to small and medium runs that allows the printing of spot colors through the use of hexachromy and opaque white in line. The two HP Indigo 6K digital printing machines are intgrated with two ABG Digicon Series 3 finishing machines, also equipped with numerous sections for finishing. In 2023, a new machine was introduced, Mida LI220, capable of producing multi-layer labels, even with different materials, multi-page labels and anti-counterfeiting labels equipped with RFID and other systems. The flagship of La Commerciale is in fact the precision and quality of printing and finishing, monitored through 100% final control systems. Furthermore, the company is equipped with a very advanced graphic and prepress department able to advise and guide both from a creative and technical point of view. A mock-up department has been associated with it, capable of providing the customer with a true prototype of his label for any evaluations on colors, selected substrate and processing before serial production. In fact, enhancements are possible even in the mock-up phase thanks to recent investments in the digital field.

The reference markets

80% of the customer portfolio includes companies in the wine sector located throughout Italy, followed by the remaining 20% which includes companies in the spirits, beer, confectionery and food sectors, all companies that invest heavily in communication and their product. The constant aspect is always the search for improvement and adaptation to the high standards required by the customer. This is possible only thanks to continuous investments in technology and information technology and the training of highly qualified personnel which allows to improve company productivity.

Personalization in the prepress workflow: the partnership with Hybrid Software

The company has always believed in process automation in order to simplify operations and limit operator errors, allowing them to concentrate on the most important activities. “Since the pre-press process represents a crucial phase of our workflow on which depends the positive outcome of the entire label production process, especially in recent years in which we are focusing heavily on digital printing, arose the need to have an editor that would allow to work on the pdf file provided by the customer or graphic studio without altering its characteristics and allow the customer himself to be able to approve exactly the pdf file that would go to print. Packz by Hybrid Software from this point of view represented the turning point for us as a native pdf editor. After having embraced the philosophy behind this editor, we could not help but move towards the Cloudflow workflow proposed by Hybrid Software, installed three years ago”, explains Federica. These are incredibly customizable workflows able to adapt to the most particular needs.

“The relationship with La Commerciale began 10 years ago, when they bought Packz, software then updated over time, and they immediately appreciated the concept behind this product, i.e. being able to work on the file without converting it, but not only, since they use digital printing it is essential to understand the behavior of the colors well”, says Luca Rossi, regional manager Italy of Hybrid Software. With the Proofscope Viewer tool, integrated with Cloudflow workflows, it is possible to preview the PDF file and inspect it by viewing its transparencies and overprints of the same colors that will be printed on the press. “This is really important in the label sector where there are often overprints, opaque inks, which perhaps need to have a black background with gold writing underneath and the possibility of seeing the opaque color is particularly useful because today the files are very complex and heavy and therefore to show them to the customer they are manipulated and broken up, creating possible problems and discrepancies, with Proofscope it is possible to share exactly the print file for approval”, adds Rossi. “This creates a smoother and safer process and the operators feel also safer, in fact they are very satisfied with using Packz, which among other things also allows the comparison between two files to understand if there have been any changes, these tools have had significant repercussions on customers, i.e. the drastic reduction of errors”, confirms Federica.

Cloudflow workflow is flexible and can be integrated and can create customized interfaces, with different access methods, allowing the operator to view only the necessary data, obviously in continuous connection with the management system.

For example, with the online approval by the customer, it is possible to proceed immediately towards production, implementing an advanced integration between CloudFlow and the company management system. “The effectiveness of this system is linked above all to the high degree of customization possible because we have managed to integrate different interfaces for prepress and press operators, who have different needs, so everyone has the data they need to work better; obviously the operators have been trained for this new way of working, change scares us but we want to continue with innovation and therefore we accompany them in their training and growth”, says Federica.

Hybrid Software support goes beyond technical support

“Hybrid Software works a lot not only on technical training but also on production support, so while the operator works, one of our technicians suggests the best solution, to make the most of the installed technology and adapt it perfectly to the customer’s company size”, says Luca and Federica adds that “the service represented another fundamental element of our choice: we felt supported at every stage, from installation to subsequent implementation, even of customized flows; we are very satisfied and we look forward to seeing future developments, which include an integration of systems dedicated to color management of the German Color Logic, which has been part of Hybrid Software since 2021”.