Case Study

Shortening the order-to-cash cycle


Teamcenter controls the entire lifecycle of huge digital presses with 4-year development cycles and multi-year support cycles

Digital printing on the industrial scale

HP’s Indigo Division is the market leader in high-end digital printing presses for large commercial and industrial applications. The division, which is based in Israel, is known for its digital offset color technology, which combines the quality of ink-based offset printing with the performance advantages of electronic imaging.

HP Indigo presses are used in commercial printing, label, flexible packaging, folding carton and specialty printing. The ability of these digital presses to print without films and plates enables a user to create personalized short runs, changing text, images and jobs without the need to stop the press. HP Indigo presses come in a variety of models for high-speed sheet-fed and web-fed printing. One sheet-fed press, as an example, prints in four colors at 120 pages per minute. A web-fed model prints 98 feet per minute in 4-color mode.

With prices starting at around $200,000, these presses are large (up to 35 feet long) and complex (composed of thousands of components). Normally it takes between three and four years to develop a new model. The pace of new product development is driven in part by the division’s participation in Drupa, the big printing equipment expo held every four years in Germany. “Time to market is very important because we show a new model at every Drupa,” says Sigal Aknin, engineering product information management (PIM) leader at HP Indigo.

Complicating the development process is the fact that, because these presses are sold all over the world, they must comply with a variety of regulations regarding product content, such as Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) and REACH. Also, because service starts with the sale of the press and continues for up to seven years after end of life notification, an accurate configuration of the product in the field is required.

Single source of product information

HP Indigo uses the Teamcenter® digital lifecycle management solution from Siemens PLM Software to meet the challenges of designing, manufacturing and supporting its digital presses. “We are responsible for the complete product lifecycle, from high-level design through to assembly and service,” says Rami Barnea, HP Indigo’s engineering infrastructure leader. “For this, we need a fully integrated, end-to-end product lifecycle management (PLM) solution, which is what we get with Teamcenter.”

HP Indigo uses Teamcenter to manage the complexity of its products as well as the processes and workflows required for their development. One way Teamcenter does this is by serving as the sole repository for all engineering and R&D information. This boosts efficiency because people don’t waste time trying to locate information. But equally important is the fact that accuracy is ensured by the control that Teamcenter provides.

Teamcenter information is shared among all disciplines, including R&D, Engineering, Purchasing, Logistics, Technical Marketing and others. Some users are authorized to view the data only but not make any changes. Similarly, during the design process when many people’s efforts must integrate seamlessly, Teamcenter ensures data accuracy at all times. “One of the main benefits of having one source of information is that everyone is aligned, but Teamcenter also lets us control the information so that someone can’t make changes to an item that is being used by someone else,” says Sigal.

In addition, Teamcenter manages bills of material, which are extensively detailed and contain thousands of components, as well as product configurations. The process of BOM generation at HP Indigo is highly efficient, from the BOM’s initial creation in the CAD software, to its full integration with Teamcenter, and finally to its automated transfer to the ERP system. The tight integration between CAD, Teamcenter and the ERP system ensures product accuracy, and has eliminated nonvalue-added labor from the process. Having Teamcenter manage product configurations helps the division manage after-sales service of the presses. “By using Teamcenter to maintain the version changes and track substitution between parts, we can be sure we have the information we need to maintain the presses after the sale,” Sigal adds.

HP Indigo also uses Teamcenter’s workflow management functionality to control processes, both at the management level and individual process level, including engineering change and design release. At the management level, Teamcenter is used to reduce the cycle time for the presses. “Teamcenter lets us measure the lifecycle and see how long it took to do something. This shows us where we can make the process more efficient,” says Rami.

The control afforded by Teamcenter has also accelerated individual process efficiency considerably. Rami can remember when operations were done manually and required several months to complete. He notes that now the same operations require only days to complete, and with fewer mistakes.With Teamcenter controlling the release process, for instance, Rami says, “Everyone from logistics and the supply chain are in line with the changes made in R&D and engineering so it rarely happens that a change happens without their knowledge and approval.” This results in fewer delays due to ordering or making the wrong parts.

Another way HP Indigo is eliminating the mistakes that used to slow the development process is by building intelligence into Teamcenter workflows. For example, embedded rules check product compliance with standards such as RoHS and REACH. “A lot of logic is built into the system. If something doesn’t follow the rules, it doesn’t happen,” Rami adds.

By ensuring fast, accurate process execution and information reliability, Teamcenter is helping HP Indigo deliver and support high-quality, innovative digital presses and shortening the order-to-cash cycle.

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