Global Graphics Software
Intelligent software components for Print OEMs and ISVs
SmartDFE Complete
SmartDFE Complete

SmartDFE Complete is a full software and printhead electronics stack for high-speed, single-pass, label and packaging inkjet presses. It includes everything from job creation and pre-press workflow through to printhead drive electronics (just choose your printheads). It connects via OPC UA to the wider factory and is designed to run fully variable jobs continuously 24/7, enabling predictive maintenance and Industry 4.0. SmartDFE Complete is a collection of innovative and market-proven components that enable your engineering team to get to market quickly whilst giving them the space and capability to add their own value.

Features and benefits

Smart Job Creation and Business Software
  • HYBRID Software Inside
    (STEPZ®) Smart Job creations:
    • Designed for Labels & Packaging
    • All-in-one solution for prepress and VDP – based on PDF
    • Optimized PDF creation for on-the-fly printing at full speed
    • Define templates for dynamic document design
    • Export die cut for toolmarking
  • Smart Job Cost Estimation software
    • Equip your customer's sales team with the most accurate job estimation software
In production
  • Smart Print Controller™
    • Press Operator's controller
    • Full, brandable front end supplied as C# source code so that you can add your own value
    • OPC UA Inside:
      • Write your own user interface within weeks using the OPC UA API
      • Industry 4.0-enabled to connect with smart manufacturing and cloud data services
  • SmartMedia™ Inside:
    • Create a library of predefined media definitions describing all the settings needed to get perfect color and quality
    • Enable your customers to achieve the best quality without the need for print specialists
    • Powered by the award-winning PrintFlat™ technology taking inkjet quality to the next level
    • Enhanced with industry-leading color tools from ColorLogic
  • HYBRID Software Inside (CLOUDFLOW®):
    • Advanced workflow using the full HYBRID Software CLOUDFLOW product
    • Support for Management Information Systems (MIS)
    • Advanced workflow designer
    • Variable Data expansion
    • Multiple printer control
    • Cloud front end
In the print subsystem
  • Direct™ Inside (Harlequin Direct™):
    • Harlequin at Heart: designed to drive the fastest, widest and highest resolution inkjet devices
    • Full variable data streamed directly to the device electronics
    • Instant printing, no need to RIP ahead
    • Supercharged by ScreenPro™ with advanced inkjet-specific screens and custom screen design service
    • Stream data directly to inline inspection systems using Direct QI
    • Easily scalable with extended gamut and special colors
    • Near real-time quality adjustment based on camera system feedback. No need to stop the device
  • Direct™ Inside (Streamline Direct™):
    • Estimate the achievable line speed before committing to run a job
    • Optimize the job to achieve a higher line speed
    • Intelligently configure the system for each job
    • Convert formats to optimized PDF including (IJPDS and PPML)
  • Meteor Inside:
    • Powerful printhead-independent drive electronics
    • Choose the right inkjet printheads for your application
    • Change your mind about inkjet printheads with minimal risk
    • NozzleFix™ technology, keeps the printer printing
    • Complete range of industrial inkjet printheads supported
    • Simulate output before you are ready - saving ink, media and production time


There are four variants of SmartDFE Complete with different hardware requirements and price points. The lowest variant is "Static"; this is recommended where the press is only going to print many copies of a static design ie a single piece of content printing many times. The top variant is Ultra High Data Rate (UHDR), which is designed to produce the huge amounts of data generated by fully variable data on the fastest, highest resolution, widest and best quality inkjet printing presses. Calculate which variant you need using the Data Rate Calculator.

Variants Abbreviation Example Data Rate Description
Static Static NA A single PC running all the software and generating a static raster which will be printed many times.
Standard Data Rate SDR Up to 3GB/s Typically, two PCs, one running Harlequin Direct and other the workflow and controller software. Designed for less demanding variable data, lower resolution, narrower and lower speed presses.
High Data Rate HDR

Between 3GB/s and 18 GB/s

Typically, more than one PC running Harlequin Direct and another running the workflow and controller software. Designed for most common variable data and main stream press capabilities.
Ultra High Data Rate UHDR Above 18 GB/s Typically multiple state-of-the-art PCs driving Harlequin Direct. Designed to produce the huge amounts of data generated by fully variable data on the fastest, highest resolution, widest and best quality inkjet printing presses.

Smart Components

Smart Print Controller (SPC)

Smart Print Controller

SmartDFE is supplied with a front end called Smart Print Controller (SPC). The SPC is an operator user interface that connects to one or more Harlequin Directs and manages the submission of jobs. It also demonstrates how to control and get status information back from multiple Harlequin Directs. We supply a pre-built Microsoft Windows version of the SPC and the source code (in C#, WPF, MVVM) so that you can develop your own version. The SPC can connect to both Windows and Linux versions of Harlequin Direct. The Smart Print Controller also includes a full version of HYBRID Software's CLOUDFLOW workflow tool on the same PC. Using CLOUDFLOW allows almost any job creation workflow to be configured with a powerful workflow editor. This has been integrated into the Smart Print Controller so that a single interface is presented to the operator.

Smart Printer Profile Editor (OEM Tool)

Smart Print Controller

SmartDFE is supplied with an OEM tool to configure the system for a specific press model. It allows the OEM to simply define the capabilities of the press so that Smart Print Controller (SPC) will be set up correctly. A configuration file is saved from this tool and can be loaded into SPC.

Smart Job Cost Estimator

The Smart Job Cost Estimator™ uses the same setup that drives your printer and calculates a very accurate estimate of the ink, substrate and services for a given job. Give the SmartJCE a fully imposed PDF and it will calculate the per-label cost and the cost for the whole job. You can also give SmartJCE a one-up PDF and ask it to estimate the cost for the fully imposed job. It has been designed to be extensible so that it could include other typical job costs in future. SmartJCE is self-contained and doesn't require any connection to your printer, which makes it ideal when you want to give a job cost indication away from the print shop.

ColorLogic Inside

When you license technology from Global Graphics Software you can be sure to have the best in color management available through a range of products from ColorLogic.


ColorAnt is an easy-to-use tool that measures test charts, corrects, and optimizes measurement data. Additional features include editing of primary colors and substrates, tone value corrections, embedding CxF/X-4 data and comprehensive reporting.


CoPrA is the control center for any profiling task. CoPrA creates high-quality ICC Printer, DeviceLink and SaveInk profiles with a user-friendly interface for any color space.

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HYBRID Software Inside


Is an enterprise label and packaging workflow system. It is a compact, modern, and modular system for running automated graphics production workflows on a private or public computing cloud. More than ever, your success is based on processing a larger quantity of smaller orders, with the same number of employees and equipment. This requires a new breed of automation tools.


Is an award-winning labels and packaging composition tool.

Read more

Direct Inside

Harlequin Direct

Award-winning Harlequin Direct gives you everything you need to take print-ready PDFs and then RIP, screen and stream them at maximum physical print speed directly to the printhead drive electronics. Harlequin Direct includes our award-winning PrintFlat technology to help take your device's quality to the next level.

Streamline Direct

Will your customers' print jobs arrive from many PDF sources and creators? Do you need to support non-PDF formats? Not all PDFs are created the same. Streamline Direct will check each PDF, allowing your customer to reject any that are likely to slow your device down. Streamline Direct can also be used to streamline any problem PDF to achieve the same output quality whilst maximizing your device speed. If your market requires non-PDF formats, Streamline Direct can be used to convert many formats to print-ready PDFs.

DirectQI Inside

Adding another Harlequin Direct PC to the setup allows for direct connection to a vision system for quality inspection (DirectQI). This Harlequin Direct streams RGB composite rasters to your inspection system on the fly, at the resolution it requires, allowing identical control over the production process for both print and inspection. This is vital to allow smart queueing of jobs, including reprints, with job order determined by the overall automated production system. Where the inspection system is operating further down the production line, looking for more than print issues, the rasters supplied by DirectQI could be modified to accommodate for this. For example, when printing direct to shape, the inspection system may have to distort the raster in real time to inspect the resulting product.

Meteor Inside

SmartDFE has the award-winning Meteor printhead drive electronics and software inside. Meteor supports all major industrial inkjet printheads and offers rapid support for new printheads, so you have ultimate flexibility in your printhead choice: for example, you can begin your press development having chosen one printhead model and then switch to another with minimal impact to your development schedule. Or you can mix printheads from multiple vendors and models in a single press. With this flexibility comes a comprehensive set of tools and services to deliver an exceptional product to market.

BreakThrough Service
Accelerate to market with our free BreakThrough service

Getting a new printer to market is a huge engineering challenge, and you can always do with more help. Our business model is that we sell licenses of SmartDFE with each printer you sell. We share in your success, but that can only start happening when you get the printer finished and in the market. We therefore want you to get to market as quickly as possible. With our BreakThrough service you can add our engineers and scientists to your engineering team to get you shipping sooner. They can help break through any barrier slowing your route to market. You buy a block of days which is 100% recoverable against licenses as soon as you ship, making the service effectively free.

OPC UA Inside

OPC UA is an open standard for information exchange for industrial communication and is supported by the 800+ members of the OPC Foundation and deployed to over 50+ million devices.

SmartDFE has OPC UA built in and it can be used to connect to the smart manufacturing process (supporting Industry 4.0). It can also enable you to connect to an existing HMI or SCADA or create your own custom DFE within days.

SmartMedia Inside

Create a library of predefined media definitions describing all the settings needed to get perfect color and quality.