Global Graphics Software
Innovative software components for digital print

A Smart Print Factory requires a Smart DFE

SmartDFE gives you everything you need to add label and packaging printing to any industrial production scenario: a complete single-source software and electronics stack that does everything from job creation through to printhead electronics. Your customers don't need to have specialist print knowledge thanks to Artemis Print Operator AI. Fully integrated with the inkjet electronics to allow for near real-time monitoring, feedback and control, SmartDFE is designed to run fully variable jobs 24/7 with predictive maintenance and remote support. Global Graphics flagship product, why settle for anything less?

Features and benefits

Smart Job Creation and Business Software

Smart Job creations with STEPZ® from HYBRID Software

  • 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

  • Full, brandable front end supplied as source code
  • Add you own product differentiation
  • Connect to the Smart Factory using OPC UA (OPC UA server)
  • Connect and control production line components, for example PLCs (OPC UA Client)

HYBRID Software Inside: Advanced workflow using the full HYBRID CLOUDFLOW® product 

  • Support for Management Information Systems (MIS)
  • Job conversion (e.g., from PPML, IJPDS, AFP or IPDS)
  • Job streamlining (fastest performance on the printer)
  • Advanced workflow designer
  • Variable data expansion
  • Multiple printer control
  • Cloud front end 
In the print subsystem

Direct™ Inside

  • Designed to drive the fastest, widest and highest resolution inkjet devices
  • Fully variable 24/7 data streamed directly to the device electronics
  • RIP and stream at full rated device speed
  • Instant printing, no need to RIP ahead
  • Advanced inkjet specific screens and custom design service
  • Stream data directly to inline inspection systems
  • Easily scalable with extended gamut and special colours
  • Near real-time quality adjustment based on camera system feedback. No need to stop the device

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 - saving ink, media and production time before you are ready

Smart Job and Business Software

STEPZ Job Creation


HYBRID STEPZ is an award-winning labels and packaging composition tool featuring:

PDF editing
  • Designed for Labels & Packaging
  • No file conversions needed
  • Multi-Platform Solution for OS X and Windows
  • 64-bit multi processing and multi-threading
  • PDF is the industry standard. It's universal, secure and self-contained
Structured assets
  • Images, graphics and external links
  • Barcode creation and recognition
  • Page box definition and positioning
  • Nesting and Step and Repeat
Single application
  • One-up editing and Step and Repeat
  • Live Objects and variables for dynamic marks
    and ink eaters
  • Templates
  • Export die cut for toolmarking
Live Objects
  • Intelligent marks and info panels
  • Connect LIVE Objects to document content or external data
  • VDP for text, barcodes, external links
  • Define templates for dynamic document design
SmartJCE : Job Cost Estimator


The SmartJCE 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.

In production

Smart Print Controller

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.

Features and benefits
  • Brandable user interface
  • Prepare Jobs (CLOUDFLOW)
    • Connect to MIS system
    • Prepare queue
    • Variable Data expansion
    • Format conversion (e.g. PPML, IJPDS, IPDS, AFP)
    • Sheet layout
    • Number of copies (Source PDF)
    • Page rotation
    • Page scale
    • Page imposition
    • Collation
    • Page ranges
    • Reverse page order
  • Press Control
    • OPC UA interface
    • Interface to CLOUDFLOW to allow control and supervision of multiple controllers
    • Harlequin Direct configuration
    • Job queues (Waiting, Print and Completed)
    • Queue control (Start, Stop, Pause, and Abort)
    • RIP and screen on the fly
    • Day and Night Mode: RIP over night, screen and print in the day
    • Job submission to Harlequin Direct
    • Job Control (Cancel)
    • Job ordering
    • Job preview
  • Press Status
    • OPC UA interface
    • Harlequin Direct Status
    • Print Sheet Counter
  • Media Control
    • Choose halftone screen
    • ICC Profiles
    • Tone curve
    • Print position (offset)
    • Media width
    • Media height
    • Margin
    • Print offset
    • Media scaling (due to media shrinkage on duplex presses)
  • Color Management Control
    • Devicelink Profiles
    • Preserve 100% black
    • Rendering Intent
    • Turn on and off color management
  • Controller Configuration
    • Load and save printer configuration
    • Create printer configurations
    • Choose available printer features:
      • Resolutions
      • Bit depth
      • Duplex or Simplex
  • Production marks and sheets
    • Nozzle refresh sheet
    • Nozzle refresh bar
    • Registration marks
    • Production barcodes
    • Production number (6 digits)
    • Cue marks
    • Job information page
  • Support
    • Support package zip containing all our support team need to support

CLOUDFLOW 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.

Artemis is a cloud-based data collection hub which uses artificial intelligence to power each of the components in the SmartDFE. The data collected anonymously is used to model different systems and track them over time. The data is put through an advanced artificial intelligence system to acquire knowledge which can be passed onto manufacturers or downloaded back to the SmartDFE to make the system more effective. Once the training has been done in th eCloud, the model can be run locally at the SmartDFE. Different levels of help can be provided by Artemis - from enhancing automated control to press operator guidance. In a world where self-driving cars are becoming reality, the self-driving digital printer is coming with Artemis AI.


The SmartDFE is connected to the rest of the production system using OPC UA-compliant interfaces. We have integrated OPC UA into the Smart Print Controller (SPC) as both a "Server" and a "Client", both communicating down to printer subsystems and the production line, as well as up to the wider smart factory. 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.

In the print subsystem

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.

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.