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What is a Production Pro?

 A Production Pro is a DFE (Digital Front End) that drives HP Indigo presses.

Apart from sheet fed presses for the Commercial Print market, the Production Pro is now also used to drive HP Indigo Labels and Packaging presses, such as:

  • HP 6x00 (Label Press)
  • HP 8000 (Label Press – double speed)
  • HP 20000 (Flexible Packaging press)
  • HP 30000 (Folding Carton Press)

HP installs this DFE at customers buying a new press and at customers where the existing press was driven by an Esko DFE (L&P server, powered by Esko).


How to drive a Production Pro from Automation Engine?

 The Production Pro can be driven from Automation Engine in two ways:

  • Hotfolder
  • Dedicated Automation Engine task


The first method to drive a HP Production Pro is to use a hotfolder. A fully imposed, print-ready PDF file can, for example, be copied to the hotfolder using the copy/move task.

The default hotfolder on the Production Pro is \\servername\Jobs\LabelsAndPackaging, where 'servername' is the name of a HP Production Pro Windows server.

To be able to copy files onto this hotfolder, the user BGSYSTEM (local user, same password as on the Automation Engine Server, part of the Administrators group) needs to be added to the Production Pro Server and given write access on the HP Production Pro hotfolder.

Dedicated Automation Engine task

There is also a dedicated Automation Engine task called “Submit to HP SmartStream Production Pro Server”.

Only the Labels and Packaging press models mentioned above (HP 6x00, HP 8000, HP 2000, HP 3000) are supported. Press models that are intended for the Commercial Print market (e.g. HP 10000) are not supported.

This task is more user friendly than the hotfolder method because some parameters can be set when submitting a job.

The task uses a HTTP connection to the Production Pro and submits a fully imposed PDF file to the Production Pro along with a JDF.  

After the Job has been submitted, there is no JMF feedback from the Production Pro to Automation Engine.

To be able to use this task, you first need to set up a Device (Automation Engine Pilot > Views category 'Setup' > Devices > New Device > DFE - HP Production Pro)

Adding such a device requires a license for a “Device Connection HP Indigo”. From Automation Engine 20.0 onwards, this license will be part of the base package.

Make sure that Production Pro is connected to the press. If no press is defined, you will not be able to setup the device in Automation Engine.

The URL of the HP Production Pro JMF port is http://servername:8080/prodflow/jmf, where 'servername' is the name of a HP Production Pro Windows Server.  Make sure port 8080 is not blocked by a firewall on the HP Production Pro Windows computer.

In the “Submit to HP SmartStream Production Pro Server” task ticket, you can set these parameters:

  • Due date
  • Internet input method
  • Comment
  • Copies
  • Substrate
  • Color Strategy
  • Lead-in sheets
  • Lead-out sheets
  • Die-Cut Layout Input Ink
  • Die-Cut Layout Output Ink
  • Rotation
  • Mirror

All other parameters need to be included in 'Internet Input Method' (in the ticket on the DFE itself).

Compatibility Automation Engine - Production Pro

 The “Submit to HP SmartStream Production Pro Server” ticket can be used to drive any version of the Production Pro :

Production Pro 7.1Production Pro 7.2Production Pro 8.0
Automation Engine 18.1

Automation Engine 18.1.1

Automation Engine 20.0

Automation Engine 20.1

Automation Engine 21.03

Automation Engine 21.07

Automation Engine 22.03

Automation Engine 22.07

Automation Engine 22.11

How to log in on the HP Production Pro using a browser?

The Production Pro shows its browser user interface when you enter this URL: http://servername:8080 

The username is 'admin', password is 'admin1' (or sometimes 'HPdfeHPdfe#1').

How to create a new 'Internet Input Method'?

Once logged in,

  1. Go to the System tab.
  2. Choose Ticket Templates.
  3. Duplicate the “HP_Indigo_LabelsAndPackaging” ticket template.
  4. Choose a new name and save.
  5. Edit the new ticket template and include any parameter that cannot be specified in the Automation Engine ticket (e.g. screen, CCC, etc.)
  6. Go to 'Internet Input Method'.
  7. Create a new Internet Input Method.
  8. Choose the newly created Ticket Template and save. 
  9. Now the newly created Internet Input Method can be used in Automation Engine, in "Submit to HP SmartStream Production Pro Server" ticket.


When using the "Submit to..." ticket, the Internet Input Method field must be filled in. If it is left blank, the task will fail.

Types of input for the Production Pro

There are two possible types of input for the Production Pro :

  • A Step & Repeat PDF
  • A JDF runlist

A Step & Repeat PDF

The first type of input that can be sent to the Production Pro is a Step & Repeat PDF, including printing inks, technical inks and finishing marks.

Typically, this type of PDF describes one printing frame. If there is more than one frame, this will result in more than one print job on the DFE. The number of copies, the number of Lead-in/Lead-out sheets etc. can be specified in the “Submit to..” ticket. The parameters can be adjusted on the Production Pro.

This is the easiest and recommended approach and offers the flexibility that parameters can be adjusted by the DFE or the press operator.

On the Production Pro, such a print job looks like this: 

A Runlist JDF file

Another type of input is a Runlist JDF file. Such a JDF file can describe all repeats included in an Automation Engine Production Job in one DFE print job.

The print job includes multiple frames typically including

  • Lead-in/Lead-out sheets
    • containing only technical inks (no printing inks)
    • the number of LILO sheets cannot be modified on the Production Pro
  • Graphics
    • containing only the printing inks (no technical inks)
    • the number of copies cannot be modified on the Production Pro

This is a more complicated approach, but it allows to combine various 1-ups in one print job. It is the ideal solution to deal with a large number of different labels that need to be printed in small quantities.

JDF Runlists are always used when the Production Job was created by the browser client in Automation Engine.

Here is an example of what a JDF Runlist job looks like in the Production Pro:

Article information
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