Packaging and automation

Drupa day one

Harald Weimer member of the board of Heidelberg speaking about the company’s optimization of press up-times using remote data gathering and analysis at the drupa press meeting on 30 May 2016

Dusseldorf 31 May 2016 – On the first day of the exhibition, it seems that the halls are busy. I think it would be hasty to say too much about what is happening without a better and deeper look at what the exhibitors are actually showing but it is clear that apart from the obsessive interest in inkjet presses that are not ready to buy or to ship, a predominant trend is packaging. Even at the press go-round of the Heidelberg stand, while on the one hand there was a lot of talk about the B1 Primefire 106 inkjet which was demonstrated with the help of three robots, a more practical and ready to buy product was the Polar laser diecutter in line to a robot that picks up the diecut pieces and stacks them. 

Also at Heidelberg, the concept of an automated sheetfed offset press that simply lines up the jobs in the pipeline and performs all the makeready tasks itself is being promoted. The new XL series with 3,000 sensors in the press is being built on the one hand to run continuously – and on the other to monitor minute performance data and analyze it in such a way that potential problems can be anticipated and hence rectified leading to huge jumps in efficiencies.

The concept here is that the press control system stops the press when needed and not the operator. And, after stopping the press, its new automated systems tell the operator precisely what to do to either rectify a problem that it perceives or forecasts.

Performance Plus 

What happens is that the performance of the press is remotely analyzed, including data that can hardly be collected or even seen by senior pressmen. For instance, data that reveals one of the auto-plate loaders being a few milliseconds slower than the others which are performing normally, is recorded and used to schedule maintenance and rectification. Over a period of time, as the problems are sorted out, the down-times for maintenance are reduced and the overall efficiency and performance is optimized. Heidelberg has a large number of presses that have these sensors and one of the ideas is to collect this data using its cloud and to keep working on this collection of big data to look for slight abnormalities in operation across a large collection of similar presses and systems, as a pointer to remedial action. 

This type of automated data collection, analysis and software driven maintenance scheduling should lead to increased uptimes and productivity. Press uptime, productivity and sheet wastage are not well managed and this concept of managing press systems could lead to large increases in production. Beyond this, Heidelberg is talking about a consulting programme for its customers called Performance Plus. This programme was initially Euro-centric and has now caught on in America. However, I can think of a few Indian customers with multiple highly configured and automated presses that should be looking into implementation of these concepts.

In 2024, we are looking at full recovery and growth-led investment in Indian printing

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. It created the category of privately owned B2B print magazines in the country. And by its diversification in packaging, (Packaging South Asia), food processing and packaging (IndiFoodBev) and health and medical supply chain and packaging (HealthTekPak), and its community activities in training, research, and conferences (Ipp Services, Training and Research) the organization continues to create platforms that demonstrate the need for quality information, data, technology insights and events.

India is a large and tough terrain and while its book publishing and commercial printing industry have recovered and are increasingly embracing digital print, the Indian newspaper industry continues to recover its credibility and circulation. The signage industry is also recovering and new technologies and audiences such as digital 3D additive printing, digital textiles, and industrial printing are coming onto our pages. Diversification is a fact of life for our readers and like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

India is one of the fastest growing economies in nominal and real terms – in a region poised for the highest change in year to year expenditure in printing equipment and consumables. Our 2024 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock – to emphasize your visibility and relevance to your customers and turn potential markets into conversations.

– Naresh Khanna

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