Agfa introduces robotic plate loader to automate prepress

Streamlines speed and speeds up printers' prepress operations

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Agfa
Agfa introduces a plate loading robot that streamlines and speeds up printers’ prepress operations, while reducing the overall cost

Agfa’s robotic plate loader frees prepress staff from heavy manual, repetitive tasks such as plate loading cassettes of autoloaders, or fixing pallets on the base frame of skid loaders. “Heatset printers usually have multiple presses with different sizes, and therefore multiple CTP lines. Linked to that come so-called Combo loading configurations, each consisting of a pallet loader and autoloader. The robotic plate loader replaces both configurations, reducing footprint by up to 30%, and making prepress operations more efficient and productive,” says Iris Bogunovic, Product manager Plate & CTP Systems at Agfa.

In the first phase, Agfa offers its plate loading robot to printing companies using its Avalon VLF platesetters. The robot is custom-built according to a printer’s exact needs and can simultaneously feed multiple plate production lines with a picking speed of up to 80 printing plates per hour, independent of plate size. The set-up is especially convenient for printers that need to handle multiple (up to five) plate sizes. For optimal ease of use, the plate loading robot is fully integrated with Agfa’s Apogee workflow software.

Leading Scandinavian printed marketing solutions provider Stibo Complete is an early adopter of Agfa’s robotic plate loader. As the company’s strategy for the future includes a whole range of investments, as well as acquisitions of companies, one of the conditions for its success is the configuration of its print business to handle more output with fewer resources. The investment in Agfa’s new state-of-the-art plate loading robot supports their journey perfectly.

“Automation is important in the strategy of any growing and forward-looking company,” says Svend Erik Grue Nielsen, Operations and Development manager at Stibo Complete. “Agfa’s robot plate loader gives us a competitive edge as it improves our productivity, reduces costs, minimizes mistakes, and optimizes working conditions for our employees. Our plate loading robot saves employees from approximately 230 tonnes of heavy lifting per year.”

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

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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.

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