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. Photo PSA

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.

Packaging South Asia is the cooperating media partner for drupa 2016 which is scheduled to be held from 31 May to 10 June at Dusseldorf, Germany.

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