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  • Print Innovation Asia

KBA presents next level of automation for industrial print production

With the ErgoTronic AutoRun and Rapida LiveApp, KBA aims to redefine standards for print automation.

Automation of the individual process steps in print production is today more important than ever before. The Rapida presses from KBA-Sheetfed already incorporate extensive automation: For top production speeds up to 20,000 sheets/hour, for lightning-fast makeready and even flying job changes, for precise inline quality control, and for increased economic efficiency through reduced non-productive times and minimised waste. With ErgoTronic AutoRun, KBA-Sheetfed is now able to present the next level of process automation for industrial print production.

Intelligent systems relieve operators

ErgoTronic AutoRun starts a job change fully automatically as soon as the production of the previous print job is completed – and then resumes production automatically once the necessary makeready steps are completed. This cycle is then repeated over and over until either the operator cancels the auto-run function or else all the jobs on the prepared job list have been printed. For section changes and web-to-print jobs, it is not even necessary to configure a new makeready process. Start of makeready, job changeover, start of production, colour and register control – all the individual steps are fully integrated and everything is triggered automatically at the appropriate moment. Press crews simply monitor the process sequence and are thus relieved of further routine tasks. They must only place the new plates in the corresponding channels of the plate changers, ensure that the necessary substrates and consumables are available when needed, and then take care of pile changes – insofar as pile changing is not also automated.

The principal field of application for ErgoTronic AutoRun is autonomous printing for the commercial sector – for example short-run jobs or multiple sections for products with high page counts. Language variants are a further possibility. Autonomous printing also benefits online printers with their highly standardised and automated processes. It can also be useful in packaging to be able to start makeready automatically when the predefined run length is reached, or to return to production without further intervention upon completion of a complex job change.

KBA-Sheetfed laid the foundations for ErgoTronic AutoRun as far back as 2013 with the launch of its award-winning TouchTronic operating concept. The job changeover program on the ErgoTronic console possesses a very clear and logical structure. The printer sees all the relevant settings at a glance and can initiate a job change with just a single tap on the screen (One-Button Job Change). An interactive job list presents all the currently planned jobs to the operator, who can then re‑arrange the order at any time, for example to group together products which are to be printed on the same substrate or in the same format. Already at this stage, it is possible to enter and configure all the necessary makeready functions for each job.

ErgoTronic AutoRun coordinates the existing automation modules and in this way automates the print process as a whole. At the end of a shift or after processing of the complete job list, the press can be stopped manually in the usual manner.

The console goes mobile with the Rapida LiveAp

Operators are similarly more flexible than ever before when it comes to monitoring of the production process. They can now carry a mobile control console in their pocket. With a smartphone and the Rapida LiveApp, they are always in touch with their press – even while taking a coffee break in the canteen. A glance at the display provides details of the job which is currently in production and how much longer it will take to complete. The press crew can then decide at leisure when they need to be back at the press to load up the plates for the next job, for example.

In addition to the press status, the app provides a raft of live information from the running production, including even energy consumption and the equivalent carbon emissions per 1,000 sheets. With the batch data function, consumables such as paper and ink can be tracked either manually or by way of QR codes and assigned to the relevant job. The place of consumption, for example a certain inking unit, is determined automatically and saved in the data record. Whether inks, substrates, blankets or plates: All data are made available for tracing purposes or inventory management – immediately and without further intervention. The data are sent from the mobile device to the console, and automatically passed on via LogoTronic Professional and JMF to the company management information software.

The integrated maintenance manager draws attention to the press care required on the current day, as well as tasks which are scheduled for the coming days. The additional specification of the time needed for each task enables maintenance work to be planned such that it does not disturb production. Illustrated, step-by-step instructions explain the individual tasks to the operator. This further simplifies the maintenance process and avoids all misunderstandings. Each maintenance step can be marked as “done” after completion and the operator can also add individual remarks and comments, where appropriate.

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