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Prinect Inspection Control from Heidelberg eliminates defects

Monday, August 30, 2010

Press release from the issuing company

Kennesaw, Ga. - Heidelberg's Prinect Inspection Control, the industry's first, internally integrated in-line printing and material defect detection system, recently garnered a prestigious 2010 PIA InterTech Award, the company's sixth in four consecutive years. Equally significant are reports from Heidelberg customers whose practical experience with Prinect Inspection Control corroborates the InterTech judges' findings and demonstrates the labor-saving applications of this breakthrough technology.

Russell Haraf is the president of Nosco, Inc., a Waukegan, Ill.-based pharmaceutical packaging printer that installed a Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 105 press in 2008. The company served as a beta site for Prinect Inspection Control, which was installed the system after the XL 105 was delivered. According to Haraf, "Our Speedmaster XL 105 press is one of the best capital investments Nosco has ever made. It runs amazingly fast, changeovers are a breeze, and start-up waste is minimal. What's more, we're thoroughly impressed by the confidence our operators have gained since Prinect Inspection Control was installed. They can now identify defects more effectively, and they also have an opportunity to reduce waste. The net result is a significant improvement in our overall material yield."

The Right Tool for the Most Unforgiving Jobs
Optimally geared to the technology and applications of the Speedmaster CD 102 and XL 105 models in straight and perfecting configurations, Prinect Inspection Control is designed to locate printing and material defects-hickeys, marking, scumming, scratching, etc.-on every printed sheet as it passes through the coating unit of the press. Defects are captured in real time by comparing every printed sheet with a digital reference. Upon detection, the system provides audible and visual alerts and inserts a tab in the delivery pile to indicate the first occurrence of the defect. If the defect clears itself, an additional tab is inserted into the delivery pile to mark the last defective sheet and accurately define the range of defective printed materials in the delivery pile.

Prinect Inspection Control was developed primarily to address the need in pharmaceutical, specialty, and package printing to print confidently with zero-defect production. It is highly beneficial to printers who serve these markets to be able to detect and correct printing defects prior to distribution because the presence of printing defects often leads to costly reprinting, the loss of business, and even litigation, fines, and other costs.

"Out of 50 jobs produced during our validation phase, Prinect Inspection Control's vision system identified four jobs with major/critical defects, 14 jobs with minor defects, and 32 jobs with no defects," Haraf noted. "The four jobs with major/critical defects had the potential to adversely affect 300,000 sheets if not detected early enough."

Fast, Efficient, Accurate and Integrated
Conventional manual quality control methods can no longer keep up with the production speeds of the latest-generation presses. Offline systems are available; however, these systems introduce another step in the production workflow process that can be avoided when an internally integrated in-line solution like Prinect Inspection Control is deployed. On the most demanding print runs, operators need an automatic early warning system that not only alerts them to print errors and other problems, and but can also inspect and document the entire run.

Haraf points to the confidence Nosco's operators now enjoy, thanks to their newfound ability to "contain" print defects and remove them from the press run without risking that a bad product has escaped detection. This is especially important when the printed copy contains foreign alphanumeric characters, he said, "because it is more difficult for operators to recognize defects. With foreign copy, especially for Asian markets, undetected defects potentially change the meaning of print copy and pose a unique quality risk."

Two Lenses Better Than One
Completely integrated in the coating unit of the press, the inspection system incorporates two very high resolution cameras mounted in close proximity to the printing nip, where they have the advantage of being able to find defects introduced in the coating and can monitor every sheet all the way to its trailing edge, all at the top speed of the Speedmaster CD 102, or up to 18,000 sheets per hour for Speedmaster XL 105.
There are two variants of Inspection Control:

- The RGB system, which uses two high resolution RGB cameras with a combined resolution of 12 megapixels (100 dpi) for comparison of every sheet to an imaged "golden master" and is positioned for package and label printers who primarily produce printed materials for the cosmetic, food, and tobacco industry, as well as for high quality commercial printers.

- The PDF system uses two even higher resolution black-and-white cameras (33MP/280 dpi) in combination with a digitally provided PDF used as the digital reference file. Inspection Control-PDF combines automatic, objective checking of the first sheet with the PDF and 100 percent print inspection of every sheet during printing. 

Both systems identify defects as small as .3 mm, approximately the size of a period in 6 pt. type.

Upon completion of printing, Inspection Control generates detailed reports that can be printed on any network printer and stored indefinitely for re-verification or proof of quality. The reports summarize and specify the number, location extent of any defective printed materials. It is within the scope of Prinect Inspection Control technology to detect certain color deviations; however this function is best performed by a dedicated color measurement system such as Inpress Control, Image Control, or Axis Control. The intuitive user interface for Prinect Inspection Control is operated through the Wallscreen of the 2009 InterTech Award recipient Prinect Press Center.




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