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Druckzentrum Barleben Achieves Fully-Automated Production with manroland

Press release from the issuing company

One Touch makes a big impression

One man, one button – the press prints. A vision that has been reality at Druckzentrum Barleben near Magdeburg, Germany, since 2009. With two COLORMAN presses controlled by autoprint modules: fully automatic job changeover with APL (AutomaticPlateLoading) and APL logistics, plus inline control systems for automated production.

In the early evening, a few minutes before production of Magdeburg's largest daily newspaper starts, one hears a rhythmical clicking. The robots load printing plates into transport boxes and the system transports them directly into the printing tower. Until shortly before production starts, nobody can be seen or heard in the pressroom. No hectic last-minute measures. The printer at the control console has everything under control. At Druckzentrum Barleben, the future has begun. What was earlier produced in eight printing towers (with four folders and twelve reel splicers), is now produced by four COLORMAN autoprint systems, with half the number of folders, a third the number of reel splicers, and supported by 16 APL robots. Highly automated and networked from the publishing operations through prepress and platesetting right up to printing and finishing with printnet software, the COLORMAN autoprint systems work faster, produce more, and are more flexible and cost-efficient.

Possibly the most operator-friendly press
Since 2009, the RWK company during the day is producing freesheets like the "Generalanzeiger" in run lengths between 500,000 and 640,000 copies on the new COLORMAN systems at Druckzentrum Barleben. And since January 2011, around 200,000 copies of the local daily paper "Volksstimme" are printed during the night. This means some 1,000 plates are used in the printing company every 24 hours. "Thanks to APL, all the plates are changed fully automatically in only 4.5 minutes per press. Networking with prepress also brings enormous advantages," is how Michael Nordmann, Technical Coordinator at Druckzentrum Barleben, summarizes the first results of the changeover. The editorial teams are linked to the system via printnet PressManager. Up until just before production starts, journalists can add or update content. Once a page is finally approved, the printing plate is automatically exposed and assigned. APL logistics delivers the right plate at the right time to the right place (just in sequence). As a result, not only plate consumption has been reduced, but paper waste, personnel working hours, and press running times as well. "Despite increased capacity, our production throughput times are the same as before and this means a more topical and higher quality daily paper for our readers," reports Nordmann. With APL logistics, almost all tasks take place at one level. Only seldom do the operators have to be near the press, which reduces health hazards. Working from the control console means that the printers do not need to come into direct contact with the press and are scarcely exposed to harmful vibrations, noise, impact sound, emissions, or aerosols.

The inner values
At Druckhaus Barleben not only prepress operations and changeover are extensively automated but production as well. Inline control systems ensure consistently high print quality. The automatic InlineCutoff Control system prevents excessive paper waste after makeready and during press acceleration or deceleration. It also reduces the amount of work necessary for preparation and facilitates fast and frequent edition changes. InlineDampening Control measures the temperature of the cylinder surfaces and regulates dampening solution feed accordingly. Special miniature sensors send highly dynamic and precise data to the control console and, depending on the temperature profile, dampening solution feed is directly and automatically adjusted. Manual intervention during production is no longer necessary. Further modules can be retrofitted in future: InlineRegistration Control for setting color register, InlineTension Control for constant web tension, or InlineDensity Control for regulating ink dosage during production. The last-mentioned is already being used in more than 300 systems at manroland customers.

I spy with my little eye
"All systems are interlocked and coordinated, also those of third-party suppliers," which Michael Nordmann appreciates. "Here printnet integrates evaluation, quality assurance, and management functions. As a result, the production process is no longer solely dependent on operator skills. On the contrary, the systems relieve and support the press crew enormously." During production printnet Monitor stores technically relevant data on materials consumption, makeready time, printing time, and interruptions, right up to press speed and the status of copies produced. The automatically generated data is supplemented by manual inputs at the control console in the production data acquisition system DataCollect. This enables the operators to explain incidents better, and makes every workstep from prepress to postpress transparent. Both man and machine learn from the results – in job planning the presettings are based on values from experience that the system optimizes from time to time. Thus production becomes ever more efficient.


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