Ghent, Belgium – Today’s pressure on digital finishing departments within printing companies forces them to reduce lead times, manage short production runs intelligently, eliminate material waste, and optimize equipment output and operator performance.
Typical finishing operations suffer from the fact that their equipment is not used optimally: there are too many manual steps; setting up cutting tables takes too long; and prioritizing jobs as well as optimized material handling is not always possible.
With a series of new drupa launches, Esko gives companies the tools to get the absolute most out of their equipment, their workflows and their staff.
By bringing the complete digital finishing process together in one streamlined, optimized workflow, Esko helps companies
- prepare quotes with reliable data
- plan production from intuitive, yet powerful, dashboards
- execute quick job changeovers at the cutting table
- reduce operator idle time
- boost throughput with automation
- keep Kongsberg tables producing continuously.
In short, with the help of Esko, companies will be able to boost their throughput and protect their margins while delivering quality results that will bring customers back for more.
At drupa, Esko’s automation innovations include:
- Robotic loading and unloading cutting tables for non-stop finishing production
- Board feeder solutions for automated loading of board materials
- Multi-zone operation to keep finishing tables running continuously
- Device Manager software to maintain control over the entire finishing workflow
"With this combination of impressive innovations, Esko aligns the performance of digital finishing operations with the fast evolution of digital presses, effectively eliminating an important bottleneck. Drupa visitors will experience how we provide automation on many levels, with an extraordinary amount of flexibility. The impressive range of different automation configurations at various price points will meet any of our customers’ needs." says Tom Naess, Esko Product Manager Digital Finishing.
Robotics turn the Kongsberg finishing table into a production workhorse
At drupa, Esko will showcase an industrial, automated robotic production system. This setup will demonstrate how intelligent material processing and handling will work in perfect harmony with the Kongsberg cutting table. The solution is powered by one of the most agile industrial robots currently available, demonstrating high speed, high power and versatility.
The production system shown at drupa operates the new Esko Kongsberg C24, equipped with a multi-zone capability. With such a setup, the cutting table delivers up to 80% greater output.
The robot will load and unload the table zones with blazing speed and accuracy. Intelligent camera technology guarantees 100% accuracy and repeatability, by assuring that boards are precisely placed on the table.
With a 2.8 meter reach, the robot is able to handle substrates from multiple pallets, and can also be set up to serve two Kongsberg cutting tables simultaneously. Infrared laser scanner technology protects the operator and reduces the need for physical safety fences.
Multi-zone operation for continuous table operation
To further eliminate machine and operator idle time and to unlock the true production potential of the Kongsberg tables, they can be programmed to work with multiple zones. These zones can be independently loaded with material. While the material on one zone of the table is being processed, the operator (or robot) loads and prepares the other zone for finishing. The operator’s idle time is reduced dramatically, and the cutting table works nearly non-stop.
Highly valuable features such as multi-zone capabilities will also be available as a retrofit on any Kongsberg X, C, XP and XN table. “After 50 years of manufacturing digital finishing equipment, Esko again proves its reputation of delivering the most reliable digital finishing tables. We continue to ensure that customer investments are protected and will pay off for many years,” Tom Naess comments.
New automated board feeders increase Kongsberg table productivity
At drupa, Esko is further introducing a family of high-capacity sheet feeders. Three different models match all the different Esko Kongsberg C and X series. The new iBF range of feeders has been designed to handle the widest range of rigid board substrates, now, and in the future.
The iBF feeder handles pallets of materials with multiple stacks at high speeds, can be accessed by a forklift and is an indispensable tool for all applications that require medium to high run lengths of rigid materials. The feeder offers great flexibility, as it can also be used in conjunction with a roll feeder for flexible materials without having to exchange the board feeder.
Esko Device Manager for full production control
Precise production planning and prioritization in the digital finishing operation becomes easier to manage with Esko’s new Device Manager, delivering absolute control over finishing production. Work in progress and the status and queues of all connected devices are clearly visualized on screen. The software determines optimal sheet nesting to increase production capacity. Operators use an intuitive drag-and-drop interface to prioritize table queues, insert rush jobs and even balance workloads between tables. Device Manager can also be connected to Esko’s most comprehensive workflow solution Automation Engine.
Adding it all up: Boost throughput and productivity
Tom Naess concludes, “Look at this range of new introductions and add to that the earlier announced digital finishing innovations from Esko:
- Two new table families – Kongsberg X and Kongsberg C – each series comes in a range of table sizes and configurations;
- Automatic tool adjustment for fast job changeover;
- Integrated Finishing Materials Database adds expertise to the operating software.
Esko now brings the entire finishing operation together and really boosts throughput and productivity. We offer customers better control over their digital finishing operations and unlock the capacity of the cutting tables while taking critical tasks away from operators - making them more efficient and less error-prone. Esko’s digital cutting software, integrated with Kongsberg tables and the various automation features, take digital finishing to true industrial levels.”