The Self-calibrating Printer
Vision System Reduces Rejects on Label Press by 50 Percent
The printing market looks much different than it did even ten years ago. It has gone from long runs producing big batches to short runs with many changeovers each day. „Today, many customers need only a thousand labels, where they used to need 30 or 40 thousand at a time,“ notes Jesper Larsen, software development manager at Nilpeter. „Every second of production time lost while setting up for a new label type is a painful sacrifice.“
Challenges today‘s label printers face include shorter print runs, time loss when setting up for new label types, and costly material waste due to misprints.
To keep label printing profitable, it is also important to minimize the number of sheets that go to waste due to misprints. With the web racing through a Nilpeter printing machine at speeds of several meters per second, even the slightest imprecision will leave noticeable flaws on the printed labels. Such quality issues can cost dearly in terms of waste – something the Denmark-based machine builder knows all too well.
Nilpeter has been working with B&R for years, developing new solutions for automation and quality assurance. „We immediately recognized the advantages B&R‘s vision system would have for our printers. The insight it provides into processes like registration control can really help reduce waste,“ says Larsen.
The manufacturer equipped each of its label printer‘s six units with a B&R machine vision camera. The cameras constantly monitor the position of the labels on the web. If the image processing software detects any imprecisions in the alignment of the colors, the camera alerts the machine control system, and the machine makes any necessary adjustments automatically.
Benefits for Machine Builders and Their Customers
Integrated machine vision makes Nilpeter machines more available and more productive. „You get smart, flexible batch production, and the single-cable solution means OEMs can get their machines to market faster,“ says Jensen, who sees great potential for integrated vision at his workplace. „With material expenses comprising such a large portion of the label printing costs,“ he explains, „it‘s exciting to imagine what can be gained by cutting waste in half.“ The integrated vision system from B&R makes Nilpeter one of the few companies in its market to offer a performance boost of this magnitude for its machines.