Quickness and reliability with at the same time reasonable producing are the cornerstones in the production and processing of print products. Beside, there is not a king's way which must be obeyed. Rather it is nesessary to remain constantly in movement and to optimise the existing processes continuously.
Frequently, the potential of the existing machinery and equipment is not fully exploited. There can be many reasons for this. It may be, for example, that the staff member who once introduced the system has meanwhile left the company and has not instructed his successor. Or at the time the rotary press was being commissioned, the manufacturer configured important parameters that were never updated: old start-up sequences, ink duct and damping duct curves of the ink-damping solution configuration used at that time, the diameters of the reel stubs etc. The new operating and maintenance personnel do not have an overview of the settings options or of which parameters are active. This only leads to unsatisfactory waste paper rates, resulting in high paper costs. Here, even minor adjustments can have a great effect. We should be pleased to help you to set up a continuous improvement process and making use of lean and SixSigma methods.
Creating new processes
Processes often develop over a period of many years, and become more and more cumbersome in the course of time. All in all, they cover existing customer and production requirements more or less well, but on the whole they are often inefficient. By using modern technologies and programs (e.g. Device Link Profile, ink-saving software, plate sorters), you can adopt new approaches. You can put requirements that no longer occur, or occur only seldom, firmly behind you (e.g. printing special colours, scanning reflecting originals, covering EPS workflows) in order to achieve your objectives more efficiently in everyday practice. An audit of your in-plant processes on the basis of our comprehensive experience from many different print plants will help you to explore improvement potentials and adopt new approaches.
Automation is not an end in itself. If it is used properly, however, it can help to make process sequences faster and safer. For example, it is hardly possible to set the ink manually as quickly and uniformly as modern ink density control systems can. The same applies for changing printing plates: if many printing plates have to be changed frequently within a short time, it may be worthwhile automating this operation. However, there are not only automation potentials at the prepress and printing stages; physically tiring work in the mailroom, like stacking packages on pallets, can be done by robots. Costs can also be reduced, for example, when fewer workers are required for the rotary press or for converting images at the prepress stage.
"Process Improvement" project
The customer's objective
In our customer's printing company, the printing plates were laboriously handed out by the CTP operator. To ensure that all of the required plates had been handed out and placed in the correct storage compartments, the CTP operator documented all processes manually. In this way he was able to prove to the printers that all plates had in fact been handed out and that the imaging jobs had been processed fully and in the correct order. Despite this complex process, problems of coordination were the order of the day. This process had to be simplified significantly.
The road to the objective
In our improvement project, the existing plate rack and the CTP operator were replaced by automation components (sorting stackers in conjunction with the appropriate software components and display panels). The printers now receive the printing plates sorted according to the type of production. The completeness of plate production is always documented using a barcode system and can be retrieved transparently at any time by all of the departments involved.
The improvement for the printing company
The precisely documented process chain now runs much more smoothly than before. Responsibility can no longer be passed backwards and forwards between the printers and the CTP operator. The process has thus become transparent and stable.