BST eltromat Understands Its Customers’ Specific Requirements
Here’s how systems from BST eltromat support the high quality of Printum’s custom machines and the products manufactured on them.
Uncompromising reliability, maximum precision, top performance, and very simple operation – custom machine manufacturer Printum imposes exacting requirements on its suppliers. BST eltromat is the partner of choice for web guiding, web monitoring, and 100% inspection.
During a visit to Printum GmbH in Ravensburg at the end of July 2016, the staff in the assembly shop area are busily building three custom machines for the efficient production of high-quality, multi-layer labels in just a single pass. The one multi-web machine is roughly 13 meters long and will remain in the factory for demonstration purposes. Customers can use it to test their products and, in some cases, even produce small lots. The other high-end machine boasts a length of 17 meters and will be used by the customer for applications in the security sector. The third installation is a test system for a German automotive manufacturer, who wants to use Printum technology to accurately die-cut and laminate five different materials.
“There are virtually no technical breakdowns on our machines, no matter where in the world they’re operated,” states Bernd Leising, Managing Director, as we walk through the manufacturing area to the impressive demonstration machine. He says they don’t even need maintenance. Which is why he doesn’t employ any service staff, but occasionally goes out to customers in person, should the need arise, or relies on his selected suppliers for effective support. “For instance, one of our machines has been producing sandwich labels round the clock in New Delhi since 2008. The machine’s been running without any problems ever since it went into service.”
And, looking at the systems currently being constructed at the factory, there’s no mistaking the robustness of the machines Printum builds. “We use nothing but the best and most robust components available on the market,” explains Leising. He points to the machine’s welded base frame, which consists of precision-milled steel plates with a thickness of 28 mm. “There’s no vibration, even if our systems run at 100 meters per minute. That’s a fundamental requirement for the extremely high quality our customers want to achieve when manufacturing their multi-layer labels and other products,” says the Managing Director, distinguishing his installations from the competition. “Our machines combine the individual layers with a precision within one- or two-tenths of a millimeter, even when operating at maximum speed.” And they do so despite the fact that the individual webs are usually made of different materials, such as film or paper, and printed by different methods.
As on the 17-meter machine, numerous components of the complex structure have already been installed on the base frame of the demonstration machine, including three CompactGuide web guiding systems from BST eltromat. Together with two more of these systems, they will later ensure that the machine perfectly combines the individual layers of the complex, multi-layer label structures. In short, the appropriately selected systems from BST eltromat’s comprehensive portfolio are a key component of the quality of the Printum machines.
Web Guiding Geared to Individual Requirements
“With its flexible configurability and reliability, the CompactGuide is the ideal answer to our requirements,” explains Leising. “We’ve been relying exclusively on web guiding systems and unwinder control components from BST eltromat since 2000.” He says other manufacturers also offer systems of this kind on the market, but he can’t see any alternative to the CompactGuide in terms of quality. “To this day, not a single CompactGuide has failed on any of our machines, no matter what amount of stress they’re exposed to,” says the qualified electronics engineer, summing up his many years of practical experience with these systems. “And on the rare occasions that spare parts might be needed, we know that BST eltromat can supply them worldwide at short notice.”
As a general rule, the CompactGuide systems for the Printum machines are fully equipped, meaning they have edge sensors, splice tables, and clamping devices. When processing blank materials that have not been printed or finished, the webs are controlled by their edges in the machines, and the CompactGuide systems are configured with edge sensors. A second sensor is added if customers want to switch between edge guiding and web center-line guiding. The CLS Pro 600 digital sensor, in turn, is often used for printed materials. It uses lines or contrasts to control the webs.
Meeting Every Demand
Beyond this, the CompactGuide systems cover all the web widths handled by the Printum machines. Moreover, the BST eltromat web guiding portfolio includes a wide range of additional components, such as idler rollers, among other things, also with various coatings. On top of this comes the simple installation of the systems, thanks to the use of common basic profiles, both on new machines and for retrofits.
For Leising, a key role is also played by the extremely simple operation of the guiding systems, due to their visually attractive control panel and the generously designed keys. “The intuitive operating system has a very simple and logical structure. The operators can see at a glance whether the materials are being controlled accurately, and can intervene quickly and safely, if needed, to ensure that as little waste as possible is produced.” That’s a decisive economic benefit when handling the frequently expensive materials used for multi-layer labels.
From Leising’s point of view, his company’s cooperation with BST eltromat works perfectly, all the way to the reachability and competence of the technical support staff in the event of design issues – particularly because BST eltromat takes Printum’s special requests into account when configuring the system. “The Printum version of the CompactGuide” is what the specialists at company headquarters call it. For instance, the clamping devices that hold the webs when splicing rolls were shifted to the side of the CompactGuide. That gives the machine operators additional arm room when cutting the webs and joining the edges straight. “BST eltromat paid very close attention to our individual requirements from the outset,” shares Leising. “Their web guiding systems leave nothing to be desired.”
Continuity is another important aspect for the Managing Director. Although BST eltromat is constantly improving its systems and creating new capabilities, customers can still recognize the CompactGuide. “If we expand previously installed machines by fitting new unwinders, for example, our customers get systems with a recognizable look and familiar operation. That’s decisive for the satisfaction of their machine operators,” Leising adds.
TubeScan and POWERScope 4000 / POWERScope 5000
For some time now, the two companies have been expanding their cooperation to include not only web guiding and web monitoring, but also 100% inspection. The more sophisticated the functions of sandwich and booklet labels become, for example, and the faster the production machines run, the more important these systems become. Progressing from conventional, visual web monitoring with the POWERScope 4000, Printum has in the meantime also started to integrate the particularly compact TubeScan inspection systems from BST eltromat’s cooperation partner Nyquist Systems in its machines. These systems feature convenient operation by touchscreen. For example, the basic TubeScan digital strobe device is installed if customers want to visually detect missing labels and matrix residues in the full repeat view; the TubeScan digital strobe+ for automatic detection of relevant, major printing defects; the TubeScan digital strobe++ version for smaller defects; or the TubeScan eagle view model with integrated, traversing camera for additional, visual area control together with 100% print inspection. The TubeScan family can be configured with numerous individual options, e.g. UV light.
BST eltromat’s POWERScope systems are used when Printum connects digital printing units upstream of its machines and the customers want to monitor the print quality by video. In this context, the likewise very compact POWERScope 4000 provides still images of the fast-moving webs on the control monitor, which the machine operators can use to reliably and conveniently control the print quality, such as the register accuracy of the inks, among other things. Both the TubeScan systems and the POWERScope 4000, as well as the POWERScope 5000 in the future, make important contributions to avoiding waste. The next generation of the POWERScope, the 5000 model, will be presented for the first time at Labelexpo Americas in Chicago (booth 837) this September.
Jointly Advancing Technical Development
“Our cooperation with Printum is very productive for us, too. For example, when it comes to the sensor systems, we’re constantly addressing new technical details to ensure that the machines can later optimally cover the demanding requirements of Printum’s customers,” says Arno Vogelhuber, the BST eltromat Area Sales Manager responsible for Printum. “There are certainly some areas where technical development is being advanced jointly.”
In addition, every Printum machine involves the networking of multiple systems and their integration in the central control system of the Printum machines. In this way, the machine operators can also conveniently set the BST eltromat systems to the required operating statuses from the central control system via the digital remote control inputs. In this context, Printum works hand-in-hand with Christoph Linzberger’s Motronic AG company, which develops most of the control systems for the Printum machines, and can rely on the technical support of BST eltromat in the process.
The longer you talk to Leising, the clearer the secret of his company’s success becomes: the company is his life, and he runs it like one big family, including the business relationships that he has built up over many years. “Not only the technical details have to be right, but also the interpersonal relationships. And all components have to work in perfect harmony to guarantee the necessary precision for our machines.”