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FLEXO Magazine : August 2012
Technologies & Techniques Automated Job Changeover: Basics & Benefits Robust Design Meets smart Technology By Mike Reinhardt Stock keeping units are on the rise. Consistent and repeatable quality is constantly called for. Lead times are shrinking. The average operator has less refined printing skills than his predecessors. Machine manufacturers are developing technologies that address this new reality. A single operator and helper can now accomplish press and press side functions that were performed by several people, greatly increasing the efficiency of the printing plant. In the late 1990s, direct drive sleeve machines were intro- duced and thus ushered in the era of quick press change- overs. Years ago, it would have taken four or five hours to change the plate cylinders and anilox rolls, plus wash up and ink up the press. All these tasks can now be accomplished in about 45 minutes. Over the last 10 years, press manufacturers and component suppliers have focused their attention on further reducing press changeover times by automating tasks that used to be performed by the operator. Impression setting, automatic reg- istration, color matching/monitoring are just a few of the new FASTER, EASIER, SAFER PRESS • Mechanical changeover of 10 plate sleeves and 10 anilox rolls can be accomplished automatically in 10 minutes, just by pressing a button • New machine technologies robotically remove the mandrels from the press and bring them down to floor level, where operators can change the sleeves without climbing up on the machine • Fifty percent of the total job changeover time can be attributed to color matching • Automatic color matching systems combine ink weighing and spectrophotometry that reduce changeover time by half and guarantee delta E values of two or less • Ink weighing allows more accurate estimating of job costs 26 FLeXO augusT 2012 www.flexography.org Press Buyer’s Guide