Canon at FESPA 2018 shows fully robotised flatbed print-and-cut solution for automation of high volume graphics production

At FESPA 2018 (Messe Berlin, 15-18 May 2018, Hall 3.2 Stand A40/B40), Canon will demonstrate how innovation in process automation can radically increase productivity, extend production capacity and enhance profitability for graphics producers.

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Robotised print-and-cut workflow linking the Océ Arizona 6170 XTS printer with the Océ ProCut cutting table

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The Océ Arizona 6170 XTS flatbed printer from Canon

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Canon and Rolan Robotics have enabled full process automation for unattended high volume flatbed production

A highlight of the Canon stand will be a completely robotised print-and-cut workflow linking the Océ Arizona 6170 XTS flatbed printer with the Océ ProCut cutting table in a seamless, unattended process.

The solution on display at FESPA 2018 reflects a real Canon customer implementation at Van Vliet Printing in The Netherlands, where robotisation has enabled 24/7 unattended operation of the Océ Arizona and Océ ProCut systems, significantly extending the production capacity of the business, without the need for multiple operator shifts.

The system, integrated by Canon’s partner and robotisation specialist Rolan Robotics, picks unprinted media from a pallet adjacent to the Océ Arizona flatbed printer and places it in a registration and turning station which registers the media both horizontally and vertically. The robot subsequently withdraws the media and places it with accurate registration on the empty flatbed for printing. The Océ Arizona then automatically receives a machine command to begin printing. If the substrate is to be printed on both sides, the robot returns the media to the turning station and then re-places it on the flatbed to print the second surface. An intelligent software interface, developed by Rolan Robotics, enables the different devices to sync together, allowing for completely automated commands between the Rolan robot and Océ Arizona printer.

When printing is finished, the robot transfers the printed media to the Océ ProCut cutting table. The Océ ProCut software processes the finishing instructions and sends a command to the cutter, without the need for operator intervention. After cutting, creasing or kiss cutting, the robot can either take all materials from the cutter or, alternatively, lift the finished product(s) from the cutter and transport waste to a container for disposal or recycling. The workflow can also identify repetitive jobs, removing the need for job identification and registration for each individual job. This enables the cutting solution to start cutting automatically as soon as the media is placed on the cutting table.

At FESPA 2018, the system will be demonstrated printing and cutting a variety of display graphics and packaging applications.

The robot has the technical capability to handle an extensive range of materials typically printed on the Océ Arizona flatbed series, including MDF, foam board, aluminium composite, and acrylic, as well as challenging rigid substrates such as wood and glass.

Mark Lawn, Director, Graphic & Communications Group, Canon Europe comments: “Robotisation has already revolutionized many industrial production environments where processes are repetitive and don’t require qualitative human judgement. While there has been significant R&D investment to introduce automation features to digital printing systems and to increase the performance capabilities of end-to-end workflows, the wide format graphics sector has been slow to embrace the benefits of automating the manual processes that connect near-line devices. The integrated solution we are showing here at FESPA 2018 clearly demonstrates that 24/7 unattended printing can be a reality for print service providers today, enabling entirely new levels of productivity and unleashing massive revenue growth potential.”

For customers producing substantial volumes of applications, a robotised solution can offer a cost-effective means of escalating and streamlining production. It enables the specialist skills of operators to be deployed in other areas of the business, creating further value and delivering rapid and measurable return on investment.

Daniël Van Vliet, owner of Van Vliet Printing, explains the impact of robotisation on his business: “In the face of growing demand for our products, we began to look for ways of automating our processes to increase the production capacity of our existing equipment. Working with Rolan Robotics and Canon, we were able to build a closely integrated solution that has helped us to make our ambition to automate a reality. With the robotised print-and-cut system, we can print and finish, day and night, which could increase our capacity three-fold compared with a standard eight-hour working shift, five days a week. We see enormous potential to continue to innovate and expand our business using robotised technology solutions.”

Jeroen Meier, CEO, Rolan Robotics, comments on the development of the automated workflow: “At Rolan Robotics, our technical engineers have worked extensively with the Canon R&D team to develop a fully customised solution for Van Vliet Printing. With our expertise in robotic systems and Canon’s in-depth knowledge of digital print technologies, we have created a smart printing process that allows for jobs to be done completely unmanned, meeting the customer’s challenges to increase capacity and productivity. Not only have we designed a unique robotic system, but we have also worked collaboratively with Canon and Van Vliet Printing to develop the intelligent software that acts as the interface between the robot and the Canon printer, ensuring they function seamlessly from beginning to end. We see this kind of tailored and automised solution as a huge opportunity for PSPs operating in the graphic arts industry who are looking to maximise productivity from their digital print equipment.”

Visitors to the Canon stand at FESPA will also have the opportunity see a second flatbed printer, the Océ Arizona 1280 GT, producing a range of elevated printing applications using the newly launched Océ Touchstone solution, which has its public debut at the event (see separate Océ Touchstone launch press release).

The Océ Touchstone applications being produced live during FESPA 2018 include embossed packaging, interior décor items such as imitation wood and decorated tiles, and signage featuring raised lettering to add visual impact as well as for practical requirements such as braille.

Note to editors:

Video footage of the customer implementation at Van Vliet Printing can be viewed here: [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omcwSXx3NkA]

A demonstration of the robotised flatbed print-and-cut workflow for members of the press will take place during FESPA 2018 at 17.00h on Wednesday 16th May on the Canon stand. The event will include presentations by: Mark Lawn, Director, Graphic & Communications Group, Canon Europe; Jeroen Meier CEO, Rolan Robotics; and Daniel Van Vliet, Owner, Van Vliet Printing.

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