Springer pioneers new plate transport system

May 19, 2015 at 12:40 pm by Staff

German publishing giant Axel Springer is pioneering the use of a new system for transporting plates from CTP system to press.

Introduced last year and already in use to convey everything from biscuits to tubes of sealer and even carrier bags, the Ferag Skyfall technology is making its printing debut at Springer's Ahrensburg print site, speeding plates to specific locations on the manroland presslines.

Skyfall gets its name not from any connection with James Bond, but from the fact that plate dollies are lifted high in the air and then are driven along rails to their destination by gravity. The three-dimensional concept makes the most of spatial conditions and the use of a force quantified by Isaac Newton saves cost and energy, as well as simplifying the process.

In Ahrensburg, relocation of the platesetters nearer to the press and installation of three Skyfall systems are saving time, helping close what was previously a 80-90 metre gap. Now plates only have to be lifted upwards and 'fall' to their allotted positions on the presslines.

"Previously the plates had to be brought horizontally to the press over a long distance, which naturally cost time," says press manager Holger Benthack.

And time is a precious commodity at the plant - which prints daily editions of newspapers including Bild, Die Welt and the Hamburger Abendblatt - especially with the last plates of an edition. In the final stage of the upgrade, 2000 printing plates will have to be transported on a total of six lines.

Working with press manufacturer manroland web, Ferag placed the system to the side of the press. Plates are transported upwards at an angle of 60 degrees, preventing them from fouling the front rail. Access stairs and sound insulation above the press have also been taken into account in the routing.

The three almost identical lines have been installed within a tight three-month timeline, with Benthack pronouncing the result, "real progress".

WRH Global Australia managing director Daniel Faesser says the simple concept has been developed following applications in food and pharmaceutical industries. "There are opportunities for routing, with loops and buffering, and at the end of a run, it will take the used plates back to the recycling bin," he says.

The system is capable of matrix sorting using barcodes, and can interface to Ferag's Navigator or third-party control systems.

Pictured: Printing plates are loaded and their intended destinations can be keyed in


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