No operator involvement from platemaking through to mounting the printing plates in the rotary press: in Barleben close to Magdeburg in Germany, manroland and ppi Media have implemented a highly automated solution on a COLORMAN autoprint. At the Newspaper Summit on 14 September 2011, 120 guests saw the APL logistics system in action producing the daily newspaper “Volksstimme.”
One of the stars of the evening seemed unremarkable at first glance: orange, smaller than an adult, but a tireless worker. It is a robot that takes care of important tasks in the plate workflow at Druckzentrum Barleben. This print services provider uses four modules to automate the makeready processes: APL transport, APL supply, APL sequence, and APL control. The IT core of the new printing workflow is the printnet OM software from ppi Media. This Output Management system takes care of important tasks between the CtP system in prepress and the press.
With the aid of APL transport, the exposed printing plates are automatically conveyed to the robot, which then with APL supply automatically loads the plates into boxes. APL sequence ensures that the plates are imaged and made available in the right sequence. The complete workflow is controlled by APL control. After the robot has sorted the plates in the transport boxes, they travel via a rail system to the COLORMAN autoprint where they are automatically unloaded and mounted in the press by APL robots.
“The printer becomes a process monitor,” summarizes Peter Kuisle, Executive Vice President for Webfed Printing Systems Sales at manroland, who goes on to say: “With autoprint we are on the right track towards a fully automatic printing system. Our autoprint installations so far are proof of this.” Rolf Weeke, Managing Partner of R. Weeke Betriebs GmbH & Co KG and responsible for production at Druckzentrum Barleben, reported on the installation phases.
Following the initial discussions in July 2008, the COLORMAN autoprint commenced production in November 2009. It prints in the format 1,020 x 1,400 mm at 45,000 revolutions per hour. APL logistics started up in stages until August 2010. Besides 18 editions of the “Volksstimme”, other newspapers and preliminary products are printed in day and night shifts. Anton Smola from manroland’s project engineering division explained the technology and functions of autoprint and the printnet workflow that links the autoprint modules. Manuel Kosok from manroland’s printnet product management team and Michael Maier from the IT & Prepress management team at PIT Print & IT-Service Barleben GmbH, described how the printnet Monitor and DataCollect attend to quality assurance. APL logistics is a great success at Druckhaus Barleben: the system has handled some 450,000 plates since November 2009.