18 August 2020 Digital Printing Technologies

Connectivity drives Komori

Komori is connecting downstream into its own finishing technology as well as to prepress.

Komori has said that it will run open houses, webinars, online sessions and customer visits rather than take part in Drupa 2021. But it had big plans for Drupa 2020 including at least two full litho presses, two digital presses and a fully automated guillotine.

These all come under the umbrella of Connected Automation, Komori’s term for the world of cloud competing, the internet of things and all day anywhere connectivity. The future commercial printer might have an eight-colour perfecting SRA1 sheetfed press with LED H-UV curing, the Impressia 29 B2 inkjet press, a hands free Apressia CTX 132 guillotine and an MBO K8 folder with CoBo Stack pallet loading. The Komori carton printer might run a seven-colour B1 press with double coater alongside its Landa powered NS40. There is now a Komori branded a semi-automatic blanking machine. A fully automated version is under development.

The developments culminate in the Advance versions of the G40 and GX40 B1 presses. These have been designed for increased productivity with new design of feeder and delivery for greater stability at high speeds; a new design of Komorimatic dampening system and new highly visual interface to download the settings for the next job. These take effect automatically, reducing the operator touch points that will slow job changeovers. The quality feedback loop is faster for greater accuracy of colour helped by the improved dampening system.

KP Connect Pro is the cloud based workflow glue holding these components together, gathering jobs for sorting into the optimum production sequence taking into account run lengths, substrate, delivery, colours and so on, feeding data back into the cloud for accurate pricing, customer communications and production updates.

The parameters for the paper are called down from the JDF job ticket and used to set up the press, the ink profiles likewise are collected from the job file and used to set ink ducts and preload rollers and plate so that all the operator needs to do is press the Go button. Everything else is automated including collecting of settings and data from the press.

These in turn are made available to the Komori Cloud and then as a dashboard for managers to keep abreast of production in real time, alerts for any problems and to make interventions in the production schedule. The manufacturer has also been able to collect and supply data back to customers as daily and monthly production reports.

Sheets as they were to be printed would have been checked by the PQA-S V5 print quality assessment system, measuring every sheet printed thanks to a camera mounted above the delivery unit.

Komori can offer a two-minute makeready on the press, thanks to simultaneous blanket and cylinder washing while loading plates and preloading rollers and fount rollers with ink and water.

The Apressia CTX132 is Komori’s own brand of guillotine due to be shown taking printed sheets, jogging, loading, cutting, turning and offload these with the help of robotic arms but with no visible operators. Cameras identify the job and its orientation and the marks needed to identify where to cut.

Alternatively, an MBO folder, from the German manufacturer recently acquired by Komori, equipped with a CoBo Stack robot arm would be fed from a pallet of printed sheets with the folded sections loaded to a eating pallet.

The folder is connected to the KP Connect Pro workflow which is in turn linked to an MIS to provide job information about the configuration for the finished job, the run lengths and other information needed to set up and run the job. Komori is working on near machine logistics to automate the flow of materials around the press.

KP Color Simulator 2 calculates and implements any adjustments needed to ensure that the colour output from the inkjet press and the litho press are as close to a perfect match as possible.

The company believes that fixed palette seven colour printing with double coaters, supported by the NS40, Komori’s implementation of the Landa nanographic print technology delivers the flexibility that is needed with shorter print runs.

Komori believes that as order quantities fall, jobs will move between the two platforms. It will also not be practical to wash up for special colours. Instead the company expects printers to run seven standard colours on press, adding orange, green and violet to the CMYK set. It is developing Smart Colour as its own seven colour separation algorithm to enable this.

It is also developing a fully automatic blanking machine, the Apressia MB1110E. This is not yet available, so visitors to Drupa would have had to be content with the Apressia MB110E, a semi automatic machine for finishing sheets of carton blanks.

The developments begin to enable smart factory concepts, but while Komori is comfortable with its progress and implementation, it sounds a warning: “Currently MIS has been introduced for a significant number of printing plants, but most only use it for order processing and accounting. Application of MIS to production process management and calculation of base prices is still lagging.

“MIS must be used more strategically. In addition to linking start and finish data for each process via network, more detailed machine operating data can be collected on a per-job basis, eliminating the need for daily operator reports and allowing weekly and monthly results to be analysed from a variety of angles.”

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Komori has upgraded the G40 to G40 Advacnce with new feed and delivery, redesigned dampening chain and, user interface and connection to the Komori Cloud.

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