25 November 2018 Events

Perform like a world champion

Printers should use data to hone their performance.

Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton, Formula 1 world champion for the fifth time, driving a Mercedes that is possibly the most advanced race car ever assembled. Every action of the car is sensed, every movement monitored measured and analysed. The banks of screens familiar from television coverage of the Grand Prix tell the engineers what is going on and what to do next to get the best results from that piece of engineering at any one time. And so win the race.

It's an example for the modern printing industry: like the racing Mercedes, presses are monitored constantly, the information presented to the operator on the vast flat panel screen at the control desk. At the same time it is possible for engineers away from the track or press hall, to come back with advice on how to improve performance. This technology is not enough: like Lewis the press operator needs to respond to local conditions just as the Grand Prix has to steer his ride at high speed around a twisting track. The press operator needs a press which responds instantly to produce the result he wants.

Some printers have taken the pit stop training to drive efficiencies in makeready times. Each has his own task, team work is paramount, everything is ready for the swiftest change and the process is monitored to shave a few seconds here and there. Just as at Silverstone, nobody can afford to sit back satisfied. And while Hamilton has quaffed a celebratory drink after the championship win, he will soon be back behind the wheel looking for the fractional improvements that make the difference on the track.

Gareth Ward

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