Automation Update - May 2018

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Issue 40

Temperature Gauges from Labfacility.

Distributor of Mean Well Power Supplies

Din Rail Power Supplies

Ecopac Power LTD l Sales: 01844 20 44 20 l Technical: 01844 20 44 30

AUTOMATION UPDATE Editorial Assistant Laura Sharpe 01843 580 460 Publishing Director Jodie Little 01843 580 460 Sales Director Tim Johnston 01843 448 443 Advertising Exec Jamie Simmons 01843 580 460 Sales Laura Sharpe

Automation Update is an engaging, editorially led publication & directory giving the reader news and updates on new products and services to our ever Progressing industry.

Publishing House Jet Digital Media Ltd The Forge Spratling Court Office Spratling Court Farm Manston, Kent CT12 5AN

Automation Update - 3

The benefits of modular, configurable safety controls When using modular safety systems it is essential to ensure that key features are considered in order to maximise the benefits, says Kevan Cowley of Wieland Electric


here has been growing recognition in the last few years of the benefits of modular, configurable safety controls. Not least of these is the ability of a modular safety system to reduce the complexity of the wiring, compared to using stand-alone safety relays which need to interact with each other and can require very complex wiring, which often extends design time, installation and commissioning. Modular, configurable safety control systems use centralised input/output (I/O) systems that reduce the hard wiring requirement and therefore the overall complexity. However, the complexity of the wiring can vary considerably between different types of modular safety systems. Which modular system? There are two types of modular solution currently available – mechanically configurable systems and software-based safety circuits. Mechanically configurable options tend to have more complex wiring, so a software system that uses a centralised I/O will be the preferred option in the majority of situations. However, there is also variation in the level of complexity between different types of software-based systems, particularly in terms of the complexity of the wiring requirements for monitoring and diagnosing of faults. With some systems there is also a limitation imposed by having a fixed number of I/O or function blocks within the software, so it may then be necessary to pay more for a system where expandable I/O can be beneficial. This can be a

particular problem for smaller systems as it may be necessary to bear the cost of many more I/Os than are required upfront, often making the use of a modular system financially beneficial. In contrast, some solutions offer the controller separately from the I/O module, which makes it very easy to match the I/O requirement precisely to the requirements of the system. Network communications Another issue can be the need for communication with a wider network and, if stand-alone relays are being used, feedback will require additional contacts. When using the software version, you can consider whether it can offer a common protocol. There are also significant benefits helping to comply with EN13849-2 where full reports and documentation are required and automatically date and time stamped, making it easier to identify the root cause of the fault and ensuring simple comprehensive compliance documentation. When using a software-based system it is essential to include a self-validating verification process, according to EN-13849-2, as this will prevent mistakes being made and ensure compliance with appropriate regulations and negating the need to produce written reports, diagrams and photographs necessary for system verification. Taking time to research the various solutions available at the beginning of the project will pay dividends in the longer term and ensure all potential financial and performance benefits are achieved.

4 - Automation Update

Human-centred Automation


orporate Risk Associates (CRA) is one of Europe’s largest integrated Human Factors, Safety, Risk and Reliability consultancies. CRA provides services to safety-critical industries including: Nuclear, Process Power, Rail, Business Risk and Defence.

mainly against financial criteria with little or no consideration of the real human requirements. So, it is perhaps not surprising that numerous instances have been reported where automated systems have failed to meet users’ expectations and resulted in severe consequences.

In the nuclear sector, CRA’s human factors specialists have observed a growing niche for human and machine interface development. This is due to the update of nuclear control systems bringing increased use of software control. Thus, CRA is currently investigating methods for determining the appropriate level of interaction between operators and automation for monitoring and controlling process control tasks.

These deficiencies can be avoided by taking a human-centred approach to the development of automation. This should start by undertaking a comprehensive task analysis of the human activities that are being automated, and understanding how humans will need to interact with the new system. This will provide vital insights into the human requirements to enable development and design of a system that operates effectively in a wide range of situations.

Three drivers for the rapid increase in automated systems are to: make tasks easier, more convenient or safer. Whilst these are laudable aims, many automated systems are developed with insufficient consideration of human requirements. Hence there is a tendency for the development of many automated systems to be seen as a purely engineering process, judged

A major human factors concern for automated systems is situational awareness. This centres on the user’s overall understanding of the operation of the systems that are being monitored or controlled by the automation. It is preferable to design the automation system to enable users to be aware of important state data,

whilst avoiding information overload. Another important consideration is operator workload level. Whilst automated processing can certainly help to reduce the risks of human errors due to high workload, if the automated support lowers workload too far, this can greatly reduce vigilance. For this reason, the methods being developed for determining interaction levels between humans and automation are also assessing how the level of interaction can be changed as overall workload is increased. It is important to enable users to diagnose automation failures, particularly when data may appear sound but is actually unreliable. Undertaking a human reliability assessment of the proposed system helps determine the potential for these situations to occur. By identifying potential error modes in this manner, the interfaces can be designed in ways that support operators in establishing any such failures. To discuss human-centred automation needs, please contact: Anthony Bell , Phone number 01925393282, Email: Automation Update - 5

Manufacturing and logistics automation specialist Red Ledge provides some tips on RFID, when and how to use it

RFID* deployment is on the increase, and has been growing at a rate of over 20% per annumⱡ. RFID is a powerful technology: in the right environment it can double supply chain visibility and pay for itself in a matter of months, through increases in performance and profitability. But it is not for everyone. Here we provide some advice on how to evaluate it. Most manufacturers who install RFID are looking for automated visibility: being able, without human intervention to recognise and capture information on an asset or a group of assets, at speed - to know at any time what and where they are. They are looking for product visibility throughout the process, from goods in, to goods out, as well as higher visibility of the assets that are being used to manufacture the product.

the process. RFID is well-suited to that set of requirements, which when met remove human error and result in better manufacturing control, higher information visibility, and productivity improvement. RFID saves time and money as scanning is automatic, while taking human error out of the mix is surely a step in the journey to supply chain’s holy grail. Being able to trace the production history of the component parts in any product can be vital. RFID also makes this possible.

Any logistics or manufacturing organisation should begin its evaluation of RFID by asking simply: “what’s our requirement?”

RFID is not purely a plug-in solution, and to be effective requires well-written software and engineering applications. Its true cost may therefore be higher than its ‘list price’ – though there are circumstances where it is cheaper than barcoding. For example, the cost of a single RFID portal that automatically scans the contents of the pallet carried by every moving forklift truck is cheaper than fitting out twenty forklifts with barcode scanning equipment.

For example, does the company need to identify multiple items within a process, simultaneously (RFID can do that), or just singly, item-by-item?

Red Ledge offers an RFID advisory service that allows companies to find out which group they fall into, earlier in the process – and earlier in their investment cycle.

Is it trying to capture information automatically, around its processes? For example manufacturing tracking, task by task, for maintenance and quality assurance purposes, with knowledge of which operator is responsible for each part of 6 - Automation Update

Red Ledge Automated Manufacturing & Logistics solutions improve user performance by an average 250%, based on reports from manufacturing and logistics industry users say Red Ledge.

From sensor to SAP IO-Link from ifm electronic connects smart sensors to your field bus and beyond • • • •

Correct process value – Digital transmission of the measured value; 23.3° at the sensor = 23.3° at the PLC without conversion losses. Stable signal - Data transfer uses an interference-free 24 V signal. Screened cables and analogue input cards belong in the past. Error-free set-up and operation - set devices remotely and disable potentiometers or pushbuttons; change recipe easily. Device identification – interrogate device to ensure correct type; prevent down time due to incorrect unit. ifm Telephone (020) 8213 1111

KRAIBURG-SLM®-Tire Molds Tire mold segments for the treading of truck tires. 3D-Printing at KRAIBURG, the specialist for retreading material.

The KRAIBURG tire molds, which are used in the retreading of truck tires, were produced on an SLM®500. When choosing materials, designers initially decided on aluminum – further tire molds are planned with a larger number of steel fins.

COMPANY PROFILE KRAIBURG Austria GmbH & Co. KG Founded in 1947, KRAIBURG Austria is an independent company within the KRAIBURG Group. Thanks to a shared corporate history, the Austrian company has developed great experience and know-how in rubber processing, and is now one of the leading names in the rubber industry. KRAIBURG Austria has struck a balance between international expansion and retaining the values of decency and humility that characterize a family business with around 300 employees. KRAIBURG Austria only processes rubber goods of the highest quality. For many years, the company from Upper Austria has specialized in retreading tires and has become one of the most important suppliers of tire material, providing solutions for industry specific problems of all kinds. Retreading makes worn tires safer, more economical and more environmentally-friendly, giving them a new lease of life. For every area of use and application, from trucks to large tires for earth-moving machinery (EM) - regardless of whether it involves hot or precure retreading - KRAIBURG has the right 8 - Automation Update


“3D printing allows us to create tire designs with undercuts and fins with a threedimensional structure and varying thicknesses, all in one step,” says Thorsten Schmidt, General Manager KRAIBURG Austria. A clever combination of existing production steps with the SLM® procedure can minimize the number of mold areas to be pressed, which therefore leads to a cost advantage. This renders the restrictions of the “old” production methods irrelevant and opens up new possibilities regarding design and function. It is entirely possible to consider extending this printing process to other products and production areas, also within the KRAIBURG Group.

Specialist for retreading processes


As Europe‘s biggest specialist in retreading material, KRAIBURG Austria produces high-quality material for both hot and precure retreading processes. The compound and tread used are always tailored to suit the application of the tire and the specific demands that involves. The production location in Geretsberg/Upper Austria produces pre-vulcanized tire treads to a length of 10m on multi-level presses. The treads are then delivered to retreaders all over Europe, which then give worn truck tires a new lease of life.

European specialist for retreading material with great experience and expertise in the rubber industry

Production of KRAIBURG tire molds for retreading truck tires on an SLM®500

Production of tire designs with undercuts and fins with a 3D structure and variable thicknesses in one step

Achieving cost advantages and material savings thanks to a clever combination of existing production steps with the SLM® procedure

tread and the ideal compound. This is what makes KRAIBURG Austria number one in most European markets.

SLM® SOLUTION New options for design and function in tire production Selective Laser Melting technology enables KRAIBURG mold makers to produce even the most complicated molds, which would be impossible to achieve with conventional production processes such as milling or casting.

• • • • • • • • • • • •

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Optimising productivity at warehouse packing stations:

HARTING’s MICA edge computer enables workflow optimisation HARTING’s MICA modular industrial edge computer is at the heart of a system for workflow optimisation at warehouse packing stations that offers the benefits of process optimisation for increased productivity as well as integrating incompatible hardware and software and simplifying the jobs of the packing operatives. The system, requiring minimal outlay for fast return on investment (ROI) and ongoing reductions in operating costs, has proved its value in successful trials at HARTING’s own warehouse packing facility in the company’s state-of-the-art connector manufacturing plant at Espelkamp in Germany.

is significantly accelerated. By utilising other features of the modular MICA device, successive additional KPIs and extra processes can be captured through its operating software. For example, by integrating an RFID antenna function module with dual antenna ports, it becomes possible to identify both the tagged transport containers of packed parts and the employee’s personal ID card. The MICA computer can thus automatically log on and assign the packed parts to the employee’s unique identification record. As a result, the packing process information can be integrated directly into a piecework payment system. By adding a single MICA device into the packaging process at a typical packing station, it becomes possible to reduce the overall packer’s process time by a factor of at least ten, representing a major productivity improvement. Three key benefits of the system can be summarised as follows: 1. Increased productivity at the packing station: Several separate operations that were previously carried out independently and manually are now automated and integrated by the MICA computer. 2. Integration of incompatible hardware and software: The open software architecture of MICA allows communication between incompatible devices and integrates them into the factory ERP/MES system.

The system is designed to address the challenges that are typically encountered where a customer order requires a wide range of separate component parts to be packed and shipped in one or more cartons. Previously, packers might have to interface with a range of different stand-alone computer control devices such as a weighing scale, a PLC that controls the packaging machine, and a printer for the labelling of the packaging films. In such a configuration, the employee would have to operate all these devices individually, enter the values manually into the management ERP system, and manually adapt work instructions. 10 - Automation Update

By integrating a MICA edge computer at the packing station, the new HARTING approach combines all these actions, automatically executing the intermediate steps and transferring all the data from one system to the next and into the ERP system. For example, using SAP data transfer via OPC UA to SAP MII (SAP for Manufacturing Integration & Intelligence), the work instruction can be transferred from ERP via RFC, transferred to MICA via JSON, translated in STEP 7 and loaded into the PLC. The packer now has only one user interface. The number of manual work steps is drastically reduced by the integration, and the packaging process

3. Simplification of the packer’s workstation job: Several operations that were previously carried out separately and manually are now integrated and automated, leading to a tenfold improvement in productivity. Further benefits of the MICA system result from the fact that the hardware is very compact and meets IP67 environmental protection standards, allowing it to be located in harsh factory and warehouse environments. In addition, the modular hardware design allows further enhancements and modifications to meeting changing application requirements. For further information visit

MODULA VERTICAL STORAGE SOLUTIONS FOR A LEAN MANUFACTURING: 8 TYPES OF WASTE THAT VLMs CAN ELIMINATE in picking and replenishing as there is no walking back and forth through the warehouse to find and retrieve ordered goods. 6. Inventory VLMs can reduce the costs of physical labor and the associated human resource expenses and decrease the costs associated with inventory risks by increasing inventory security. 7. Transportation Modula’s VLMs utilize the available room height from floor to ceiling, allowing for items to be stored in a safe and secure unit. Manufacturers can save valuable floor space and concentrate operations in a smaller footprint, eliminating motion and transportation wastes Lean manufacturing is based on identifying and eliminating waste. In lean manufacturing, waste is any expense or effort which doesn’t generate a product or a service that a potential client is willing to pay for. One area where such inefficiencies are often observed is in warehousing. Conventional racking, shelving, drawer cabinets still used in many facilities often contributes to this waste as they occupy significant valuable space within the facility. These also lead to a slower process flows where time is mainly spent locating and retrieving parts.

2. Excess Processing/ Inappropriate Processing Modula’s VLM can help in eliminating wastes as they streamline operating procedures, increase the flexibility and lower the costs in almost any type of facility. 3. Overproduction Thanks to the implementation of vertical storage solutions, warehousing and manufacturing facilities can have full control over the flow of goods.

High-density automated vertical storage systems can help factories and warehouses to eliminate the wastes, significantly optimize manufacturing processes and dramatically improve efficiency and productivity of the overall operations.

4. Labor cost

1. Defects

5. Waiting

Modula’s VLMs are fully automated vertical storage systems that allow for large inventory of goods to be quickly accessed while being stored in a safe and secure environment.

VLMs automatically deliver items to the operator with a simple touch on the copilot console or a scan of a barcode. This feature drastically reduces handling times both

8. Motion VLMs not only minimize significantly the risk of injury from motion, but also offer maximum safety for personnel in even the most demanding working conditions. Inventory is delivered directly to employees without exposing them to moving parts or requiring them to use heavy machinery.

Modula’s VLM retrieves trays with the stored items and delivers them to the user at the optimum ergonomic retrieval height.

Automation Update - 11

Brexit has seen some Data Storage being re-located to mainland Europe lines and render sterile production systems inoperable. For the data environments, with critical load requirements, we work with Riello and Vertiv as their official distributor partner, installing energy saving battery based UPS for own discerning clients Where production industrial processes involving motor drives, inverters and heavy machinery require critical seamless power protection, PowerContinuity install Piller Rotary Power Systems. For many years, as a premier distributor partner, we have worked closely with Piller to provide ‘state of the art’ robust rotary systems to our clients across the UK, from inspiration to installation, one stop shop. Whether 1 mVA or 10mVa, choose PowerContinuity.

PowerContinuity has designed , installed and maintains the ultimate power protection systems that our global clients expect here in the UK. So we say, don’t relocate! Great British Power Continuity offers the most cost effective and resilient power protection in the UK. Should you be planning a co-lo for your disaster recovery site, have you requested and been shown the physical UPS and Generator installation of the site, that proves their 24/7 capability exists with your own eyes? We strongly recommend that see the physical reality as this is far more compelling that a sales pitch. When placing your servers in a co-lo Data Suite, your first concern is what resilience backup power systems are installed to protect your power stream. No Lighty No Likey! The power is in your hands; choose Power Continuity Resilient no break backup systems. Our own engineering 12 - Automation Update

teams and tech support are on call 24 hours a day, ensuring that ‘failure is not an option’ for PowerContinuity customers. We all know that future Grid supplies are reliant on PV and wind turbine alternative energy, meaning less stable power as traditional power production decreases, leading to greater harmonic distortion – hence the rapid increase in irregular power drops. Two independent Grid supplies will help resilience but that will never remove the erratic millisecond power dips that cause irritating server issues and stop robots. These millisecond power dips are enough to ‘knock out’ servers, stop productions

PowerContinuity install complete, site-wide automatic power protection, encompassing UPS and generator on long-term rental purchase options as well as lease contract, total design and installation all carried out in house. NO Salesmen-ONLY Engineers DCW? Contact PowerContinuity Systems on 0845 055 8455 – We’re here to help 24/7


NO LIGHTY, NO LIKEY: The power is in your hands

PowerContinuity discusses the benefit of reshoring data storage


rexit has resulted in some data are installed to protect the power stream. storage being re-located to mainland Power Continuity’s engineering teams Europe. However, PowerContinuity has and tech support are on call 24 hours a designed, installed and maintains the day, ensuring that ‘failure is not an ultimate power protection systems option’ for the company’s customers. for its global clients here in the We all know that future Grid UK. So PowerContinuity says: supplies are reliant on PV and “don’t relocate! Great British wind turbine alternative energy, PowerContinuity say: Power Continuity offers the meaning less stable power as don’t relocate! Great most cost effective and traditional power production resilient power protection decreases, leading to greater British Power Continuity in the UK.” harmonic distortion – hence offers the most cost effective Should you be planning a the rapid increase in irregular and resilient power co-location for your power drops. Two independent disaster recovery site, it is Grid supplies will help resilience protection in the UK ..." but will never remove the erratic important to request to be millisecond power dips that cause shown the physical UPS and irritating server issues and stop Generator installation of the site. robots. These millisecond power dips are This proves the company’s 24/7 enough to ‘knock out’ servers, stop capability exists. PowerContinuity production lines and render sterile strongly believes that seeing the physical production systems inoperable. For the reality with your own eyes is far more data environments, with critical load compelling than a sales pitch. requirements, PowerContinuity works When placing servers in a co-lo data suite, the customer’s first concern is with Riello and Vertiv as its official what resilience backup power systems distributor partner, installing energy



saving battery based UPS for its own discerning clients. Where production industrial processes involving motor drives, inverters and heavy machinery require critical seamless power protection, PowerContinuity install Piller Rotary Power Systems. For many years, as a premier distributor partner, the company has worked closely with Piller to provide robust rotary systems to clients across the UK, from inspiration to installation, a one stop shop. PowerContinuity install complete, sitewide automatic power protection, encompassing UPS and generator on long-term rental purchase options as well as lease contract, total design and installation all carried out in house. No salesmen, only engineers DCW? Contact PowerContinuity Systems on the contact details below. PowerContinuity T: 0845 055 8455


Smart Solutions from AutoCoding Systems AutoCoding Systems has recognised that there is a growing requirement to communicate with and collect data from a wide range of devices, as well as interface to various business information systems to enable factories to work smarter. As a global provider of automation solutions to factory production and packaging areas, AutoCoding Systems has developed a suite

of modular software products to facilitate processes such as device integration, data collection and integrity, code deployment and packaging verification. The entry level web-based AutoCoding product can be used to set-up and control packaging line devices, such as coders, barcode scanners and inspection equipment, irrespective of brand. The centralised application automatically deploys secure set-up and message data to one or more packaging line devices, thereby reducing downtime, as well as eliminating the risk of coding and packaging errors. The resulting business benefits include increased speed and reliability of line set-up, reduced job changeover time, reduced risk of human error and the ability to manage complex packaging formats. The AutoCoding suite of modules gives additional functionality and greater scope for the collection of data. For example, the Paperless Quality module automates both in-line and off-line routine quality checks. The AutoCoding line terminal can be configured to individual requirements creating various methods for capturing data which can then be used for reporting purposes. Details of all QA checks are consolidated into the AutoCoding audit log resulting in a reduction in the amount of physical paper records that must be retained and subsequently stored. Other modules include Inspection Reporting to monitor the performance of, and collect data from, multiple checkweighers, metal detectors and x-ray equipment. Real-time data can be collected relating to contaminant detection rates, weight and overfill allowing corrective action to be taken, as required. Easy The Line Performance Reporting module captures realtime manufacturing data which can then visualised in customisable reports to display accurate packaging line / device / product performance data. The latest concept developed using the latest software engineering technologies is the AutoCoding IIoT Gateway. IIoT technology provides consistent mechanisms for cross-application and cross-device communication. This enables the collection of rich data and statistics from production line devices which previously could not easily participate in the movement towards a connected factory floor. The AutoCoding IIoT Gateway aims to reduce the cost and increase the effectiveness of integrating users, data and applications with data and equipment on the plant floor.

14 - Automation Update

Beast from the East laid siege at the castle Situated in the heart of Warwickshire, Warwick Castle features a large estate of grounds and buildings dating back to Anglo-Saxon times. The grounds alone cover almost 3 square kilometres. The whole site needs patrolling and protecting to ensure that the site is safe and secure at all times, not just for the visitors but for the staff who come to work each day. Never was this more important than when the Beast from the East laid siege at the castle last month. Snow had hit the site severely, meaning that it was closed to visitors. Abdul Rassaq, who works for Security Services provider, TC Security Services, was on duty over this period. Not only did Abdul complete his usual patrols but he cleared footpaths and other areas of snow, to ensure that access for staff was safe at all times. His contribution and commitment to employee safety has been recognised and duly noted by the site Operations Support Manager at Warwick Castle. Who said, Abdul, I know I have already said this but also wanted to make the thank you official.

“Without you over the last few days we would definitely have been in trouble. You were the only constant within the team and just got on with the job at hand. You definitely stepped up when we needed you too. Many, many thanks – you have been a star!!!” Satia Rai, Senior Operations Manager for TC Security

Services said: “I just wanted to send you a big thank you from both myself and the client for your exemplary service over these past few days. Your commitment to ensuring that the site was kept safe and secure during this spell was fantastic. You are a true asset to the company and I know that the client feels the same way. Thank you again and well done.” Automation Update - 15

RK Rose+Krieger have been manufacturing components for automation and machine building for over 40 years. Our extensive range of products in the fields of linear adjustment, profile technology, connecting and module technology are renowned and respected for their reliability and performance. As a company we are always striving to look for new ways to advance our products. For example, we have recently introduced a new 100% corrosion resistant unit to our popular range of E type tubular linear units within our linear technology range of products. This unit has an upgraded working temperature range of -30 to +80 degrees C and can operate with FDA approved lubricants.The range of linear units with screw and belt is extensive with many size and length options available. Within linear technology we also manufacture electric lifting columns for height adjustment of workstations and benches and electric actuators for positioning and adjustment. Our BLOCAN aluminium profile systems range offers flexibility and efficiency using aluminium profiles that are easily assembled and suitable for a variety of applications. A large range of different profile sections and accessory parts make almost every imaginable construction possible.

No drilling required! The aluminium profiles are simply cut to length and assembled! With more than 100 different profile sizes and crosssections that can be easily assembled using our simple and strong connection method, we offer you a cost effective system due to low assembly costs. Another new product we are delighted to launch is our RK monitor mounting compact. This is a new smaller mounting expanding our range of extremely popular monitor mounting components which offer a high strength and flexible solution for the fixing and adjustment of monitors and touch panels. 16 - Automation Update

Our tube connection system offers a cost effective solution for the positive and easily detachable connection of a wide variety of systems – without the need for drilling and welding. Depending on the application and expected load RK Rose+Krieger have tube connectors made of plastic, aluminium and stainless steel. We work constantly and with great dedication on innovative products and solutions for our customers. The range includes catalogue as well as tailor-made products, system solutions and special projects. We are happy to advise you in choosing a product or to develop a tailor-made system solution with you from our extensive modular product range.

Precise coolant filtration VDF vortex dynamic filter One-pass filtration: > 90% of 5µm particles One-pass filtration: > 99% of 25µm particles Filters both ferrous and non-ferrous Simple waste disposal options – automated operation available Wide range of sizes and capacities 9 models: flows from 10 lpm to 1,000 lpm Body materials: 9 in SUS13 & 3 in resin (PA6)

• • • •

VDF 70 - 70 lpm

No foaming, cleaner coolant, longer tool life Reduced running costs, low maintenance Element-free, no filter element replacement costs The environmentally friendly one-pass solution

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Web: E-mail:

VDF 1000 – 1,000 lpm

Reduce your downtime


It’s a known problem with electric motors; bearings fail prematurely due to misalignment and vibration causing downtime and increased maintenance costs. Choose quality to reduce these failures by half…… insist on a KTR coupling. Any pump to any motor, we’ve got a coupling to suit the job and our split hub ROTEX® and BoWex® designs offer one of the quickest maintenance turnarounds in the industry!

Automation Update - 17

LasX Ripping Engine Revolutionises Digital Print With On-The-Fly Laser Processing The LasX Ripping Engine is the brain behind the digitalisation and collation of all aspects of carton and label manufacturing processes. The technology makes it possible for the Laser to change between different products on the fly and perform the processes needed such as cutting, scoring or etching as required for each individual item. The Ripping Engine is designed to work equally well with either sheet fed or roll fed digital printing. Bromsgrove based laser specialists TLM Laser are now able to offer this technology to customers in the UK and Ireland, under their recent partnership agreement with LasX Industries (www., a technology and industry leader in high performance production class laser converting systems and services. Flexibility has become an increasingly important element in many different processes as manufacturers endeavour to meet the demands placed upon them by multiple product variants and smaller batch runs. The development of the LasX Ripping Engine allows near instantaneous changeover between products or work orders, delivering the highest levels of flexibility and reducing waste by combining smaller jobs, thus optimising the use of stock material. The Ripping Engine interfaces with third party print management software and the laser system to prepare the information needed by the laser to fulfil the processing tasks. The files used by the Ripping Engine will originate from graphics design departments, who will typically use Adobe Illustrator, Corel or other graphics design packages for artwork

18 - Automation Update

preparation. These PDF files use multiple layers to hold the specific information for material registration and job details, print design, cutting, scoring and etching etc.

and initiated. The alignment fiducials provide reference points that allow the laser to compensate for any offsets in the x and y directions and any rotational skew.

The Ripping Engine converts these files and sends print instructions to the printer software interface and processing instructions to the laser(s) for cutting, scoring or etching. Part of the data sent to the printer includes a 2D matrix code and alignment fiducials on either side of the web.

The fact that the laser processing information is taken directly form the design file, eliminates the potential for errors that could result from human intervention, and the closed loop nature of the system ensures that the correct programme and parameters are selected and verified for each product prior to processing.

Individual laser jobs and parameters are stored within and triggered by the 2D matrix that has been printed along the leading edge of the web or sheet. A camera positioned downstream from the printer and upstream from the laser, reads this code and in a fraction of a second sends the information it contains to the laser to allow specific programmes or jobs to be loaded

With the printing and laser processing fully integrated, users of this technology benefit from tangible cost savings and significantly reduced leadtimes between design and shipment, when compared to more traditional print methods that require films, plates, die cutters and several different set up stages to produce the finished item.


March 2018

25-27 SEPT 2018 NEC, BirmiNgham

FREE TO ATTEND REGISTER NOw! THE UK’S LEADING PRODUCTION LINE EVENT See the latest processing and packaging machinery in action, network with industry peers and gain valuable insight at our must attend seminars. proCEssiNg & paCkagiNg maChiNEry 42| matErials i roBots i iNdustrial VisioN

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