Press connectivity boosts productivity
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This is an article by Piotr Wnuk, published in issue 2, 2020 of Labels & Labeling and labelsandlabeling.com
MPS, Esko and Cerm hosted a two-day Performance Connected event in January which aimed to show visitors how to improve their businesses’ productivity by 30 percent by integrating machinery and workflow systems.
‘Today’s message is not an easy one,’ said Atze Bosma, CEO of MPS Systems, in his opening speech. ‘Over the last couple of months, we have tried to introduce a few performance and connectivity improvements in a certain group of customers. It quickly transpired that MPS is seen as a machine builder, converters are busy with orders, Cerm is occupied by its MIS system and Esko with the process flows. This also led to the simple conclusion that there is massive disconnection and separation of all these technologies.
‘What I want to stress today is that combining these technologies will uncover the hidden potential of machines and can bring up to 30 percent improvement in performance. We are living in a world that is constantly changing. In the printing industry, there is a world of opportunities when it comes to connectivity and data-driven service. We are keen to show our customers how to improve the performance of their MPS presses and overall business by 30 percent with some very easy steps.’
Bert van den Brink, technical director of MPS, added: ‘When Atze came on board at MPS, with his experience in the packaging industry, he brought a fresh look at the label market and saw the potential lying in connectivity and data harvesting. Last year at Labelexpo Europe, we first introduced the “Beyond the machine” philosophy. We strongly believe there is a real potential to increase the efficiency of the machine, which is not achievable without correct data analysis and collection. Connecting our printing press, Cerm’s MIS system and Esko’s pre-press knowledge gives us a clear set of data, helping to identify exactly where the inefficiencies occur and how to tackle them to increase the overall productivity.’
According to Bosma, productivity is one of the key pillars of the ‘Beyond the machine’ concept. ‘We are pleased to share our expertise and advise our customers how to achieve optimal lifecycle performance and maximize production efficiency from their MPS machines. In the end, our customer’s success is our success,’ he said.
image credits: Piotr Wnuk, Labels & Labeling
Performance Connected featured a hands-on workshop program including live demonstrations of what MPS called its ‘Beyond the machine’ technology. The demonstration showed an MPS Symjet hybrid press linked to Cerm and Esko software printing extended gamut jobs. The session led by Bosma showed the power of the software and hardware ecosystem. It was able to calculate the real-time savings achieved thanks to collecting over 300 parameters directly from the press. This proved that even a 10-second improvement to job change times can lead to significant savings.
The event was also an ideal platform for technical workshops during which Cerm demonstrated how its MIS connects with Esko pre-press and directly with the MPS press operating system, and the performance improvements it can offer a daily operation.
‘All three individual systems offer an interesting set of functionalities that can easily improve converters’ productivity,’ said Geert Van Damme, MD at Cerm. ‘But the interaction between these systems provides an extra dimension that can be compared to any team-sport: it’s the way they play together that makes them win.’
Esko showed how Value Stream Mapping (VSM) can benefit the label business. It focuses on a company’s value creation workflow, exposing waste and inefficiencies based on insights gathered from employees, revealing opportunities to improve productivity and throughput.
VSM considers the workflow as a system of steps and activities which are all connected in one way or another, helping executives to establish a long-term zero waste strategy rather than undertaking isolated actions. It is the starting point of a business improvement project. Ken Polspoel, global solutions manager at Esko, said: ‘VSM forces you to think holistically. There’s no point in creating islands of success in a sea of waste.’
‘We are working with our customers to help them to unleash the full potential and the productivity of our machines, which are often underutilized,’ concluded Bosma. ‘During our live demonstrations today, we have calculated that a small 10-second improvement to the job change can lead to long-term 78,000 EUR profits for our customers. That’s for us a good reason to have this in our vision and to be sure that the connectivity is our main focus over the next period of time.’