The printing unit in question had been in operation for 30 years and was in need of a retrofit to maintain continuous production and fulfill customer orders. However, creating a window of opportunity for the upgrade was no simple task. Consequently, the client had one question:
“How can we minimize downtime and risks so that the machine can reliably restart on time?”
Well, here’s the answer.
Upgrading printing and converting machines is routine business at INDUR Antriebstechnik AG. The Swiss drive technology specialist had already performed another upgrade of the same lacquering and printing machine several years ago and was familiar with the circumstances and requirements of Amcor Flexibles’ Rorschach facility. The new upgrade, though, was by no means routine, explains INDUR CEO and project lead Jürg Spillmann:
“The machine itself is unique – as far as I know, it is the only one of its kind.
“It is used for triplex lacquering, triplex printing, and laminating of 40 to 300 µm aluminum sheets for food packaging. It processes high-value, high-thickness material at high speeds. In order to minimize waste, you need to have a precise and high-performance solution for the register control. In terms of motor technology, parts of the machine are located in Ex zones, so we needed a solution for that as well.”
Finding the perfect fit
On top of this, the entire upgrade had to be completed during a planned shutdown, within just two weeks – and not a day more, or there would be immediate and costly production losses. So INDUR had to make sure the new solution for the drive and automation systems would fit the machine perfectly.
The answer was a reliable and integrated drive and control solution from Siemens that also integrated smoothly with the existing Simatic components: Simatic controllers and distributed systems, safety systems, Sinamics drives, and Simotics motors, plus a Simatic Panel PC for local operation and control. The register control was implemented with a sensor-based Simotion TRC3000, which can be installed directly in the Ex zone on the aluminum sheet. The register control preprocesses the data for the motion control with the Simotion D455-2 control unit. During engineering, INDUR relied on the Simotion Print Standard software library and consulted with the printing experts at the Siemens application center, which also provided support during the on-site commissioning.
A perfect finish
“We had tested the register marks with the sensor at the Siemens application center prior to commissioning, which gave me confidence that we were taking a working solution to the site,”
says Spillmann. And it did work: the machine was upgraded in time for start-up and has since enabled Amcor to exceed its previous operational performance.
The register control, for example, is now working much more precisely and efficiently, and the significantly enhanced performance has lightened the workload of the operator. Changing the printing cylinders has become much easier as well, and no longer causes downtime. The new automation and drive solution is linked to the Simatic WinCC SCADA system for analysis and monitoring of trends and plant data, which supports the maintenance technicians in their work. And because the systems from Siemens offer excellent integration capabilities, all this was achieved while retaining large parts of the existing electrical systems – which also helped reduce the cost of the modernization. So when the printing machine went into operation as planned, everybody was happy: operators, maintenance staff, and management. That’s what I would call a perfect finish.
You can find out more about our printing and converting machine solutions online. Visit siemens.com/printing for more details. How did your modernization projects work out? Have you had similar challenges? Please let me know in the comments.