Servos and software improve printing press automation

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Focus Label Machinery Ltd has worked closely with Bosch Rexroth to implement a higher degree of automation on its latest flexographic printing press, making good use of Rexroth intelligent servo drives and Indramotion for Printing software.

Servos and software improve printing press automationConsistency has always been a key consideration for printers, so the industry is constantly seeking ways to automate processes and remove the risk of human error. When Focus Label Machinery Ltd wanted to incorporate further automation into its latest flexographic printing press, the company approached Bosch Rexroth.

Focus Label Machinery Ltd has been a leading manufacturer of printing presses for the last 35 years. Having identified market demand for a value-added machine incorporating increased automation, the company began looking for a partner who, as well as providing the right technology for the job, would also offer the ongoing in-depth technical support required as part of a new product development programme.

Thanks to a proven track record of delivering automation products and systems, and having in-depth knowledge of the printing industry, Bosch Rexroth was selected by Focus Label Machinery Ltd to help take the project forward.

Having received the brief, Chris Nevin - the industry sector manager for printing and converting at Bosch Rexroth - began designing an automation system that, as well as increasing automation and consistency, would reduce energy consumption and provide increased flexibility for end-users.

Benefits of intelligent servos

Chris Nevin explains: "By implementing a proven combination of Rexroth software and technology solutions we were quickly able to meet Focus Label Machinery Ltd's demand for a high-quality automated printing machine. By incorporating intelligent servo drives, we were able to share load-specific demands between motors and drives, ensuring the press operates at optimum efficiency and, as a result, reducing energy demands. It also meant that we could minimise setup input, allowing more consistent, repeatable results, and provide end-users with greater flexibility to meet the demands of different customers, no matter what the substrate.

"By using Rexroth's Indramotion for Printing software, in collaboration with the servo drive hardware, Focus Label Machinery Ltd is able to use commissioning visualisation to help customers move programmable logic controllers (PLCs) towards parameterisation instead of programming. In-built screens further allow all the advanced control concepts to be visible alongside representative graphics, further easing the commissioning phase and simplifying fault finding.

"Using scalable hardware with intelligent software means lower-cost hardware can be used for simple applications, and high-performance hardware can be included as and when required without having to completely rewrite the application code. This is thanks to the software's modular design. For example, if a customer has been printing using just four colours, then decides to upgrade to eight colours, this can be easily accommodated with the existing software. Also, from the customer's perspective, the print stations themselves remain the same, allowing for efficient production process when manufacturing."

David Lee from Focus Label Machinery Ltd comments: "For our customers the ability to serve and quickly adapt to a wide range of markets, whilst maintaining high levels of productivity, cost-efficiency and quality, is key. By incorporating Rexroth's servo drive technology with software that the company has developed specifically for the printing industry, we have been able to create a value-added product that meets all of our customers' needs. Bosch Rexroth's high level of technical support was key to the success of this project."

Follow the links for more information about servo drives and Indramotion for Printing software, or go to to find out more about Bosch Rexroth's automation products and services in general.

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