manroland on track for fully automated newspaper press by 2012

At this week’s IFRA Expo in Vienna, the company has launched APL Logistics, which incorporates its Automatic Plate Loading (APL) technology as part of a move to create a completely automated newspaper press by drupa 2012.

Plates are placed in cassettes in the pre-press area and carried to the press, where they are fitted by robotic arms provided by robotics specialist Kuka.

Before they are placed on the press, the plates are scanned to ensure they are in the right place.

According to Manroland’s UK sales manager for newspaper products, Andy Latham, an entire press can be changed in a total of three minutes and the technology can be retro-fitted.

Latham also said that the company was investigating using the arms for first-level cleaning to utilise them for more than just plate-changing.

He added: “We realise that you will always have to have someone on site. We would never tell a publisher that you won’t need somebody there, but this is the next step for us.

“The front end is completely automated and we are getting closer the point where you essentially just need someone to push the button and turn the machine on.”

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