Print Leaders Forum: Weaving automation into print

An excerpt from AP March 2020 Print Leaders Forum – by Cyber Managing Director Bernard Cheong 

Under current environment such as intensive competition and labour shortage, further automation will be required not only for the press but also for total workflow from pre-press to post press in 2020.

Why is automation necessary in print, you may ask. Automation plays a vital role in addressing some of the biggest challenges that we’re seeing in workflows, such as pre-press bottlenecks, human error at various touch points, wastage, and other process inefficiencies.

It not only delivers more output consistently and correctly, but also improves efficiencies within a company and lowers time to market.

According to a McKinsey’s report past technological innovations have proven that they boost job creation and lower disruption, but the impact of automation still causes anxiety in many sectors including print.

But studies show that automation can actually increase annual productivity growth on a global level by 0.8 to 1.4 per cent. Some early adopters have been getting on board this bandwagon early, realising the benefits not only to their businesses, but what it does for their customers as well.

In saying that, there is still plenty of room for growth in this area in Australia and mass adoption is necessary. In this space, RMGT – RYOBI MHI Graphic Technology is expected to introduce several automated robotic features at drupa2020.

Based on RMGT”s concept “Assist your potential”, we will introduce new machines and features which will reduce the dependency on labour and to optimise productivity of printers. And in cooperation with our world-wide partners, we aim to hold several open-house events, technical seminars and exhibitions all over the world.

In support of automation, we will also introduce our Smart Factory concept.

In addition, we would like to introduce improved service approaches to the customer utilising our owned cloud service and wearable device.

Thus far, RMGT has shown that it has received stable demands from North America, EU countries, China and Korea in 2019, especially for eight-colour perfecting presses and package presses. Upon launch in Australia, we expect its uptake to be rife, and for Australian printers to adopt automation to be at the front of technology in Asia Pacific.

We, at Cyber, understand that the customer have to pursue further productivity and efficiency under current environment such as price competitiveness, quick delivery, labour shortage and so on.

So, further automation of the press, specifically around optimisation of workflow between each production department such as using of AGV and advanced software should be very important for our printers.

In terms of profitable industries, the packaging, gang (trade) printing and web-2-print segment are still very profitable and I foresee companies to continue investments in new technology and machineries within these areas.

There’s no doubt that commercial and publishing printers are facing difficulties all over the world. So, we need automation and speed to increase productivity and efficiency so to drive cost down – basically, they need to invest in new technology and machineries to compete in the modern economy.

 

This article was written prior to the impact of COVID-19. The digital version of AP March 2020 is available here.

And as part of AP’s 70 anniversary, we’re pulling together a list of 70 local industry pioneers – you can make your nominations here.

 

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