Safe Stack Turners and Logistics Systems in the Printing Industry

Modular safety system exploits rationalization potential

Due to increased printing capacity, automation of logistics processes is critical. Printed sheets must arrive at the feeder and be delivered without process delays. With every unnecessary machine stop, the printing and ink parameters must be reset and optimized, adding time, waste, and cost to the process.

Application Solution:
All operator-accessible points on the machine are monitored with light barriers and light grids. Pepperl Fuchs SLA29 sensors are permanently active safety light barriers. Their detection range is extended by means of adjustable mirrors as far as this is useful. Depending on the risk potential, SLC30 safety light curtains may be required as an option for hand protection.

Previously, Krifft & Zipsner had used four different switching devices by two manufacturers for every machine, for example, the SLVA-4K evaluation device for the permanent light barriers and the SLVA-8K for the muted light barriers. All of these functions are now performed by the Safebox in an easier and more rational way.

Tri-Phase Automation is a distributor of Pepperl+Fuchs in Wisconsin.
Contact Tri-Phase Sales or Get a Quote

Quality in Manufacturing: Double Sheet Detection for Plastic Plate and Film Sheet

Double Sheet Detection

Cost effective processing of plastic plates and film sheets is very important in manufacturing print products. Quality requirements for high gloss products are very demanding. Even the smallest scratch on the surface or manufacturing steps that are not completely clean can result in waste. Plastic plates and film sheets are separated from a stack into individual units for further processing. Before the individual plastic plates or film sheets are cut to size, a check must determine that only one plate or sheet has been supplied. If not, the equipment can be damaged and the material will be unusable. Double sheet detection increases equipment life and minimizes material waste.

The Solution:
The Pepperl+Fuchs UDC-18GM-400-3E3 ultrasonic double sheet detector checks for the presence of an item before it reaches the blade. The presence of more than one unit, due to static electricity or other reason, triggers an alarm. The UDC-18GM-400-3E3 reliably identifies the presence of no sheet, single sheet, or double sheet, ensuring reliable, quality processing.

Double sheet detection has previously been triggered by a simple mechanical switch. Measurement that involves contact can mar the high-gloss plates or sheets. The change was made to no-contact ultrasonic detection to increase quality. Scratches are now a thing of the past. The Pepperl Fuchs UDC-18GM-400-3E3 ultrasonic double sheet detector is designed for a wide range of applications and is able to check all materials, from transparent film and thin film sheets to plastic plates 2 mm thick. For thicker media, such as sheet steel, the UDCM-30GM-085-3E3 ultrasonic double sheet detector is available.

Tri-Phase Automation is a distributor of Pepperl +Fuchs in Wisconsin. Contact Tri-Phase Sales or Get a Quote

Device Product Number Match

Medical Products Application by Cognex.

Device Product Number Match

The Problem

A Medical Device manufacturer required a Product Number inspection during their production process. Traditionally, this was done manually, but was prone to operator error and resulted in rework costs. Traditional sensors could not easily read the product numbers, and expensive Vision Systems were not practical.

The Solution

A Cognex vision system was installed. The manufacturer required a solution where a part would be manually inserted into a precision fixture and when an operator hits a start switch (external trigger) it would perform the Product Number inspection. The system met this goal using two pattern sensors to inspect for the matching Product Numbers based on an internally stored template. As a bonus feature, its ability to store settings for up to 16 jobs allowed the manufacturer an added benefit to quickly enable line changeovers.

The Benefit

Quality was improved with the manual inspection replaced with the Cognex’s system. Rework costs declined dramatically and the manufacturer was able to leverage the changeover capabilities to decrease errors during line changeovers.

Product Recommendation: Cognex In-Sight 2000

Tri-Phase Automation is a Cognex distributor in Wisconsin. We offer evaluations and technical support to help our customers solve their applications.

100% Inspection Achieved. Orientation of Book Pages

A book manufacturer was experiencing high scrap and rework
costs in their bindery due to book pages being bound in the
wrong orientation. Standard photoelectric sensors could not
reliably check for page orientation due to variations in book
position. 100% manual inspection was not feasible at full line
speeds, forcing the quality assurance team to check only a few
samples per lot. Many incorrectly bound copies were missed
at inspection, resulting in high customer complaint rates.

A Cognex vision sensor was installed and its part
finding sensor identifies a reference feature on each set of
pages. The reference feature is used to locate an area on the
page stack where a dark mark should be visible when the
pages are in the proper orientation. It then uses a
contrast sensor to inspect that area for presence of the mark.
Use of the part finding sensor to locate the inspection area
provides consistent and reliable readings even when book
position varies. The sensor’s ability to store multiple settings
enables quick, easy job changeovers for different page widths.


Quality was improved and customer complaints reduced by
enabling 100% inspection prior to book packaging. Yields
were increased and scrap and rework costs reduced via tighter
process control. High line speed was maintained because
the part finding sensor does not need separate external
triggering that would require additional time per inspection.

Tri-Phase Automation is a Cognex distributor in Wisconsin. We offer machine vision evaluations and technical support to help our customers solve their applications.

Vision Sensors for Post Print Processing

pf-post-print-sensorA solution from Pepperl+Fuchs

Vision sensor are used for sheet verification in all common collating, folding, and binding machines. The vision sensor ensures safe sheet verification in high-speed applications by image comparison and 1-D and 2-D code reading.

  • Comparing of sheet sequences and reliable detection of misfed sheets
  • Automatic Teach-In of reference sheets reduces operator workload and downtime
  • Safe detection even on reflective surfaces
  • Innovative image processing technology ensures reading of very large barcodes

Tri-Phase Automation is a distributor of Pepperl+Fuchs in Wisconsin. For more information Contact Tri-Phase Automation

Direct Drive Technology Improves Flexo Printing Quality and Throughput

A printing solution from Kollmorgen

kollmorgen-improving-flexoFlexographic printing technology has become increasingly popular because it more easily maintains printing quality and reduces startup time and waste.

But flexo printing quality depends on maintaining extremely accurate synchronization of the anilox roller and plate cylinder used in each print deck module. Traditionally, this has been accomplished either by gearing the anilox roller and plate cylinder together and driving both with a single AC induction motor or by using separate servomotors to drive each axis through gearboxes. As press speed and printing quality requirements have increased, the inevitable inaccuracies in the gearing system have become a limiting factor on press print quality and speed.  Recent advancements make it possible to synchronize the anilox roller and plate cylinder to a much higher level of precision without mechanical transmissions by using closed loop control technology and driving both directly with independent, Direct Drive rotary (DDr). Eliminating the mechanical transmission enables the servo loop gain to be increased, thereby increasing the bandwidth of the servo loop. Speed control and phasing between the anilox and plate cylinder can be closely controlled in the absence of gear backlash, thus providing for higher speeds and inaccuracies for improved print quality. Throughput is also increased because the higher control loop gain enables faster machine operation. This article will examine the trend towards DDr systems in flexo presses and consider alternative implementation methods. Read the full Kollmorgen whitepaper: Direct Drive Technology Improves Flexo Printing Quality and Throughput


Tri-Phase Automation is a distributor of Kollmorgen in Wisconsin.
Contact Tri-Phase Sales or Get a Quote


Achieving Industry Leading Precision Velocity Control in Coating and Laminating Applications

An application solution from Kollmorgen

km-velocityIn web handling, velocity ripple causes uneven coating and unsightly horizontal bars across the substrate. There is one solution to overcome these challenges- perfect velocity control.
There are a number of factors that directly impact the ripple problem including Mechanical transmissions cause tooth or belt chatter, and each gear tooth or timing belt will cause a torque/velocity perturbation in the roll resulting in the “bar” effect, sometimes referred as banding. Machine mechanics, along with imperfections in the motor, feedback device, and drive control loop, combine to foil the notion of perfect velocity. Correcting for these variables will go along way toward achieving  the desired velocity control.  The motor’s primary contribution to velocity ripple is its electromagnetic cogging. which is usually at the pole or slot frequency or some multiple of it. The best way to overcome electromagnetic cogging is to begin with a low cogging motor that requires less correction.  All standard Kollmorgen motors, including AKM, Direct Drive Rotary, (DDR) and Cartridge DDR are under 1% pk-pk cogging. They are superior due to electromagnetic design and simulation of the electromagnetic circuit.

Cartridge DDR or Frameless direct drive motors are the best weapon on the precision coating lines because they eliminate mechanical transmission, and with Cartridge DDR having the added advantage of being easy to implement.  Read the whitepaper

Tri-Phase Automation is a distributor of Kollmorgen in Wisconsin.
Contact Tri-Phase Sales or Get a Quote

Vision Tools Speed Development of IMB Postal Barcode Verifier

fastechnology-in-sight-postal-us_10-webThe new Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB) has all but replaced the old POSTNET and PLANET barcodes used in United States Postal Service (USPS) automation.  FASTechnology Group created FASTverify Postal Verification System is the first system that not only verifies the readability and critical metrics of the barcode but also verifies that it is the right barcode. They chose to integrate the Cognex In-Sight 5613 because it provides powerful tools for IMB verification and automation control connectivity that greatly reduced development time.

The new Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB) has all but replaced the old POSTNET and PLANET barcodes used in United States Postal Service (USPS) automation.  FASTechnology Group, already the leading developer and supplier of high-speed selective binding and mailing controllers used to address large mailings, anticipated the need for an inspection system that would validate the quality and conformity of IMBs to help mailers avoid potential additional charges.

FASTech used the Cognex In-Sight® 5613 because it provides powerful tools for IMB verification and automation control connectivity that greatly reduced development time.  Mark Breunig, VP Product Development for FASTech. “Cognex offers a full set of built-in IMB verification tools that make it possible to program the vision system to verify IMB compliance with just a few simple commands. Cognex connectivity tools make it easier to integrate Cognex vision systems into existing automation control systems.”

We were able to develop the application in a remarkably short period of time,” Breunig concluded. “The cameras and software that we have used in the past to develop vision applications could have done this job but it would have been more difficult and taken considerably more time. Cognex vision tools helped us quickly bring a product to market that is the first in the IMB verification space to offer a number of important capabilities. Our system is the first to provide the ability to not only verify that the IMB is produced to specifications but also to verify that the right code has been printed on the mailer. The FASTverify Postal Verification System is also one of the first systems with one button calibration and the capability to inspect every single piece of mail produced by today’s high-speed selective binding and co-mailing systems with full image archival capability”

Read the full customer success story
Vision Tools Speed Development of IMB Postal Barcode Verifier

Cognex vision helps align printing plates in Proteck equipment

A Cognex Customer Success Storycognex-proteck_in_printing_mb_in-sight

Printing plates require precise alignment at various stages throughout the printing process, at micron levels of accuracy. This stringent requirement is further complicated by the fact that printing presses from different manufacturers require different alignment positions, which often means that custom press equipment is required, even when traditional methods are used.

Application Solution:
Proteck, a leading manufacturer of printing equipment located at Chennai, India, is able to effectively resolve these issues using Cognex® vision systems and provide reliable and flexible equipment that meets the demanding needs of the printing industry. Printing Process Requires a Reliable and Flexible Solution Proteck’s specially designed algorithm uses the position of special marks on each side of the printing plate to determine the amount of translation and rotation that the plate has to undergo to achieve the correct position. Two Cognex In-Sight® Micro cameras detect these marks and send the data to the PLC that controls the machine. The custom machine then directs the actuators to achieve the required plate positions. While In-Sight 5000 series cameras were used for the initial prototyping and trials, Proteck switched to the newer In-Sight Micro series cameras to take advantage of the compact form factor, which provides a significant advantage given the tight space constraints inside the printing equipment. Cognex’s patented PatMax® technology and Non-linear Calibration functions achieved the required accuracies with this cost-effective system. Additionally, features of the newer In-Sight Explorer software, such as Composite Region Definitions, help provide the flexibility to handle different positioning requirements for a variety of presses within the same machine. The VisionView® operator display panel provides a compact and convenient way to view information, such as plate positions, before and after the correction takes place, as well as a view into the operating status of the machine. Using the touch screen functionality of the VisionView terminal, it is possible to enter minor adjustment offsets, which could change when the presses undergo routine maintenance.

With the new system in place, Proteck’s customers have even more confidence in the quality equipment they already provided.

Read the full customer success story:
Cognex vision helps align printing plates in Proteck equipment


Monitoring and Controlling Automatic Mixing and Dispensing Machines for Printing and Dyeing

An application story from Advantech


As technology advances, textile manufacturing has been transformed from a labor-intensive to a partially or fully automated industry. Automation is significant in all segments of textile production – from spinning to printing, and textile machinery manufacturers are constantly searching for new technologies and automation processes will increase the productivity of their machines.

The customer’s automatic mixing and dispensing machine comprises of a mixing head, an electronic weighing scale, dosing station, color paste mixer, mother liquor storage tank and delivery pipeline, and automatic conveyor. They used to use a tablet PC as their system control device, but the high operating temperatures usually cause system failure and computer crashes. As a result, production was delayed and raw materials were wasted. Therefore, they decided to purchase a new fanless device which has to be operated over a long period of time, especially in higher temperature areas. At the same time, its CPU and memory specifications needed to meet the requirements of the bespoke software.

The Solution:

Due to a trade-off between hardware specifications and cost control, and after our professional assessment, our customer changed their original requirements to accept Advantech’s economic program. Our total solution with a UNO-2173A fanless computer, ADAM-4520 isolated converter and ADAM I/O modules not only completely integrates the data acquisition and control functions, but also supports a wide operating temperature range (-20 ~ 70℃) with high performance.

The UNO-2173A can fully master the on-site operation through the ADAM-4520 to convert RS-232 signals into isolated RS-485 signals; even when the operating temperature exceeds 50 degrees, the CPU can run smoothly. In addition, the ADAM-4520 allows users to easily build an industrial grade and long distance communication system.

As for the ADAM modules (ADAM-4117, ADAM-4018, ADAM-4015, and ADAM-4024), they are connected to the peripheral facilities to acquire the on-site signals and data. The robust ADAM-4117 analog input module is capable of measuring the voltage and current. The ADAM-4018 thermocouple input module and ADAM-4015 thermal resistance module – are in charge of the temperature measurement. In addition, the ADAM-4024 module provides the analog output to control the heater. All of them are designed for reliable operation in harsh environments.


Compared to the previous system, Advantech’s cost-effective and reliable solution not only meets our customer’s needs but also significantly reduces system malfunctions (almost zero failure rate) as well as cutting their purchasing cost by 50%.

Read the full application story:

Monitoring and Controlling Automatic Mixing and Dispensing Machines for Printing and Dyeing