Data Image boosts throughput with Esko buy

The robotic production system is able to serve two Kongsberg cutting tables simultaneously.

The robotic production system is able to serve two Kongsberg cutting tables simultaneously.

Data Image Group has become the first UK operation to invest in the Kongsberg C automated robotic production system from Esko.

The system, which is set to be installed later this year, will join two existing Kongsberg XP digital cutting tables and enable the company’s finishing operation to keep up and increase throughput.

Data Image Group serves the cosmetics, fashion, retail and automotive industries and has a wide range of digital printing devices as well as the largest installation of digital cutting tables in the UK.

The business said the device, which features multi-zone operation and robotic loading and unloading, would enable it to provide a total service, from design to delivery, and help its customers to address market demands.

“Automation is really important to the future of our business ensuring that cutting keeps pace with our ever accelerating print capability. Being able to automate what has predominantly been a manual process of loading and unloading materials means we can gain better efficiencies out of our cutting operation,” comments Data Image Group director Robert Farfort. 

With a 2.8m reach, the robot is able to handle substrates from multiple pallets, and can also be set up to serve two Kongsberg cutting tables simultaneously. 

While the material in one zone is being processed, the robotic loading and unloading system loads and prepares the other zone for finishing. This reduces operator idle time and enables the machine to operate virtually non-stop.

Intelligent camera technology ensures that the boards are meticulously placed on the table and guarantees 100% accuracy and repeatability.

Fast, accurate cutting

Aiding that automation is Esko’s new Device Manager, which provides the ability to monitor job status in real-time as well as the ability to manage and prioritize queues for all connected devices, including Data Image’s new Kongsberg C table. This moves operational control upstream to the prepress department, enabling smoother integration of digital finishing operations into the overall workflow.

“Device Manager is an excellent management tool that provides us with information on how to do things differently, and it gives us the transparency we need to make the right decisions in real time,” Robert comments. 

Eliminating manual steps, fast table set up, job prioritization and optimized material handling all contribute to reducing lead times, managing short production runs intelligently, cutting material waste and optimizing equipment output.

“I believe Esko’s new automated cutting technology is the beginning of the next-revolution in digital finishing. Having worked with Esko’s solutions for many years, we know the advantages and gains we achieve with them. But we were looking for an even closer integration between our machines and software in order to take automation to the next level. And Esko has delivered that in spades,” Robert concludes.

“Forward-thinking companies like Data Image give us great feedback and insight that helps us continue to innovate and extend our product portfolio,” says Esko director digital finishing Stuart Fox.

“Their insight and guidance, combined with our industry knowledge and expertise, is a winning combination that ensures we bring solutions to market to enable companies to operate ever more efficiently and profitably.”