New flexo printing plate mounter control for J M Heaford

JM Heaford logoDenca Controls customer JM Heaford is a company that shares our own values. The Cheshire-based printing industry manufacturer has clients on six continents and an international reputation for combining top-level performance with a flexible, innovative approach – the same mix of expertise and individually tailored, imaginative solutions on which we pride ourselves at Denca.

New design, no compromise

When JM Heaford recognised the potential for a new automated camera system they approached Denca with the challenge of developing a new control system which delivered Heaford’s renowned quality at an attractive price. The goal was to deliver an updated electrical controls design for a flexo plate mounting machine – used to position the printing plates around the print sleeves or cylinders with micron accuracy – along with the associated software programmes; all of which could be implemented more cost-effectively.

Bespoke programming

The flexo plate mounter ensures the printing plates are correctly aligned before the job is moved on to high-volume, high-speed production presses, utilises cameras and motors all controlled by computer. The bespoke software specifically developed by Denca for this equipment enables the interface between new controls and certain existing components to be managed across a database of more than 100,000 clients jobs which can be created, edited and removed all using the onscreen interface.

The system selects a given plate position and then the cameras, mandrel and camera beam all move to the correct locations, all that is then required is to align the plate register marks using the screen cross hairs. This eliminates several manual processes and significantly increases efficiency. The next plate from the job is selected, a single button selection is required and the cameras, mandrel and camera beam all move to the next plate position.

JM Heaford is renowned for its advanced and user-friendly technology and it was crucial that this was retained for this new model.

Denca developed and electrical input/output system to control stepper motors via a CANOpen interface. This informs the PC control system and then the camera vision system enabling the printing plates to be precisely aligned. This approach delivers core performance and functionality while offering great value.

The bottom line

At the forefront of this project from start to finish was the client’s requirement to create a cost effective control system that enhances the name for high quality and ease of use that JM Heaford has been building for over 30 years. Denca was able to do this by replacing the PLC and SCADA system with one developed around a standard PC. The functionality, performance and reliability were all retained while the cost effectiveness of this  new design machine was enhanced, offering the customer the opportunity to compete in new markets.

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