Executive Forum?Servo-Driven Presses
THE USE OF servo drives in package printing, especially when incorporated into the printing press, is one of several technologies that can significantly improve quality and productivity for package printers. To get a perspective of the impact that servo technology is having, and will have on our industry, packagePRINTING interviewed executives from several press manufacturers that have staked a claim at the forefront of this state-of-the-art technology.
pP: What impact has servo technology had on the package-printing industry?
Mac Rosenbaum, vice president, Aquaflex—The speed and accuracy of servo-driven presses are making it possible to maintain margins while still satisfying customer demand for stabilized or reduced costs. Just as important, servo-based platforms enable greater "hands-off" operations, freeing operators to deal with the exception rather than the rule. In the long term, this means less dependency on craftsmanship and greater productivity per operator.
Rob Schellekens, director of sales and marketing, Drent Goebel—Until the mid-'90s, presses were mainly mechanical machines. With the high inertia in the mechanical components, presses had limits in registration quality, unless very expensive measures were taken. Only CI flexo presses were able to produce films and foils with good registration.
Servo technology, enables press manufacturers to build extremely rigid drives in the press, thus eliminating torque variation in drive shafts and gear trains. With the servo technology of today, station-based press manufacturers can secure the highest registration quality, comparable to gravure and offset.
Jon Guy, president, Gallus Inc.—Servo-drive technology is part of a whole range of improvement technologies that have been adopted in recent years to add value and cut waste and time out of the production process. To single servo drives out alone without the other sister technologies is to lose sight of the synergistic effect we gain from a well-engineered machine system as a whole.
… We do see a ubiquitous use of servo technology in the future that is in line with the overall trend toward digitalization. Presses are becoming more computer controlled and servos certainly enable that process, both within the single machine system and later integration into the business system of the company. … Industrialization of the printing process and servos has continued to remove variability out of the printing process, and also has led to improved profitability through repeatability and savings of time and material.