From Image to Panorama
Variation in web inspection systems lets converters see just what they want to see.
By Susan Friedman
Whether package printers' fiercest print nemesis is skip-out, smudges, streaks, register or color, the web inspection market is teeming with improved approaches to sending defects packing, whether the budget is basic or no-holds-barred.
In the narrow-web market, Brian Tithecott, marketing manager for Focus Automation Systems, reports strong sales to pharmaceutical, health and beauty, and prime label printers with a need for high quality, and in the case of pharmaceutical printers, perfection in each impression.
"Wide-web printers," he notes in comparison, "are looking at inspection to improve yields. The system on-press must quickly identify problems, solve those problems in real time, and mark the suspect material so printers can get on with producing good product."
For return on investment, he sees the wide-web segment looking for lower resolution, higher speed, lower initial cost and easy set-up and use.
Jim Doerr, vice president sales and marketing for TruColor Video Systems, emphasizes despite wide or narrow needs, a system choice will typically still revert back to basic budget constraints. Printers with the funds to purchase multi-million-dollar presses are often more open to higher-end inspection systems, he explains.
Keeping an eye on advances
Bill Blethen, president of Unilux, reports that stroboscopic inspection lighting, which can eliminate visual blur at speeds to 5,000 fpm, continues to evolve. Unilux recently added a series of sensors to trigger its lighting synchronously to repeats.
Converters most commonly using strobe lighting are those running labels at high-speeds with short repeats, Blethen relates. Strobe lighting can also take over after camera-based inspection of print defects to check for diecutting inconsistencies, or variations in the thickness or density of the substrate.
On the video system side, converters will find a nearly blinding array of upgrades. "What was popular two years ago in lower grade inspection systems at low prices is being replaced with the latest technology," says Karen Huber, director, global sales at PC Industries. A sampling