A well-suited web inspection system can open the door to increased production and profitability for printers.
IN THE LAST 10 years, web inspection systems have come a long way. They have developed into automated machines with the ability for literal 100 percent web inspection, rendering the need for manual inspection nearly obsolete.
However, the highest quality inspection systems aren't necessary for every converter, and with so many options and confusing characterizations of the newest technology, knowing what system to choose can be difficult.
What to look for
There are three basic requirements a web inspection system should include, said John Woolley, vice president of sales and marketing at PC Industries (Gurnee, Ill.): high-resolution digital cameras, high-speed computer processing, and automatic print defect detection. High-resolution digital cameras produce better image detail and clarity, and faster computers are necessary for 100 percent web inspection, Woolley explained. Automated defect detection capabilities automatically alert the operator to changes in print quality.
It's important, however, that the defect detection technology not overreact to flaws in the print job, said Nat Stern, CEO of Eltromat Electronics Inc. (Chesapeake,Va.). "The [imaging technology] must react similar to an operator. Certain technical defects are not considered a defect by an operator and are called false alarms," Stern explained. "The more sensitive a system, the more the chance for false alarms."
Buyers should also look for computerized customer interfaces, said Wayne Storts, CEO of Summit Engineering (Keysville, Va.). Computerized interfaces give printers the ability to view and archive data by rolls produced, and they create an easy method for customers to setup defects by categories, Storts said.
Quality web inspection systems come with many benefits. They minimize or eliminate return products from customers, increase line speeds, reduce operator work loads, and produce a consistent product, explained Warren Friedersdorf, sales manager of TEKMATEX, Inc.'s (Charlotte, N.C.) Converting Machinery Group.