Move Over, Makeready
Quick-change can happen on-line, off-line, or perhaps even somewhere in between.
By Susan Friedman
Clark Kent may have consistently favored an "off-line" retreat into a telephone booth for his legendary Superman "changeover," but quick-change makeready systems for today's presses are a little more fickle.
A supplier's idea of the fastest, most cost-effective job-changeover set-up can range from a completely self-contained system that never leaves the press, to a completely removable system, to one that can move a job off-line, but not away from the immediate printing area. Here's a look at several design rationales.
The inside story
Propheteer's standard approach to quick-changean open print head that does not slide out or leave the pressis about as on-line as one can get. All components are individually quick-change, without tooling, and can be removed by lifting or via swing clamps, explains V.P. Mike Polkinghorne.
For a normal, water-based work environment, Polkinghorne believes the open print head approach is the most effective because room to work is built right into the design.
Comco's ProGlide, a sliding drawer technology first unveiled at CMM '97, was initially introduced as an option, but its popularity has led Comco to make the system standard on all Flexo-pack and Commander press designs, creating a line of presses rechristened ProGlide MSP (Multiple Substrate Printing), reports Marketing Manager Chris Faust.
The system features shuttle deck printing stations which house the ink pan, meter roller, anilox roll, doctor blade, and printing cylinder on linear bearings. One of the keys to ProGlide's appeal is that the stations slide out, but not off, Faust stresses, preventing wear and tear that can result from repeated removal and replacement of the print head. Because a self-contained drawer system harbors little need for extra hardware, it conserves valuable floor space and staff, he adds. To accommodate wider press widths, the system's height has been ergonomically adjusted to eliminate the need for overhead hoists or cranes.