Agfa reckons its new plate loading robot could save employees from 230 tonnes of heavy lifting a year.
The system already in use by Scandinavian printed marketing solutions provider Stibo Complete, is claimed to streamline and speed up prepress operations while reducing the overall cost, with heatset operations a specific focus.
"Heatset printers usually have multiple presses with different sizes, and therefore multiple CTP lines," says plate and CTP systems product manager Iris Bogunovic.
"Linked to that come so-called combo loading configurations, each consisting of a pallet loader and autoloader. The robotic plate loader replaces both configurations, reducing footprint by up to 30 per cent.
In a first phase, the custom-built robot is being offered to companies using its Avalon VLF platesetters. It can simultaneously feed multiple plate production lines with a picking speed of up to 80 printing plates per hour, independent of plate size. The set-up is especially convenient for printers that need to handle multiple (up to five) plate sizes.
At Stibo Complete, operations and development manager Svend Erik Grue Nielsen says the robot improves productivity, reduces costs, minimises mistakes and optimises working conditions. "Our plate loading robot saves employees from approximately 230 tonnes of heavy lifting per year."
• Agfa has also announced a new pre-heat offset printing plate, Energy Verve for which run lengths up to one million copies without baking is claimed. The negative-working, photopolymer offset plate is targeted at heatset and coldset web, as well as packaging and commercial sheetfed.