The Inca Onset X series A new generation for a powerful future Inca Digital announces a new benchmark for throughput, quality, supreme reliability and ‘future-proof’ scalability: The Onset X Series of large-format, flatbed UV inkjet printers, sold globally and exclusively by Fujifilm.
Sheets and boards can be damaged by inappropriate storage and handling. The OH&S implications for workers tasked with manually loading and off-loading them are also significant.
Industrial robotic handling can also solve the problem of heavier, thicker sheet handling. Materials such as ACM, acrylics, wood, MDF and even door panels still have to be loaded and unloaded manually with basic flatbed automation geared to thin sheets, but robot-automation can handle the heavier materials.
It is for these reasons that many of Fujifilm’s Inca Onset installations are with half or three-quarter automation; typically from Hostert or Inca, where sheets are automatically unloaded from the imaging bed and stacked on pallets. But now it can go a whole lot further. Partnering with ABB Robotics, Fujifilm and Inca are able to make high-production wide format an automated, safer and more cost-effective process, enabling previous press operators to focus on more enjoyable and higher-skill tasks.
Of course, with any machinery operation, safety is a primary concern. ABB and Inca have ensured the highest levels of safety guarding that doesn't get in the way of productivity. Measures include load and unload area light curtains, programmable laser scanning system, protective hand guarding and proximity sensors that halt printing should someone stray into the danger zone. ABB has also introduced the YuMi range collaborative or ‘buddy’ robots that are designed to work alongside humans and ensure their safety. Advanced ABB Ability programming means that complex tasks – even solving Rubik’s cube or making sushi – can be keyed into the instructions.
Some critics of robotic automation cite job losses as detrimental to its implementation. It’s more a case of job transfer as the evidence is that other jobs are created in managing the greater productivity. Where manual jobs are genuinely lost, re-training and courses are there to re-skill the employees into more future-proof enterprise. The transport industry is far bigger today that it was in the days of the stagecoach, and employs millions more people.
“Look at the types of jobs that robots are taking over. Many of the roles that are being automated are arduous, repetitive and physically demanding. Is it sensible in this day and age for people to be deployed in such tasks, especially where training or apprenticeship programmes exist that could help them to be put to better use?”
Mike Wilson, sales & marketing executive with ABB Robotics