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Cognex vision helps align printing plates in Proteck equipment

Proteck printing plate alignment

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Printing plates require precise alignment at various stages throughout the printing process, at micron levels of accuracy. This stringent requirement is further complicated by the fact that printing presses from different manufacturers require different alignment positions, which often means that custom press equipment is required, even when traditional methods are used.

Proteck, a leading manufacturer of printing equipment located at Chennai, India, is able to effectively resolve these issues using Cognex® vision systems and provide reliable and flexible equipment that meets the demanding needs of the printing industry.

Printing Process Requires a Reliable and Flexible Solution

Proteck’s specially designed algorithm uses the position of special marks on each side of the printing plate to determine the amount of translation and rotation that the plate has to undergo to achieve the correct position. Two Cognex In-Sight® Micro cameras detect these marks and send the data to the PLC that controls the machine. The custom machine then directs the actuators to achieve the required plate positions.

While In-Sight 5000 series cameras were used for the initial prototyping and trials, Proteck switched to the newer In-Sight Micro series cameras to take advantage of the compact form factor, which provides a significant advantage given the tight space constraints inside the printing equipment.

Cognex’s patented PatMax® technology and Non-linear Calibration functions achieved the required accuracies with this cost-effective system. Additionally, features of the newer In-Sight Explorer software, such as Composite Region Definitions, help provide the flexibility to handle different positioning requirements for a variety of presses within the same machine.

The VisionView® operator display panel provides a compact and convenient way to view information, such as plate positions, before and after the correction takes place, as well as a view into the operating status of the machine. Using the touch screen functionality of the VisionView terminal, it is possible to enter minor adjustment offsets, which could change when the presses undergo routine maintenance.

With the new system in place, Proteck’s customers have even more confidence in the quality equipment they already provided.

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