German Printing Industry Innovation Award Goes to manroland

By: E&P Staff

Press release from the issuing company

manroland had cause to celebrate at the gala Printstars that accompanied the German Printing Industry Innovation Awards held in Stuttgart on 18 November: AutomaticPlateLoading (APL) took first prize in the category Print Technology. APL is manroland’s groundbreaking system that dramatically reduces plate changing time.

A significant trend in the newspaper industry is split runs, which makes fast plate changing ever more important. This is why manroland developed the fully-automated APL system that reduces the time needed for changing all plates in a newspaper press to an absolute minimum. To achieve this, manroland was the first to introduce industrial robots for print production. The APL system uses a 4-axis robotic arm built by the KUKA Robot Group, which has a positioning accuracy of 0.01 millimeters. Just as innovative as the product is the history behind it. The robot was co-developed by the KUKA Robot Group and integrated by manroland in the APL system. APL quickly proved itself in practical use with numerous newspaper presses: more than a dozen autoprint newspaper presses with well over 150 APL robots have already been ordered. The development did not end there: the first fully-automated plate transport logistics systems, APL logistics, are being used in day to day production.

The highlights in brief

– Minimized plate changing time for the entire newspaper press
– Simultaneous changing in all printing units, a decentralized solution
– No manual intervention needed during plate changing
– Normal accessibility to the press for all operating and maintenance functions
– Semi-automatic backup function and error-free plate assignment

Meeting printing companies’ requirements

The Innovation Award in the category Print Technology is a classic Readers’ Choice, which is especially pleasing to manroland CEO Gerd Finkbeiner: “We oriented our features totally on market and customer needs. Receiving this award from industry specialists shows that our products meet printing companies’ requirements exactly.”


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