By: E&P Staff
The Hindu recently completed installation of a Nela plate conveying and handling system in Maraimalai Nagar, Chennai, India, to automate the plate making process.
As part of the installation, an existing offline Vision punch/bender, the H-VCP, was sent back to Germany and updated at Nela’s plant in Lahr. The machine was modified for fully integrated, in-line, automatic conveying and handling. The Hindu’s goal in automation is to have minimal operator intervention in prepress.
Two platesetters release plates to the Nela system, which conveys them to the VCP Vision punch/bender. After plates are precisely registered, they are transported via conveyor directly to a plate stacking area, where they are rotated 180 degrees and automatically transferred to an eight-bin stacking and sorting unit.
A barcode-reader identifies plates in front of the Nela VCP and allocates each to a selected stacking bin. Nela sortation software allows the computer-to-plate operator to configure different stacking set-ups for different daily productions. Plates can be sorted according to edition and printing unit. Stacking modes can easily be changed based on daily requirements.
To ensure register and print quality, the modified VCP is equipped with the Nela fan-out software package, which, after a plate and its dedicated press cylinder position are identified, compensates for fan-out during alignment and registration by using a memorized correction value. Plates that cannot be aligned according to register marks are rejected and stacked in a dedicated bin.
To prepare for further expansion, the Hindu prepared the new plate-making line and building for the addition of a third platesetter and second in-line Nela VCP.