Machine intelligence helps alleviate labor challenges.

One of the most pressing challenges for many of our users is the shortage of qualified operators and supporting staff. High performance machines are designed to produce around the clock and require trained and dependable staff not only for operation, but also for making sure that material flows effectively and properly into and out of the production system.

Historically, printers relied on experienced and reliable staff to correctly load signatures, check for quality during production and make sure that the equipment delivers perfect product. In today’s environment, experienced and reliable staff is very much in short supply. Temporary labor is challenged to meet those high expectations and often fails to deliver the necessary standard of accuracy and reliability. This is a trend that we find in many industrialized countries, driven by a variety of market forces as well as demographic change, with no reason to expect improvement anytime soon.

Modern production equipment assumes a much higher degree of responsibility for quality control, providing a powerful tool to help address labor shortages. Automation and machine intelligence open up a much larger pool of potential operators, as well as helpers. The machines are not only easier to operate, using the latest operator guidance and highest level of set-up automation, but they take over monitoring many aspects of quality control, also allowing less experienced staff to be successful very quickly.

For instance, the latest Primera MC saddle stitching systems equipped with Motion Control and ASIR3/ASIRCode signature recognition systems will not allow a job to run if signatures have been loaded incorrectly. AsirCode is a Muller Martini barcode that automatically embeds all relevant job information, derived from a factory engineered link with all major prepress impositioning software packages. Without any operator intervention, the system not only monitors every single signature and cover entering the machine, but even detects operator errors during set-up.

Advanced stitch and trim quality monitors ensure that only books with perfect wire stitches and consistent trim formats leave the machine for delivery to customers. Faulty products are automatically rejected. These are just a few examples of how modern equipment allows operators to concentrate on high performance. Automatic quality control provides the confidence to increase production speeds and creates a less stressful work environment.

In many cases, providing staff with a modern production system, designed for today’s production requirements, has allowed companies to retain and attract personnel.

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