Magazin | News

Machine demonstrations go digital - Successful pilot test in the printing sector

Live machine demonstrations and trials at the W&H technology center in Lengerich can not take place at the moment. To ensure that W&H customers can still get an impression of a full line, we broadcast our first live machine demonstration. Using an interactive platform, our technical center team was able to answer questions and demonstrate machine features and handling in real time.

W&H has the world's largest technology center for flexible packaging production lines. Under normal circumstances, machine demonstrations and trials are run regularly so that W&H customers can see first hand the performance and quality of a machine under real production conditions. Technical center appointments are very popular and often fill up months in advance. Since the COVID-19 pandemic is preventing customers from visiting Lengerich, we had to find another way to give live demos of our machinery. “That's when broadcasting via internet came to mind,” said Wolfgang Sprehe, Manager Printing Technology Center.

Foundation laid for digital presentations in real time

The pilot test for real-time transmission of machine demonstrations for a customer from the U.S. took place last Friday. Prior to the presentation, the American package printer had, as usual, provided one of its most challenging print designs to the technical center team. The job was then tested on the MIRAFLEX II and NOVOFLEX II flexo printing presses. The machine presentation was accompanied by a small W&H camera team: A tripod camera provided full, high-resolution viewing of the presses, while video of the presenter, machine interface, features, and machine handling were filmed on tablets. Using an interactive collaboration platform allowed the technical team to react to customer requests in real time and, just as during on-site trials, demonstrate sleeve and roll changes as well as printing speeds.

"If our customers can't come to us to run trials, then we'll have to bring our machines to them. And the pilot test was successful - live and in colour - digitally," says Sprehe. "With our machine technology, the foundation to communicate digitally and in real time was already laid: We collect and visualize important machine parameters via our fully-integrated systems, such as the VISION web inspection system and the PROCONTROL user interface. We use the RUBY IoT system to digitize production data."

In the future, additional customer-specific machine demonstrations for printing, extrusion and converting will be offered digitally.

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