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Inca Automates Columbia Production

(October 2005) posted on Fri Oct 21, 2005

Productivity increased to 377 sq ft/hr

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With the launch of a semi-automated loading/
unloading system for its Columbia and
Columbia Turbo printers, Inca reports that it
has increased these printers' productivity
by as much as 377 sq ft/hr. By streamlining
the materials handling for the flatbeds,
the company has maximized the printer's
throughput and reduced changeover time
by a third, from 45 to 50 sec to approximately
10 to 15 sec, it says. The system is
designed to handle materials as small as 1
sq m and up to 1.6 x 3.2 m; it can be used
with material up to 10 mm thick (maximum
sheet weight is 10kg).

"The equipment is designed for use
with a wide range of rigid and flexible materials,
and the modular concept means it
suits different production layouts," says
Bill Baxter, Inca's managing director. "The
system offers a significant reduction in
manual handling, to the extent that customers
with two Columbia Turbos could
feasibly run both with only one operator."

The complete system includes a preload
stack on a manually operated scissor
lift, and a preload table to prepare the
material (removing film, bushing away
dust, etc.). An automatic offload unit
picks up the printed stock and moves it
from the vacuum table to the offload pallet,
while the operator simultaneously
positions a new sheet on the vacuum
table. An electronically powered tug for
easy removal and stacking of printed
matter is also available.

Customers can purchase only the
modules they need; the complete automated
system sells for approx. $150,000