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EskoArtwork Kongsberg XP completed with Automation for unattended highest speed digital finishing

EskoArtwork  announces the Kongsberg XP Auto, an extended new version of the XP cutting table. This incorporates automatic loading and unloading to give the highest digital converting capacity available on the market. It is the perfect complement to a wide format digital printer, enabling a full digital production workflow for POP displays and short-run packaging work.

The XP Auto is the successor to the DCM 24 (Digital Converting Machine), which established EskoArtwork and its Kongsberg operation as a leader in fully automatic board handling for digital cutters. The new model is based on the Kongsberg XP, the company’s highest capacity cutting table, designed for high productivity up to 24/7 continuous operation. The configuration can handle a wide range of materials from high-density, rigid sheets requiring a milling tool to flexible materials that can be processed by knife cutting tools. The maximum sheet size for the large format XP44 Auto model is 2310 x 3600 mm.

Full automatic finishing solution

"With the introduction of faster large format digital printers, there is a strong demand for a higher capacity automatic finishing solution for printed packaging and display materials," says Tom Erik Naess, CAM Product Manager at EskoArtwork. "The XP Auto helps to turn short-run packaging and POP work into profitable and value added jobs. Users can now offer their customers on-demand production with just-in time-delivery."

The addition of automatic media handling transforms the XP into a fully automatic finishing system that can run unattended for long periods. Unattended operations are aided by the XP’s automatic tool calibration and a camera system for accurate print-to-cut registration. Exclusive for the XP Auto is the ability to register sheets with the print side facing down, most useful for processing corrugated board. This is achieved by means of a camera, located below the table top level and driven by a separate servo axis, that registers the marks as the board is moved from the in-stack to the cutting area.

"The Kongsberg XP Auto is optimized for packaging and display manufacturers that want to run production series up to about 1000 sheets or stacks of material up to one meter high," explains Naess. "It can run without the continuous supervision of an operator, thus saving considerable costs. Operators can also leave the machine working unattended overnight as a remote alert system automatically sends a message to the operator if operation has stopped."

The system is particularly valuable for producing POP display work and short-run customized packaging, with short turnaround times. Compared with conventional cutting and creasing systems for packaging, this also avoids the lead times and high cost of making cutting dies. A milling capability is optional for materials such as MDF, Forex, Dibond and acrylic panels.

Positive customer feedback

The new Kongsberg XP Auto, including a large format XP44 model, is already operating at SCA Packaging Norway in Sarpsborg, a plant that is part of the Europe-wide packaging production specialist SCA Group. SCA Packaging Norway specializes in short run, on-demand corrugated boxes and in-store POP display boxes for the Norwegian and Swedish markets. In addition to the new XP Auto configuration in operation since April 2010, the company works with two Kongsberg DCM24 cutters for automatic packaging finishing, one Kongsberg CM1320 sample table and a Göpfert Boxmaker.

"We are very pleased with the Kongsberg XP44 Auto,” says Atle Andreassen, Managing Director at SCA Packaging Norway. “The big working area compared to the DCM machines is a big advantage for us. We can produce larger boxes than before. Multiple part jobs, often needed for in-store displays, can now fit into a single sheet which saves time and costs both at the printing and cutting stage. The XP Auto can also cut the protective foam for the inside of the boxes, which we have not been able to do before. Also the increased speed of the XP Auto is a benefit when cutting multiple parts from a sheet."

With a small staff of 13 people, the ability to run unattended is very valuable. "We can leave the XP Auto unattended at night and by raising our stack of material to 100cm, we can produce till 06.00 in the morning instead of 02.00. We even already suggested EskoArtwork to further expand the automatic loading and unloading capability," adds Andreassen. "With the Kongsberg XP Auto, we can make samples for a customer while they wait and deliver the order in two or three days."

The EskoArtwork XP Auto is available to order. First deliveries are scheduled for Q4 2010. Existing XP installations can be upgraded on-site to the new XP Auto configuration.

Editor’s notes

The EskoArtwork Kongsberg cutting tables are digitally controlled finishing systems that use precision driven XY heads with interchangeable tools that can cut, crease or route and mill materials ranging from thin paper or vinyl up to foamboard, corrugated and heavy paperboard. Using digitally controlled heads is an advantage for short run, on-demand work, because there is no need to use a cutting die, which is expensive and time consuming to make.

The Kongsberg cutting tables are available in three series. The XE series is intended for relatively small formats and lightweight materials from papers up to vinyl and thin card, plus blankets for spot varnish work on printing presses.

The XL series are large format production machines featuring high throughput and tooling for a wide range of packaging and sign & display material. They are available in two size ranges, the XL20 models which all have a working width of 1680 mm; and the XL40 models with widths of 2210 mm.

The XP series are the workhorse models, offering market-leading speed and acceleration. The XPs are available in three sizes (1680 x 1430 mm, 1680 x 2210 and 2210 x 3200 mm). Introduced in 2009, the XP series models are intended to work with corrugated board and other rigid materials used for packaging, POP and product displays. They are designed to operate continuously at high speed in a 24/7 production environment. The Auto configuration announced today can be specified on new machines or retrofitted to existing installation.

About EskoArtwork

EskoArtwork is a global supplier and integrator of innovative solutions for packaging, commercial printing, sign and display finishing and professional publishing. Its products and services help customers raise productivity, reduce time-to-market, lower costs and expand business.

EskoArtwork is the worldwide market leader with pre-production and collaboration software for packaging buyers, designers and manufacturers. The CDI flexo computer-to-plate imagers, Kongsberg short-run converting and signage finishing systems complete the portfolio for the packaging, label, signage and display industries.

The company also provides a range of workflow solutions for the commercial printing and publishing market, as well as the Enfocus suite of PDF tools for graphic designers and print production professionals.

EskoArtwork employs around 950 people worldwide. Its global sales and support organization covers Europe, the Americas and the Asia Pacific and is completed by a network of distribution partners in more than 40 countries.

EskoArtwork is headquartered in Gent, Belgium, and has R&D and manufacturing facilities in five European countries, the United States, China and India. The consolidated full year financials ended for 2009 with revenue of EUR 145 million and an EBITDA of EUR 23 million.

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