Automation Case Study: High speed flexographic printing

Inovance delivers smart automation to SICOSA for fast flexographic printing.

Customer profile

SICOSA is a Spanish company, based in Girona, with 30 years’ experience in the manufacture and sale of flexographic printing machinery and clients in over 30 countries around the world. Founded in 1990, SICOSA produces a wide range of flexographic printing machinery for packaging for an array of industry sectors, with each machine customized to the client’s specific requirements.

The Challenge

Offering state-of-the-art efficiency and a maximum speed of 300 m/min, the company’s 8-color central drum Xtrem flexographic geared printer needed a solution that delivered speed, power and accuracy to its 8 print stations. The company was also looking to introduce smart elements to the product, such as remote monitoring and commissioning, and a state-of-the-art HMI.

The Xtrem has automatic coil change and a printing width of 1000 mm, with a drying system that operates via electric resistance and gas, an automatic ink cleaning system option, and machine control via a 15” touch screen. Each machine can be customized and adapted to cover a wide range of possibilities and suit the specific needs of individual clients, so SICOSA had a series of requirements from its automation systems. The company approached Inovance to work with it and find an industrial automation solution that best delivered the specific benefits it wanted.

The Solution

An array of Inovance products were combined to provide the solution required by SICOSA for the Xtrem flexographic geared printer. These included MD520 high performance universal AC drives with built-in DC reactors, used in conjunction with MD500-ECAT communication cards. This combination delivers unified AC asynchronous and PM synchronous motor control across a wide operating voltage range with all the benefits of fast EtherCAT connectivity.

In addition to the MD520 AC drives, Smart automation was also part of the solution delivered by Inovance, via an IIoT plugin for remote monitoring. The AC703 high performance intelligent controller is utilized for multi-layer networking and, in the case of this project, provides support for EtherCAT remote I/O modules from the flexible Inovance GL10 series, which combine advanced functionality with a compact footprint. 

In order to make the best use of the IIoT automation technology supplied by Inovance, the IT7150 high performance HMI was selected for its smart capabilities, its ability to support VNC remote access through mobile devices, and its Ethernet connectivity.

The solution created by Inovance’s team of expert engineers in collaboration with SICOSA is supported by Inovance’s proprietary software, including  InoDriverShop_MD monitoring software, InoProShop and InoTouchPad, supporting the EtherCAT fieldbus, as well as the Inovance standard library in CodeSys for Control Tension.

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The Benefits

Inovance’s expert team of engineers combined a series of Inovance’s leading products to provide a compact solution to SICOSA that fits into its machines, delivering enhanced reliability through conformal coated PCBs, complies with efficiency level IE2 (as defined in IEC 61800-9-2), and comes with Safe Torque Off (STO). Compact products, easy mounting and fast, as well as remote commissioning, have reduced the customer’s build times and delivered improved accuracy, speed and performance to its flexographic printing machines.

Industrial IoT capabilities and remote monitoring ensure the machine is at the cutting-edge of smart automation, with Inovance technology facilitating fast, accurate, real-time connectivity using the well-established EtherCAT protocol.  

Key Benefits

  • Speed
  • High performance
  • Accuracy
  • Remote monitoring and commissioning
  • Industrial IoT capabilities
  • EtherCAT connectivity
  • Safe Torque Off (STO)

Carlos Lloveras, CEO of SICOSA, says, “I have been very pleasantly surprised with the ease with which SICOSA has programmed this new machine and with the high performance the Inovance products have demonstrated in initial testing.

“The Inovance products recommended to us fit perfectly into our flexographic printing machines and the highly knowledgeable technical staff in the Printing Solution division of Inovance Technology Europe have been great to work with.”

David Bedford Guaus, Spanish Country Leader at Inovance Technology Europe, adds, “We have worked closely with SICOSA’s team to devise the ideal solution for their advanced, high speed flexographic geared printing machine. Inovance technology has improved the commissioning, efficiency and speed of the Xtrem through our IIoT-enabled smart automation products and MD520 high performance universal AC drives, delivering the high performance and compact design SICOSA sought.”

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