AB Graphic International (ABG) has launched an automated workflow system, ABG Connect, for the labelling industry to increase workflow automation by connecting all stages of the print and finishing process seamlessly as one.
It has been under development for nearly a decade and offers a fully automated print-finishing process, bringing with it a host of commercial and efficient benefits. During its evolution, partnerships with self-adhesive labels convertor Mercian Labels and MIS specialist CERM have resulted in the creation of a cutting-edge, plug-and-play solution that uses the latest industry-standard JDF/JMF messaging format to connect a customer’s management information system to its ABG finishing line.
One of the main advantages of ABG Connect is the dramatic increase in productivity and operator efficiency it can provide. From beta testing results, efficiency savings of up to 75% are now achievable on a single machine, compared to multiple passes on multiple machines from other finishing solutions. With redeveloped software and a brand-new system architecture platform, ABG Connect provides a streamlined, user-friendly approach to maximising production capabilities. Additional benefits include substantial time savings from a fully integrated zero-point inspection system and ABG’s automated camera inspection technology which requires zero operator input during set-up.
ABG Connect also offers a seamless automated job changeover process providing reductions in downtime and human errors and a way to combat the de-skilling of operators in the industry. Waste is reduced from as little as three metres between jobs without any operator intervention while running nonstop.
In practice, the CERM MIS sends a file with the required job information to the ABG Connect software that contains all the required data for the desired finishing, such as die-cutting, slitting, hot foil or varnish embellishments. As a new job is detected via a scanned QR code on the web, the information file is distributed throughout the ABG machine to automatically carry out the setup needed to achieve the desired finishing effects.
When running inline with the market-leading ABG Vectra turret rewinder, job SKUs can be handled with ease. By combining CERM’s AutoPlan technology and ABG Connect’s ability to print roll closure SKU labels, multiple job SKUs can be managed simultaneously whilst automatically entering each roll into stock direct from the end of a finishing machine.
ABG Connect also delivers live production data direct from the finishing machine into an MIS. This allows for accurate reports to be generated directly from the machine, thereby showcasing the high levels of productivity possible.
While CERM MIS has been integral to the development of ABG Connect and CERM is an ABG Premium Integration Partner, ABG Connect can be fully integrated with any MIS system including any home-grown XML-based system, making it the most flexible, adaptable and integrated machine automation product available on the market.
Mark Norman, ABG’s technical director, said: ‘ABG Connect is the pinnacle of development work at the company and we’re proud of the advantages we see this generating for customers. For us, it really is an ‘automated revolution’, and to be leading the way in automated print finishing feels like a natural place for ABG to be.’
ABG is supplied and serviced in Australia and New Zealand by Currie Group