We have been talking about the Big Data, Digital Transformation, Internet of Things (IoT), Industry 4.0 for so many years. In our daily life, it is happening all around us. Just have a look to our cars, TV sets and even refrigerators. More and more intelligent products and services will be launched to the market. But, what does Big Data mean to Label Printing Industry?
What is Big Data? And why is this so important?
Putting it simply, Big Data is a bunch of data and facts that we collect.
Big Data is the key of bringing our business to next level. The base of continuous improvement or “Kaizen” as the Japanese define this so well.
Of course, we need to turn data into meaningful facts by analysing them, so that it brings value to us. With this valuable and reliable information, you can make better decisions and provide more insights to get new ideas. Making decisions based on data is easier said than done. Not everyone is used to this. Some of us are quick in saying, “I know my stuff. I have been in this industry for many years”. Often though, the reports based on facts show a different picture than what is in the mind of some people. Using data must become part of the company culture. It often required a mindset change.
What about Big Data in the Label Printing industry?
The printing industry in general is called an art – Graphic Arts. Especially in the past for example colours were estimated. Not measured. Much has changed over the years. Digital workflows with quality monitoring processes and MIS systems have given us a lot of consistency in quality and increased productivity over the years tremendously. One black box remains though. We do rarely collect data from the actual printing press. We let the operators fill in the events and functions. So, important criteria such as accurate speed over time, web tension of the infeed and outfeed, exact set up times, waste, function keys pressed – like the registration function – are not clearly known.
Input by the operators are not only prone to human errors, it limits the number of data points. This means that we do not clearly know what is happening with press during the day or week. We cannot clearly benchmark jobs run by different operators with different skill levels or jobs run on different presses. This makes continuous improvement processes more difficult to implement as you are not using facts based on real-time data.
Sensor Technology and Intelligent Label Printing Machines
Sensor technology combined with the internet (IoT) makes real-time data collection possible in the latest generation of MPS label printing presses.
Sensors inside the MPS label presses collect the data of hundreds of events in less than a second. Software converts this data in to an array of reports and charts. Suddenly, the press operation becomes transparent. The press is mirrored. The digital twin of the press is born.
The reports show abnormalities, best practices, worst practices. So, continuous improvement can now be based on real, unbiased facts and benchmarking.
The time and material savings that can be achieved could literally save hundreds of thousand dollars per year for label printing companies.
The next step – Mindset change
Having data and reports alone is not enough. Data gives knowledge and understanding. It does not necessarily lead to action. The drive to make improvements is something that needs to be fostered within the company.
To ensure a more competitive position in the market, it is critical for your business to understand and accept that connectivity, IoT and Big Data is already available in today’s intelligent label printing presses. The use of data to increase the understanding of your label print operation will grow more and more. This is not a trend that will pass.
Investments should be made into this direction. Step-by-step. The first step should be the one step to stay ahead. Start small, but…start now!
So, are you ready?
Intelligent Label Presses and Performance Programs by MPS Systems
Besides having a range of intelligent presses, MPS Systems also offers support from its expert panels that interpret the collected data in the performance reports, benchmarking and giving recommendations for improvements.
Performance programs are available to support your business to take productivity to the next level.
Would you like to know more about MPS and how we can bring your business to the next level of productivity? Please don’t hesitate to contact our partner for Australia and New Zealand, Nekkorb Solutions.
Frank Brokken (mob: +64 277138987), Roy Day (mob: +64 212346124), Harry Brokken (mob: +61 466565322) who are.
Zee Cheng Tham