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New robotic plate loader automates prepress and boost productivity

ECO3, formerly Agfa Offset Solutions, introduces a plate loading robot that streamlines and speeds up printers’ prepress operations, while reducing the overall cost.

The robotic plate loader frees prepress staff from heavy manual, repetitive tasks such as plate loading cassettes of autoloaders, or fixing pallets on the base frame of skid loaders.

Heatset printers usually have multiple presses with different sizes, and therefore multiple CTP lines. Linked to that come so-called COMBO loading configurations, each consisting of a pallet loader and autoloader. The robotic plate loader replaces both configurations, reducing footprint by up to 30%, and making prepress operations more efficient and productive.

Iris Bogunovic, Product Manager Plate & CTP Systems - ECO3

In a first phase, ECO3 offers its plate loading robot to printing companies using its Avalon VLF platesetters. The robot is custom-built according to a printer’s exact needs and can simultaneously feed multiple plate production lines with a picking speed of up to 80 printing plates per hour, independent of plate size. The set-up is especially convenient for printers that need to handle multiple (up to five) plate sizes. For optimal ease of use, the plate loading robot is fully integrated with ECO3’s Apogee workflow software.

Leading Scandinavian printed marketing solutions provider Stibo Complete is an early adopter of ECO3’s robotic plate loader. As the company’s strategy for the future includes a whole range of investments, as well as acquisitions of companies, one of the conditions for its success is the configuration of its print business to handle more output with less resources. The investment in ECO3’s new state-of-the-art plate loading robot supports their journey perfectly.

Automation is important in the strategy of any growing and forward-looking company. ECO3’s robot plate loader gives us a competitive edge as it improves our productivity, reduces costs, minimizes mistakes and optimizes working conditions for our employees. Our plate loading robot saves employees from approximately 230 tonnes of heavy lifting per year.

Svend Erik Grue Nielsen, Operations and Development Manager - Stibo Complete