FAMM 3.0: The World’s Most Advanced Flexo Plate Mounting Machine
As the world progresses and technology develops rapidly the printing quality standards keep rising. As a result, the significance of the flexo market increases each day within the printing industry. To keep up with the dynamic changes, we at AV Flexologic continuously innovate. We do so by ensuring that our mounting machines are of top quality in the industry, therefore setting our standards much higher than the competition. An ideal example of such an innovation is the Fully Automatic FAMM 3.0.
Introduction to the FAMM 3.0
The FAMM 3.0, which is available in ≤ 1300, 1700 and 2500mm (52”, 67” and 98”) is AV Flexologic’s most recent and advanced mounting machine in the wide web industry. As the name implies, the advantage of the FAMM 3.0 is that it is fully automatic, and therefore, does not require any operator interaction. Not only does it have unique features which give it a competitive edge, but it has also been completely redesigned in the past 2 years and is implemented with upgraded features.
Why invest in the FAMM 3.0?
This next-generation FAMM is the epitome of speed, repeatability and accuracy. Here’s why:
It positions and mounts the plates one after another with a positioning accuracy of 2 microns. Including quality checks, the FAMM 3.0 can mount a plate in just 30 seconds. Therefore, its average maximum capacity is ±1000 sleeves per day.
Being fully automatic, it does not require operator interaction. Since it requires less manpower it reduces labour costs.
It triples mounting capacity, therefore creating room for growth.
The fully automatic mounting machine eliminates press downtime due to mounting mistakes.
Amcor has been working with AV Flexologics for over 15 years. The machines are placed all over the world in their different offices. “In 2011 I travelled to Cumbria to see the FAMM in action at the SGS plant that serviced Amcor in the region. I was instantly intrigued by the simplicity and incredibly efficient output of the FAMM. I then travelled to Hollan and viewed two FAMMs in operation at Elopak, again incredible output.” – Amcor
Objectives achieved in each stage of FAMM 3.0‘s workflow
The FAMM 3.0 consists of various features that give it a huge competitive advantage. Below we explain how its key features help fulfil the flexo industry’s major objectives through its workflow.
Objective: With the desire to reduce the operator interaction with the mounter, we have installed a split conveyor belt in the FAMM 3.0. The conveyor belt possesses a backlight and laser line which allows plates to be aligned conveniently. Identifying the plate’s ID using a QR code is an optional feature through a third camera.
Step 1: The operator has to simply place the plate on the conveyor belt. The conveyor belt transfers the plates to the point where the pick-up unit is located.
Objective: Usually, an operator needs to position the plate manually. Positioning the plate demands time and the accuracy is questionable. The FAMM 3.0 is equipped with a robotic manipulator that offers fully automatic positioning.
Step 2: The robotic manipulator, which moves in a linear direction, picks up the plate from the conveyor belt and transfers it to the mounting position at high speed, using a vacuum.
Objective: Accuracy and precision are the most important factor in the mounting process. The smallest miscalculation could lead to undesirable outcomes, creating a domino effect. As a result, the time, money and effort invested into the entire printing process could go to waste. We have therefore made this our top priority when designing this FAMM 3.0.
Step 3: The HD cameras on linear motors, Image Recognition software, and the robotic table position the plate with an accuracy of 2 microns, therefore assuring precision.
Objective: Aside from precision and accuracy, air entrapment is another important factor to consider in the mounting process. Trapped air within the flexo plate can cause ait bubbles and will result in bad printing results or press downtime. To avoid this, two pressure rollers are added to the FAMM 3.0. The reason behind adding an extra pressure roller is to double the mounting speed.
Step 4: The pressure rollers mount the plate onto the sleeve. First, the upper-pressure roller mounts half of the plate. Then, the motorized mandrel moves downwards automatically, allowing the lower pressure roller to mount the other half of the plate.
A comparison between the FAMM 3.0 and its competitors
The fully automatic mounting machine is far superior to its competitors. Here’s how.
Elopak supplies over 800 markets and they are currently using 3 FAMMs in their plant in the Netherlands. They only use one operator for the 3 machines per shift. Reinard Dreesman, plant manager at Elopak says: “Since the installation, output and quality are as expected. We mount approximately 1000 sleeves per week and mounting is considered an important part of the printing job. In the past, misregistration often caused press downtime. Now our mounting results and consistent and precise.” – Elopak
Achieving complete automation from start to finish
To begin the mounting process, an operator is normally required to apply tape and load the sleeve onto the machine. Similarly, an operator is required to also remove the sleeve from the machine. This begs the question, can the entire mounting process (tape application, loading and unloading the sleeve, plate placement) be automated? Yes, it can. AV Flexologic invented a robotic system that handles the sleeves (RoboSLEEVE), applies tape onto the sleeves (RoboTAPE), loads the plates (RoboPLATE) and mounts them onto the sleeves (FAMM 3.0) fully automatically and without operator interaction.
What happens inside the RoboCELL?
The RoboCELL is currently the most advanced level of automation in the flexo industry. The following steps summarise the workflow of the RoboCELL:
- The workflow begins with the operator placing the Tech Cart inside the RoboCELL and selecting a job from the HMI console.
- From there, the robot will take over by handling the first sleeve (RoboSLEEVE) and applying tape around it automatically (RoboTAPE).
- Next, the robot will load the taped sleeve onto the fully automatic FAMM 3.0.
- The RoboPLATE (plate loader) contains the required plates for this specific job and has a 50-plate capacity. The second robotic unit will pick up the plates and place them on the FAMM 3.0’s split conveyor belt.
- The robotic manipulator of the FAMM 3.0 will then pick up and transfer the plate to the mounting position, as explained earlier.
- When the mounting process is completed the robot will unload the mounted sleeve and place it back on the Tech Cart. While the FAMM 3.0 is mounting the first sleeve, the RoboTAPE is taping the next one.
- The entire process is repeated until all the sleeves for the selected job are mounted. As for the total duration of this process, the sleeves of a 10-colour job, for example, can be taped and mounted in less than 25 minutes!
The FAMM 3.0 is part of the RoboCELL and provides the complete robotization of the pre-press department. However, you can install only the RoboSLEEVE for handling heavy sleeves and bridges, or the RoboTAPE for applying tape fully automatically. For more information about the different configurations of these systems, contact our Sales Representatives and get your customized offer.
You can find the contact information below.
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