Redacción AlabrentConstantia Tobepal Spain, part of Constantia Pharma Division, consists of two production plants, one in Burgos and another in Logroño. The two sites, for a total of 500 employees, are focused on Pharma, HPC, Food and Label flexibles packaging worldwide.
It is well known that the pharmaceutical industry requires a high standards of quality to ensure that the material that will be used to package the drug is free of any type of defect, both structural - on the support itself or defects that could compromise its integrity - and in the graphics for the external appearance of the product and the communication of information to the consumer.
For this reason, packaging manufacturers for the pharmaceutical segment have always had to guarantee rigorous quality control carried out by state-of-the-art equipment and procedures. Constantia Tobepal, a subsidiary of Constantia Flexibles with its two plants in the north of Spain, had to invest in new quality control technologies throughout all material processing processes to ensure the highest standards of quality, food safety, regulatory issues and GMP-related topics. To do so, a partner was needed and found with Grafikontrol, a world leader in the production of high-performance equipment.
Grafikontrol is a company based in Milan Italy that has focused its activity in the study, development and production of systems for the control of the quality during production process for the printing and converting industry since 1969. Application of Grafikontrol systems ranges from printing presses to coaters and laminators, from slitters to doctor rewinders, from metallizers to extruders.
What has made Grafikontrol the protagonist, certainly not secondary, is the innovative modular platform, the TQC360°, developed internally, which offers to the printers a complete solution for the quality assurance.
With TQC360 °, Grafikontrol present itself with the new concept of broad spectrum supplier for printers and converters: high performance products, applications, processes and excellent services, becoming in the eyes of the customer an "all around provider ". The TQC360 ° products have the distinction of high flexibility and adaptable to any printing processes, allowing the customer to start with a configuration and implement it at any time later on.
It was during Drupa 2016, when a group of managers from Constantia Tobepal visited the Grafikontrol booth in search of a "solution" for quality control that not only detected defects in the various stages of production (printing, lamination, coating) but also a safe and reliable method to track, evaluate and remove them in the last phase before shipping the product to the end customer.
And it is here that the group was impressed by the potential of our TQC360 concept which included not only the latest generation of 100% inspection systems but a completely innovative system, still today unique on the market, which allowed them to trace the defects that occurred during the various processing phases and locate them exactly in the roll so that defects could be removed very efficiently and precisely.
With Constantia we have carried out a customized project; says Paolo De Grandis PDG sales director and co-owner of Grafikontrol, supplying for both plants inspection systems and defect tracking systems on printing presses, laminators, extruders and slitters. All systems are networked using the concept of Industry 4.0.
The data collected by all the inspection systems - relating to defects – are all conveyed to a central server (NAS - serving the two plants) which can be accessed from any workstation. Each roll is registered with a univocal identification code and to which corresponds a roll-map that can be edited by the quality control dept and shift managers. Once digitally sanitized, the data of each single reel are stored again to be used by the operators on the slitters. When a roll is brought to the slitter for its processing, the operator downloads the related roll map (an intuitive graphic document on which all detected defects are highlighted) that includes photos, dimensions, shape, and position of all defects. The position information is fundamental and very important as it must be very precise to automatically stop the slitting machine in the exact point relating to the defect to be eliminated. This is where Grafikontrol undertook to create Easy-tracker, a system that was able to precisely synchronize the defect with the meter length of the roll.
EASY-TRACKER is the newest defect coding system for the traceability of the defects during the entire production process (printing, lamination, slitting).
The use of innovative hardware and software, entirely developed by Grafikontrol, allows an accurate removal of defects in the slitting phase.
In the first working process, printing or lamination, a variable code (sync-code) is printed with a high-speed INK-JET marker (up to 550 m/min) at regular intervals on the roll web edge; the sync-code contains the printed roll data: job number, roll number and meter length.
Whenever a defect is detected by the 100% inspection system (PROGREX / LYNEX) its position on the web length is immediately paired with the closest sync-code. At the end of each produced roll the system generates a data-report containing all the detected defects and the associated sync-codes.
The purpose of EASY-TRACKER is to track all the defects detected during the different processes (printing, coating lamination etc.) and save them in a data file.
An editing station allows the quality control to discriminate and filter the different typology of defects according to customers’ requirements (criteria).
After the editing phase, the roll moves to the final machining process where the selected defects will be removed.
With this innovative system, the processing speed and the efficiency of the entire process are increased, thanks to the automatic stops in the slitter the removal of the defects is extremely easy.
"I had been looking for such technology for years and when I saw it I felt in love with it! By including Grafikontrol's TQC360 solution in our lines for both plants, it allowed us to increase efficiency, reduce wasted time and material but above all to ensure that the final product delivered to our customers is free from defects" says Mr. Nicolas Pons (Head of Operations of Constantia Tobepal).
As well as Constantia others “Large international groups have been impressed and excited by the novelty and the performance in inspection and quality control, which have led them to choose Grafikontrol as the preferred vendor", emphasizes Paolo De Grandis, Director and co-owner of Grafikontrol.
Grafikontrol, whose motto is "Inspired by Technology" continues to expand and improve its systems as technology makes available better hardware and more powerful software. New solutions, currently in the industrial test phase in their version at partner customers, will be presented during the most important events on the market.