Predictive maintenance for printing presses through digitization

service products, Use Cases

The modern printing industry is facing major challenges. There is ever tougher competition between printing companies worldwide, with increased customer expectations. In general, the highest possible availability of printing presses is particularly important in this industry. Nowadays, no print shop can afford to stop a printer due to a defect or maintenance. Predictive maintenance therefore plays a central role in the digitalization of the service business on the part of the press manufacturer. Basically, maintenance is carried out before the printing presses are defective. Effective predictive maintenance processes reliably prevent downtimes of important equipment.

In general, the relevance of maintenance and services has increased significantly in recent years, and not only in the printing industry. For this reason, the globally active manufacturer of high-quality offset printing presses manroland sheetfed has created an independent business division. This division deals with the important topics of service and predictive maintenance. The Printservices business unit has been actively driving forward and implementing the digitalization of the service business at manroland sheetfed for about 15 years. For this, manroland relies on digital service solutions from software expert symmedia. With the symmedia SP/1 Remote Service and symmedia SP/1 Maintenance software, manroland is now networked with almost 1,700 presses in the field. Thanks to the digitalization of the service business and predictive maintenance, customers benefit from fewer downtimes. In the unlikely event of a malfunction, manroland guarantees record response times of less than 20 minutes.

Offset presses are the most widely used solution in packaging, publishing and commercial printing. As early as 1911, manroland produced its first Roland model press. The traditional company now employs around 800 people at its German headquarters in the city of Offenbach. Every year, the company delivers almost 100 presses. Due to the ever tougher competition in the printing industry, expectations for printing systems have risen rapidly in recent years. Digitizing the service business is therefore extremely important. Possible failures must be minimized by modern processes such as predictive maintenance. State-of-the-art presses must be precise and reliable. In order to ensure this over a longer period of time, the company provides its customers with a comprehensive service program.

Machine Networking
manroland and symmedia have been cooperating for over 15 years. In the course of this long-standing business relationship and manroland's ongoing digitalization of the service business, many important digital service products have been developed around the symmedia SP/1 software. In the beginning, manroland wanted to revise its remote diagnosis. The printing press manufacturer was looking for a reliable partner with whom it could set up a new solution. The aim of the entire project was to create a cockpit that would connect the presses directly with the service organization. In addition, data for fault diagnosis was to be provided fully automatically and deviations and threshold violations were to be reported automatically and at an early stage to the maintenance manager.

As part of the digitization of the service business, manroland started thinking at a very early stage about how a connection to the presses could be used for additional purposes and not just for pure remote troubleshooting. manroland is one of the pioneers in the field of mechanical engineering that has been offering proactive service for many years. Since the presses are often at the heart of the entire printing process, a breakdown is very costly. Modern processes such as predictive maintenance, short response times and intelligent maintenance management reliably ensure maximum press availability.

Based on the symmedia SP/1 software, the two companies jointly designed the TelePresence product. This gives manroland direct remote access to the customer's presses via a secure connection when servicing is required. As part of the digitalization of the service business, the basis for a secure, standardized connection was created. Based on this, manroland has expanded its product portfolio in recent years to include many more digital service products. Today, for example, customers have access to machine-related information in the form of a digital system file. This means that customers do not first have to search through thick manuals for instructions on maintenance and products. 

The symmedia SP/1 Maintenance software includes a digital maintenance manager and is therefore an important part of the TelePresence product. With the maintenance tool, various maintenance concepts and maintenance of all machines and systems can be clearly mapped and documented. Within the framework of predictive maintenance approaches, maintenance is carried out regularly and thus reliably prevents breakdowns. Via the secure interface to the customer, the responsible country organization at manroland immediately receives a notification of impending maintenance. This enables the printing press expert to contact the customer at an early stage and arrange a suitable maintenance appointment together with the customer. Costly production downtimes are a thing of the past.

Around the clock service
All services are organized in the TSC (TeleSupportCenter) as part of the digitization of the service business. Here, experienced service technicians are available to customers at any time of the day or night. The technicians can detect faults in the printing presses remotely and, in most cases, rectify them promptly and remotely. Even in the case of minor malfunctions, print shops can now contact the manufacturer's service department at low cost. This further predictive maintenance measure significantly reduces the susceptibility to more serious malfunctions and only in a few exceptional cases does a complete breakdown occur.

The TSC follows the proven "Follow-the-sun" principle. According to this principle, the manroland experts are not only located in Germany, but also in Malaysia and the USA. Depending on the time at which a service request takes place, the customers end up with the service employee in the appropriate time zone. This ensures round-the-clock service. For customers, it doesn't matter in which country their service request lands. The employees at all 3 locations are excellently trained and TelePresence, a professional and uniform tool for reliable remote diagnosis, is available to them. 

If required, the press operator can trigger a service request directly at the press and thus digitally integrate the manroland service into the service process. With the TSC 24/7 remote service contract, manroland customers also benefit from extremely short response times - even less than 20 minutes. On the locally installed Site Control (an IPC on the press), some additional press condition data is collected and sent to manroland at regular intervals agreed in advance. These are then evaluated as part of a remote check-up and made available for productivity consulting and customer meetings. 

The support acts worldwide uniformly
Every manroland press is delivered together with the TelePresence Service. Customers can extensively test the digital product during the warranty period. Many of them do not want to miss the advantageous service even after this time. As a result, several hundred service contracts are active in Europe alone. Every year, TelePresence triggers around 4,300 service requests. 

Future connection to web shops
In the future, manroland and symmedia will further expand the maintenance manager and the TelePresence Center. Regular performance checks have enabled the service to be continually adapted and improved. Thanks to the digitalization of the service business, manroland customers were able to benefit from ever faster support. In the future, customers will be able to order spare parts directly via the integrated webshop. Within the framework of predictive maintenance approaches, error-prone machine parts can then be replaced immediately or very quickly.

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