… the Printer department

6:00 a.m.: We start our shift in the printer department. Our first job is to use thinners and hardening agents to prepare the pad printing ink for five machines. The next task is to read the shift log to see if any problems arose the previous day. The team leaders, adjusters and operating personnel then briefly discuss which orders, reconfiguration work and other tasks are on the day’s agenda.
It is finally time to boot up the machines. However, the laser in automatic printer machine III has not started properly. We try to get it going again by turning it off and on several times. Then we realise that one of the robots has lost its positioning data. It has to be reset so it can be restarted.

The team leader sorts the new orders in APplus by urgency and feasibility and orders materials in the warehouse. The orders are later approved in the WSS (Werkstattsteuerung or shop floor control – a module in APplus) and printed as a list. This list helps the member of staff responsible for picking to prepare the required materials such as pads and the supplied materials from the warehouse, such as handles, casing and windows, for the machines.

Our next task is to change the wire coil used in the printer machines to coil the springs. After the coil has been threaded into the spring coiler, the spring force must be checked. We have to perform this check for all machines every shift. We then inspect the testing stations to check whether they are in full working order and change the laser extraction filters.
Over the course of the morning, one of the machines needs to be reconfigured for a different stamp size. This requires us to prepare the necessary tool and various parts needed to set up the machine. It goes without saying that our operating personnel have received thorough training in how to reconfigure our machinery and rectify any errors. The reconfiguration process takes around one hour. Once the machine has been put into operation, some fine-tuning is needed in order to ensure that it can produce the desired quantity.

In the meantime, we need to switch another machine to a new printing run (special printing run for a major customer) and prepare new ink.

Last but not least, the rolls of adhesive tape for sticking the text plates must be changed every shift. One roll is able to produce around 5,000 pieces on the new Printer 30.
Shortly before the end of the shift, the operating personnel report that the robot in the PVA II machine is not assembling the handles properly. The underlying problem is quickly identified and our machine runs like clockwork again. It’s great that our operating personnel are able to resolve less serious faults in the production process so quickly themselves.

Another task is keeping the production line supplied with materials such as handles, casing, die plates, windows and pads. Moreover, as part of our daily operations, we are required to inspect two pieces in every master box we pack.

The staff working in COLOP’s Printer department can feel proud of themselves, as they have produced around 25,000 stamps across five machines during this shift.
The shift is now coming to an end and after the handover meeting – during which we discuss which orders need to be processed, any problems with the machinery and potential areas of improvement – it is time for the staff working the first shift to go home.