Plate loading automation using robotics

To streamline prepress workflow and boost productivity, the Avalon N36 and N40 VLF platesetters can be automatically loaded by a robotic plate loader. It is custom-built according to a printer’s exact needs and can simultaneously feed two plate production lines with a speed of up to 60 printing plates per hour, independent of plate size. The set-up is especially convenient for printers that need to handle multiple plate sizes (up to five).

The robotic plate loader automates otherwise manual, repetitive tasks such as plate loading cassettes of autoloaders, or fixing pallets on the base frame of skid loaders. It replaces up to two autoloaders and two skid loaders, yet it has a smaller footprint.

For optimal ease of use, the robotic plate loader is fully integrated with Agfa’s Apogee workflow software

The printing plates are stacked emulsion down on a pallet. Sensors detect the stack’s height and position. The front side of the picking arm takes up the plates.

The picking arm turns 180° to pick up the interleaf with its backside.

The interleaves are picked up and disposed flat in a bin.

The plate is delivered to the transfer table…

… from where it moves onto the CtP unit.

The interactive GUI makes it possible to follow up the robot’s movements, and sends out warnings when it is time to restack pallets or empty the interleaf bin.