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Intelligent integration of register control

BST eltromat International has equipped its proven RHS registration mark sensor with a POWERLINK interface. This makes it substantially easier for OEMs to boost the performance and efficiency of their printing, coating and laminating equipment through integrated register control.

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BST eltromat International developed the ATEX-certified RSH registration mark sensor specifically for block and arrow marks. (Photo: BST eltromat International)

"The option of integrating register control directly into their own machine control solution really strikes a chord with many machine builders," says Volker Reinholdt, product manager for print inspection at BST eltromat International. "B&R is a respected partner for automation in the printing industry. With the combination of B&R controllers and POWERLINK communication featured prominently in many successful printing solutions, there is naturally a great deal of interest in the prospect of integrated register control."

The sensor offers reliable and high-resolution detection of block and arrow registration marks – even with minimal contrast or color differences and on highly reflective materials. It can also handle specialty paints, finishes and transparent substrates without a problem. As a result, it is not only suitable for synchronizing subsequent processing steps in a printing press, but also for use in coating and laminating lines.

Reliable detection

The highly reliable detection offered by eltromat's intelligent sensor is owed to the sophisticated, specially-developed signal processing technology. Light from a white LED is transmitted via fiber optic cable to the substrate bearing the registration marks, which can move past the sensor at a rate of over 1,000 meters per minute. The reflected light is carried by the fiber optics back to the sensor, which then evaluates the red, green and blue components. There is no need for separate lighting. The RSH sensor is not sensitive to web flutter, and thanks to the ATEX-certified fiber optic cable it can also be used in potentially explosive areas.

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The POWERLINK interface and seamless integration in Automation Studio make it easy to integrate register control logic into standard B&R controllers. (Photo: BST eltromat International)

POWERLINK for fast control loops

With its onboard intelligence, the RSH sensor calculates the longitudinal and side register error and sends this information to the controller in hard real-time via the integrated POWERLINK interface. If required, the sensor can link this information with position data from an encoder or drive in order to identify the absolute position of the marks. POWERLINK allows cross-communication with the drives in the network, which makes it possible to create especially fast control loops.

With this approach, the machine controller handles register control as well – eliminating the need for a dedicated controller and making the solution extremely compact, reliable and efficient. Processing stations can be readjusted much more quickly, which helps minimize prepress waste.

"B&R is a respected partner for automation in the printing industry. With the combination of B&R controllers and POWERLINK communication featured prominently in many successful printing solutions, there is naturally a great deal of interest in the prospect of integrated register control."

Volker Reinholdt, Product Manager - Print Inspection, BST eltromat International

Configuration and updates over the network

Integration of the register control technology in the Automation Studio engineering environment streamlines and simplifies the development process. Users enjoy full access to all sensor data, and can integrate the register control solution seamlessly into the user interface. Like all B&R components, the sensor can be configured and new software can be installed via the machine network, the intranet or the Internet – without ever interrupting operation. Since eltromat's sensor doesn't require a manual teach-in step, there are no long delays during product changeover.

This powerful sensor makes it easy for OEMs to implement register control and make their machines even more efficient and productive. In response to the high level of interest, BST eltromat International is working on a POWERLINK version of a camera-based sensor that will open up even more design possibilities for register control solutions.

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