An innovative operating concept with gesture control, new, Internet-based communication and networking capabilities, plus an expanded range of functions for special customer requirements – those are the key highlights of Xtend3, the latest generation of the Xtend controller series from Baumer hhs, in common use in the marketplace. Taking applications from folding-carton production and print converting as examples on its exhibition stand at drupa 2016 (Hall 13/Stand C16), the Krefeld-based specialist for gluing systems and the associated quality assurance systems is demonstrating the convenient operation and high performance of its new Xtend³ controller series, which is probably unique on this market at the moment.
“The new controllers for our gluing and quality assurance systems are the logical further development of our globally successful Xtend² series. Xtend³ covers the latest industrial requirements and is additionally open to future developments. Both packaging producers and print providers must cover an increasingly wide range of products and be able to efficiently produce ever-smaller batches – which means they are placing totally new demands on their production systems. We specifically geared the development of our Xtend³ series to these higher demands,” says Detlef Engling, Managing Director of Baumer hhs, positioning his company’s latest development in the marketplace.
For example, he says the extremely convenient operation of the new Xtend³ series and its excellent flexibility guarantee the very short setup times that have long since become a key parameter of profitability, especially when producing small batches. At the same time, the latest Internet-based communication technology permits an information flow between the controllers, the production systems and the staff responsible for their functioning, such as was previously unknown in gluing systems. This caters to the trend towards increasing networking within production processes.
“With the progressive gesture control or multi-touch technology of our Xtend³ controllers, we are making it possible to use the operating philosophy familiar from smartphones and tablets for applications in the packaging, printing and paper markets in what is probably a unique way. When developing these controllers with their generously dimensioned 21.5″ Full HD monitor, we pursued the aim of also making them attractive for younger machine operators, in particular, but while remaining true to our time-proven operating structure at the same time,” explains Ralf Scharf, specialist for the folding-carton market at Baumer hhs. The result is that, with Xtend³, the operators have the choice between intuitive operation via keys, to which they are accustomed, and innovative swipe technology, where the individual pages of the menu prompts are no longer arranged consecutively, but side-by-side. In addition, Baumer hhs has included wizards and videos in the user interface to provide easy-to-understand explanations of various operating steps, such as the setting of adhesive application heads. Despite these expanded capabilities, the design of the new pages is somewhat simpler and even more structured, further simplifying operation of the controllers. The same applies to the language settings, which can now be made directly on the main page.
Finally, the new Xtend³ series proves to be decidedly communicative. “More than ever, efficient production processes presuppose an end-to-end information flow, and will in future doubtless have to meet even more extensive requirements in this respect. This aspect was one of the focuses when developing Xtend³”, emphasises Markus Bohnenkamp, printing industry specialist at Baumer hhs. For example, the company’s new controllers offer not only statistics for evaluating jobs in conjunction with defect analyses, but also OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) analyses. The evaluations, analyses and data delivered by the system can be sent in real time to smartphones or other mobile terminals, for example. Specifically for this purpose, Baumer hhs has developed an app that, among other things, allows plant and production managers to remotely access their Baumer hhs equipment from wherever they like. Flexibly personalised access authorisations can be defined in this context, thanks to comprehensive, easy-to-use log functions, including the possibility of assigning user IDs and passwords.
But that’s not all: as regards networking, Xtend³ even goes a step further. This applies to the new DPP-8 delivery pump, for example, which Baumer hhs is likewise presenting at drupa. The electronic control system of this double-piston pump automatically shows the operators its operating statuses via an integrated display and reports them to the controller. Performance data, such as operating periods, are likewise automatically recorded, evaluated and reported to the controller. In turn, the P-500i version of the high-performance P-500 adhesive application head from Baumer hhs is automatically detected by the controllers of the Xtend³ series. The application head parameters stored in the controller are then set automatically. The situation is similar with the new Xcam MF1 STA camera-based inspection system, which is used in the production of packaging and print products, for example, and can assume a very wide range of different control tasks – and even several at once. In short: With Xtend³, the controllers communicate with higher- and lower-ranking systems like never before.
Says Engling: “Our controllers largely decide the extent to which our customers can fully exploit the potential performance of our gluing and quality assurance systems in their daily production operations. Accordingly, we attached particular strategic importance to the development of the new Xtend³ series from the outset and cooperated very closely with our customers in the process. We’re very optimistic that the innovative technical concept of the latest generation of our controllers will enable us not only to maintain our leading position on the market for gluing and quality assurance systems, but even to expand it.”