Quality control with innovative inspection and web monitoring systems from BST

Schattdecor, a family-owned international manufacturer of surface decors, has responded to the increased quality demands of global markets by upgrading its printing machines with latest-generation BST inspection and web monitoring systems.
A pilot system tailored to the conditions of gravure printing proved so successful that the company decided to acquire 12 iPQ-Check inspection systems and 12 iPQ-View web monitoring systems from BST. Eight of each of these systems have been integrated at locations in Germany.
Schattdecor, based in the town of Thansau in Bavaria, is a leader in the global market for decor printing, and its modern surface decors have become quite popular. These surfaces, which are produced with gravure-rotary and digital printing techniques, are used on furniture and for laminate floors. Increasingly, they are also playing an important role in travel trailer interiors and in public spaces. Visually, the decors appear identical to natural materials such as wood or stone. Customers around the world are impressed by the authentic feel, brilliant colors and designs of the company’s latest developments, which are based on textiles, sand, concrete and pure fantasy decors.
Gravure printing, especially – a high-speed print method for premium products like decorative papers and films – requires maximum precision and continuous, comprehensive quality control. At the same time, the costs for material and energy must be kept low, and material waste must be avoided as much as possible. The aim, in other words, is to achieve nothing less than the perfect print result, to make printing processes as profitable as they can be and every customer one hundred percent satisfied.
The challenge of gravure printing
Schattdecor has been working successfully with BST for many years. Recently, in response to increased demands in gravure printing, the company began looking for a solution that can be used to show decors at full width and with a particularly high accuracy on screen. In decor printing, in particular, correctly identifying printing errors or substrate defects early on is a major challenge, because they can be difficult to differentiate against the background of grained wood patterns or lively fantasy designs. “In the past, the printing press had to be stopped to take a sheet from the role and check it. With the new BST systems, this step can often be avoided. And if it is needed at some point after all, the response times are much shorter. That makes quality control easier for the machine operators and saves material,” explains Josef Maximilian Hintler, a project engineer at Schattdecor.
Faster than the human eye
Anomalies in the decor are automatically reported by the BST system iPQ-Check and displayed at high resolution by iPQ-View. Thanks to the good resolution of the cameras, they can be inspected without interrupting the printing process. The systems are many times faster than the human eye. They are completely reliable in identifying both recurring defects and one-time errors and allow an immediate evaluation during the ongoing production process. In the interest of boosting efficiency, operators can often refrain from performing subsequent quality checks on rewinders or stopping a production process. They are also supported in their quality control efforts by a complete log of events that have occurred during printing.
iPQ-Check and iPQ-View are the base modules of the versatile iPQ-Center. Various additional features are available as options, such as extra cameras and displays, or special illumination modes.
iPQ-Check: one hundred percent print inspection at full production speed
iPQ-Check is an innovative 100% print image inspection system for quality assurance that enables inspection across the entire print area and can be fully integrated into the digital workflow. In conjunction with LED lighting, three high-resolution line scan cameras identify defects in real time and provide high-definition color image data at machine speeds of up to 1,000 m/min and web widths up to 2,800 mm. A machine can be equipped with up to four cameras. The iPQ-Check system quickly and reliably detects defects like fogging or streaking even on decors with rich and lively patterns. This allows the operators to intervene right away in order to correct the problem – preventing wasted material and additional costs. Furthermore, iPQ-Check is also suitable for highly reflective materials, holograms and transparent materials as well as those that are highly flexible.
The intuitive operating concept minimizes response times and allows the operator to give more attention to other work. Christoph Kalb, a project manager at BST, cites further benefits: “iPQ-Check is the ideal solution for first-class print inspection. The system not only supplies reliable results but is also fun to use. And more iPQ products can be integrated into the user interface at any time.”


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