11 September 2019

Transforming the inspection market over 50 years

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Grafikontrol marks 50 years this year, and its sales and marketing director Paolo De Grandis (pictured) talks us through some of the many changes to the inspection sector in that time, and how Grafikontrol has evolved as a company.

Happy birthday! Tell us about your company milestone.
The genesis of Grafikontrol begins with a friendship between two young guys: Antonio De Grandis (my father) and Umberto Filippi with a dream to fulfill.
 
Before starting with Grafikontrol both were working for companies related with the printing industry, the experience gained after several years working around the world made them deciding to start the adventure in 1969. For almost three decades, the company was mainly dedicated to develop and manufacture register controls for any kind of printing press and processes.
 
Through the years Grafikontrol became a benchmark in the industry, especially for the segment of publishing and newspapers, where production speed exceeds 900m/min. In the year 2000 we started developing print inspection systems, at that time the demand for systems to control the quality of printing (or the substrate) was increasing very quickly. That was a smart decision because it allowed the company to become one of the leaders in the worldwide market; today this product represents 90 percent of our turnover. Just consider the fact that every brand new press is equipped with a print inspection system and the trend is leaning to the 100 percent, more than just the area camera.
 
Grafikontrol is present all over the world with a network of agencies and local service offering a complete line of press controls and inspection equipment.
 
How has the industry changed in that time and how has Grafikontrol responded to that?
In the last two decades the demand for quality control for the printing industry has increased considerably, especially for the roll to roll process where the operators are not able to check the product during the production. The perfect example of evolution in controlling the quality is in the fact that, whereas a few years back the quality was judged by the human eye, in the best case through the image displayed by an area camera, today the control is total, by using the 100 percent inspection technology.
 
Grafikontrol was part of the industry change developing a new modular platform of products named TQC-360° (Total Quality Control at 360 degrees), which has been developed to give printers or converters a complete solution for quality assurance.
 
This new technology provides a tireless and accurate real time inspection of the entire substrate (defect detection) and also allows to continuously monitor color consistency, print elongation, bar code readability, register etc.. This translates into a greater involvement of machines instead of man also in the printing industry.
 
What are you showcasing at Labelexpo Europe 2019?
Grafikontrol will present the latest version of 100 percent inspection dedicated to label and narrow web presses. The great innovation is the capability to simultaneously inspect the print and the varnish applied as a layer for finishing. In addition, we will present the Easy-Tracker, the revolutionary system for defect traceability and automatic defect removal. 
 
Have you exhibited at Labelexpo Europe before?
This is our second time at Labelexpo Europe, our systems will be installed in a couple of demo presses running live at the show.
 
What key trends are likely to have an impact on the region in 2019, and how do you think the industry will change in the next few years?
As regards our company, as manufacturer of quality control equipment, we see two main trends that are coming up more and more during discussions with customers, and may change the model of doing business in the printing industry.
 
The first one is the “Industry 4.0” which allows the interconnection of new technologies with the aim of improving working conditions, creating new business models and increasing the productivity and production quality in the industry.
 
The second trend is the transformation of printing methods, from conventional to digital. There is such a great potential with this typology of printing process, we are convinced it will absorb a considerable percentage of what is printed today in the conventional flexo or gravure.
 
What message do you have for visitors to the 40th anniversary edition of Labelexpo Europe 2019?
When deciding on a 100 percent inspection system, don't just focus on the price but on the specifications and system performance. At the Grafikontrol stand we will be more than happy to explain in detail the operation of our systems with respect to the competition.