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Keeping the Presses Rolling, IIC Brings Together Digital Printing Leaders with Factory Testbed

By Cynthia S. Artin July 02, 2018

On the heels of announcing a testbed for automotive manufacturing, the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), this week announced a Smart Printing Factory Testbed.

Led by Fujifilm and supported by IIC members Fujitsu, IBM, RTI and Toshiba, the testbed automates print production and predictive maintenance for factory-based printing equipment. These competitors are getting together for a “mind meld” in the new world of collaboration and cooperation – and for good reason.

Like other massive manufacturing industries, the print industry is under pressure to drive more value through customization. Their brand customers are increasingly leveraging digital marketing programs, and packaging and promotional materials must reflect creative campaigns that can be shorter in duration, but more intense in terms of changing content to appeal to consumers in shorter trend cycles.

The printing industry needs to respond but cannot afford to “rip and replace” legacy printing systems with fully automated systems; instead they need to learn how to leverage their existing machines but make them “smarter” with more automation.

 “An open ecosystem is the best way to connect equipment from many manufacturers. An open ecosystem will also allow factory operators to analyze data and integrate new printing developments more easily. We look forward to working with IIC member companies to make improvements on printing industry processes and technologies,” said Fujifilm IIoT Team Leader Izumi Watanabe in the IIC’s news release.

The Smart Printing Factory Platform collects job status, machine condition and production-quality data for factory-based printing equipment using integrated sensors, then delivers optimized production and predictive maintenance plans. Users can monitor and control printing equipment through a secure IT/OT management console. For legacy printing facilities without digital devices, sensors can be attached to send, store and analyze data. 

“The Smart Printing Factory Testbed is a perfect example of an IIoT application that will help improve the efficiency and cost effectiveness of an industrial application through IoT-based automation,” said IIC Executive Director Dr. Richard Soley. "We’re excited that IIC members are working on a cutting-edge problem like smart printing for factories.”

Fujifilm is hosting the Smart Printing Factory Testbed at its site, while supporting IIC members − IBM, Fujitsu, Toshiba and RTI -  provide enabling technologies for data acquisition, management console, production planning, design implementation and security.

IIC testbeds are where the innovation and opportunities of the Industrial Internet – new technologies, new applications, new products, new services, new processes – can be initiated, thought through and rigorously tested to ascertain their usefulness and viability before coming to market.




Edited by Ken Briodagh

Contributing Writer

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