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Innovative Depalletiser for the automated feeding of signatures in the bookbinding industry.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - D-PAL (Innovative Depalletiser for the automated feeding of signatures in the bookbinding industry.)

Reporting period: 2016-08-01 to 2016-11-30

D-PAL is a high-performance & 100% automated depalletiser for the hardcover book post-printing process which accurately depalletises stacks of signatures of different types, sizes and thicknesses for the automatic feeding of the bookbinding machine. D-PAL is the only machine in the market suitable to be integrated in every process chain with the current methods existing in the book printing industry.
The overall objective of the project is the industrial adaptation and commercialization to bring to the book printing industry market our D-PAL depalletiser by January 2019. D-PAL´s strategic commercialization plan is fully developed in strategic target countries for D-PAL sales after the project´s finalization, with an affordable price of 95.000 € and with the achievement of relevant revenues for LARGOIKO.
D-PAL will save 6,9% of the total printing costs for hardcover books and will increase the depalletising yield up to 367%, avoiding at the same time quality defects associated to manual works. Costs derived from H&S accidents will be reduced up to 30%. Moreover, the depalletising time will be reduced up to 68% and the machine can be amortized in 1,2 years. The expected total revenues for D-PAL project will be 12.276.000 € in the first five years of commercialization in target European countries and USA, with a ROI of 2,7
Currently, D-PAL is a functional prototype demonstrated in relevant environment, thanks to a project supported by Spanish funds for R&D activities (Government of Navarra). During the prototype tests, some specific deficiencies and lacks were identified, especially concerning D-PAL´s large dimensions, which difficult its integration in a post-printing process chain and the necessity of achieving a less complex machine with an optimized production yield. During the Feasibility Study we have identified the most suitable technical solutions to overcome these problems and defined a business plan for the development of key activities during the Phase 2 project in order to achieve the project´s overall goal:
The activities that will be carried out during the project will achieve the following results:
- Full robotization and automation of D-PAL through the integration of an articulated robot, achieving high precision to manipulate stacks of signatures from 65 mm to 215 mm.
- Industrial adaptation of D-PAL manipulator to be integrated into the robot´s grip, with an average production yield of 5.300-7.000 books per hour (250% higher than manual depalletising and 77% higher than the current D-PAL prototype) and a reduction of the depalletising cycle duration up to 68%.
- Reduction of D-PAL dimensions up to 60% from the existing prototype, therefore allowing its physical integration in every post-printing process chain: 3.800 mm. L x 2.100 mm. W x 2.500 mm. H
- Production and assembly of 2 demo units of D-PAL for validation activities: Internal validation of 2 demo units at LARGOIKO´s installations; external validation of the 2nd unit at GraphyCems (subcontractor)
- Creation of an international network of end-users and partners in target areas (EU: Germany, UK, Italy, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium) for the commercialization of D-PAL, with a minimum of 5 end-users and 5 partners involved in the project through pre-commercial agreements per year and per country.
- Dissemination of D-PAL project results in specific media through a dedicated website, the publication of, at least, 2 articles in specialized media and the attendance of, at least, 3 trade fairs.
- Intellectual protection of D-PAL project results through the application of 1 utility model for the manipulator and 1 copyright for the manipulator´s software
- Obtaining of CE marking for D-PAL
- Generation of end-users documentation and procedure manuals in 4 languages: Spanish, English, German and French
D-PAL end-users will be companies belonging to the printing industry which carry out book printing with an associated post-impression stage for hardcover bookbinding. They will have clear benefits from the integration of D-PAL into their industrial processes:
- Increased competitiveness: Saving up to 6,9% of total printing costs
- Increased productivity of the depalletising process: From a yield of 1.500 books per hour (manual depalletising) to 3.600 – 7.000 books per hour (average 250% increased yield)
- Reduced duration of the depalletising process: Up to 68% time saving (depending on the processing capacity of the bookbinding machine)
- Increased quality of the final products: Reduction of errors or quality defects in books associated to manual operation (that have to be rejected or sold at lower cost)
- Increased Health & Safety security: Minimization of Health & Safety risks for workers, with associated cost reduction up to 30%
At a global level, the European printing market, a profitable market with a turnover of €98.245 million, will be clearly reinforced. The European Commission recognises the need for increasing the printing sector production efficiency and flexibility and integrating innovative applications and services to maintain its capacity. Moreover, INTERGRAF (European Federation for print and digital communication) considers that “new technology will help us to stay competitive and to defend our place in the industry”, and appoints the investment on new equipment for more automation in processes as one key short-term strategy. Health & Safety, which is considered as a priority in the European printing industry, will be improved by the use of D-PAL as it will avoid human efforts and repetitive movements.