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H2020

D-PAL Report Summary

Project ID: 767170

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

Reporting period: 2017-07-01 to 2018-01-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

D-PAL is a high-performance and 100% automated depalletiser for the hardcover book post-printing process which accurately depalletizes 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 D-PAL to the book printing industry market by January 2019. D-PAL commercialization plan is fully developed in strategic target countries for D-PAL sales after the project finalisation, with an affordable price of 95.000 € and with the achievement of relevant revenues for LARGOIKO, with an expected ROI of 2,7.
D-PAL will save 6,9% of the total printing costs for hardcover books and will increase the depalletizing yield up to 367%, avoiding at the same time quality defects associated to manual works. Costs derived from health and safety accidents will be reduced up to 30%. Moreover, the depalletizing time will be reduced up to 68% and the machine can be amortized in 1,2 years.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The first D-PAL functional prototype was demonstrated thanks to a project supported by Spanish funds for R&D activities (Government of Navarra). During the prototype tests, some specific deficiencies were identified, especially concerning D-PAL 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 the most suitable technical solutions to overcome these problems were identified and a business plan was defined.
During the first period of Phase 2 project the industrial adaptation for D-PAL has been performed to manufacture the two demo-units accordingly, implementing the improvements detected in the design stage. The first demo-unit has been fully developed and the second demo-unit is being finalised.
Through D-PAL robotization the following results have been achieved:
- Robotization and automation of D-PAL through the integration of the articulated robot. The depalletizing process has been simplified, consolidating different functions in a single element: less complex machine, simplified stages, reduced mechanical and electrical elements and increased in-line production.
- The manipulator has been re-designed obtaining an optimum precision and sensitivity of movements with an increased versatility, including more programming options such as regulation of the operating speed and the selection of different options for stacks formats size and height.
- Reduction of potential failures and maintenance periods and elimination of vibration problems.
- Reduction of the machine’s dimensions up to 60 % compared to the original prototype.
- Design and manufacture of two demo-units for validation activities. Design of the optimum process for D-PAL pilot manufacturing and the most appropriate validation and certification processes for D-PAL demo units.
- First commercial activities for the creation of networks of end-users and partners, mainly implemented in Spain during the first period of the project, developing the international action during the second period.
- Preliminary dissemination activities though a dedicated website and direct communication to potential clients.
The actual results after the D-PAL industrial adaptation have accomplished the expected goals for the redesigned depalletiser, which is ready for the validation process that will be developed during the second period of the project.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

D-PAL aims to solve one of the key problems of the book printing industry and the post-impression process, where the hardcover bookbinding is developed. Currently, the depalletization of stacks of signatures to feed the bookbinding machine must be done manually, resulting in a more expensive, time-consuming, unsafe and inefficient process.
D-PAL has developed a fully automatized innovative solution to accurately depalletize stacks of signatures of different types, sizes and thicknesses. It will result in a more cost-effective process by increasing efficiency and productivity, reducing costs and increasing competitiveness, reducing errors and increasing quality of final products and reducing health and safety issues.
During the first period of the project the technical challenges identified within the preliminary prototype have been overcome, particularly by automatizing D-PAL using an articulated robotic device to integrate the intelligent manipulator. Additionally, the productivity yield has been improved and the machine dimensions have been reduced to be easily integrated into the post-printing process.
Such innovations have allowed a definitive improvement of D-PAL, turning it into a totally automated cutting-edge machine that guarantees an optimum technological performance of the depalletizing process. Furthermore, D-PAL is the only machine in the market suitable to be integrated in every process chain with the current existing methods in the book printing industry.
During the second period of the project, the positive results obtained so far are expected to be successfully validated and it will contribute to a greater deployment of Largoiko’s commercial strategy.
The European Commission and INTERGRAF (European Federation for print and digital communication) consider that new technologies will help to increase competitiveness of the European printing industry, a profitable market with a turnover of €98.245 million, and that investments on new equipment for processes automation is a key short-term strategy. In this regard, D-PAL results are expected to contribute to improve the European printing market, which be clearly reinforced thanks to more automation, higher efficiency and increased safety.

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