Innovative camera technology set to revolutionise print process in metal decorating and coating industry

Global metal decorating and coating equipment manufacturer, Crabtree, has launched a new vision system to automate the print fit process and greatly increase accuracy and operational efficiency.

The SpeedFit camera is the initial offering by Crabtree’s new Automated Vision Systems division – which has been set up to provide production-ready initiatives to solve industry challenges and enhance performance for all budgets. The SpeedFit camera is phase one of a development program and Crabtree will be adding more automated solutions to the market in the future.

The SpeedFit system will allow operators to achieve greater accuracy during the print fit process than offered by manual methods – increasing productivity by speeding up the register process. The handheld wireless camera has been designed to specifically reduce make-ready and waste, saving users both time and money. The camera’s PC stores job file parameters, which means that greater speed enhancements can be made as previous settings can be recalled for use.

This new technology has undergone successful factory acceptance testing as part of a recent machine sign off with a US-based client. It has been developed utilising Crabtree’s 50 years plus metal decorating expertise in designing products and services that deliver value and efficiencies.

The SpeedFit system has been developed with guidance from 3T Control, which has expertise in bringing to market automated industrial processes.

Alan Rutter, senior director at Crabtree, commented, “We’re delighted to be bringing this to market which has, as with many of Crabtree’s products, been designed and manufactured with the end user in mind – developed by printers, for printers. As such, it has a user-friendly interface ensuring that ROI can be recognised with minimal training.

“Creating our vision system meant a crossover of knowledge, and a collaboration with a partner as equally as flexible as ourselves. When we look for a preferred supplier, or a joint venture, we look for companies that we can work with, those that demonstrate an equal level of pro-activeness and a pragmatic approach to real-life production requirements.

"We’re delighted to say this worked so well that we now own our very own Automated Vision Systems division that will look at industry demands and develop fit for purpose solutions. 

“The result of our partnership with 3T Control is that we have produced an outstanding offering to the world of vision systems, and I look forward to working with the industry in rolling out this solution.”

John Robson, AV development engineer at Crabtree, added, “Metal decorators worldwide are searching for quality and productivity enhancements in order to print faster and print better whilst still reducing costs. Our mission is to design and deliver premium print process control, utilising the highest quality innovative systems to offer added value and faster ROI.

“To collaborate with experienced automated vision professionals such as 3T Control creates the perfect partnership as Crabtree offers specialist knowledge in the metal decorating and coating industry; together we’ve been able to use our expertise to develop products that meet both our ambitions delivering efficiency to the industry.”

Crabtree has been a designer and manufacturer of metal decorating and coating equipment for more than 50 years and combines this heritage with engineering innovation, specialist servicing, spares supply and consultancy.

Kate Shaw
Article by Kate Shaw
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