i-Web Puts the Finishing Touches on Modular Web Finishing Systems for Commercial Printing

A wide range of high performance motors are connected to the AX5000 drives, including AM3000 series servo motors from Beckhoff.

i-Web uses various Panel PCs from Beckhoff for visualization, including the pole-mounted CP72xx series and cabinet-mounted CP67xx series.

Michael Murphy, president of Japs-Olson (left) and Bob Williams, president of i-Web.

Japs-Olson runs a streamlined and highly automated production facility that offers inline variable imaging, postal optimization, full service Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb), freight efficiencies and JO Smartmail tracking.

SAVAGE, MN—May 27, 2014—On a typical day when you check your mailbox you’re certain to find any number of direct mail pieces from stores and companies offering products, services and special offers. Granted, electronic forms of communication, whether via e-mail, apps or Websites have developed into other standard methods for these same companies to get the word out. Many studies show that physical direct mail volume continues to increase and remains a preferred method of B2C communication—both for businesses and consumers.

As such, commercial printing and mailing services is still big business. It’s no surprise that with the high volume of material involved, advanced printing and finishing solutions with flexible, high speed automation technology are must-haves. Helping meet the needs for high quality business printing equipment, i-Web is a leading global supplier of web finishing systems with high market share in the graphic arts industry. With over 30 years of experience in the field, areas of expertise at the Avon, MA-based i-Web include: system design, integration, and manufacturing of custom finishing machinery in the United States and internationally. The primary target markets for i-Web include commercial printing applications, direct mail processing, packaging and Web-based digital printing.

Untangling a web of aging servo technology
While i-Web has been quite successful implementing advanced servo drive technology in its finishing systems for much of the company’s history, some limiting factors started to become apparent in 2008. “We learned that the servo system we used at the time was limited in the number of axes we could control individually, plus we had to manage different fieldbus systems for I/O and motion,” Bob Williams, president of i-Web explained. “Since we manufacture very long production lines with many dozens of high precision motion axes, the inefficiencies ultimately became too much to bear.”

i-Web then kick-started a campaign to develop a next generation motion control platform with a heavy emphasis on the networking technology. The first and foremost requirement was to standardize on a one-bus-system that could capably cover motion, I/O and safety—with enough available bandwidth to run all functions at the same time without performance losses.

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