REMOTE DIAGNOSTICS — STAYING CONNECTED
Brad Baird, lead press operator at Litho Technical Services in Bloomington, MN, was in a tight spot. The six-color, 40˝ Heidelberg Speedmaster 102 with aqueous coater he works on was down, and there was no easily recognizable cause to be found. Fortunately for Baird, the press came equipped with remote diagnostic capabilities.
“The press would not run,” Baird recalls. “We got online remotely with Heidelberg’s service center in Atlanta and they determined that the side-guide sheet detector control was not working properly.”
The manufacturer’s technician was able to shut off the detector remotely—something Baird admits he didn’t know how to do.
Getting a Helping Hand
“It was kind of cool sitting there watching the technician go through all of the screens as he figured it out,” Baird notes. “It saved us a lot of time. He looked at the press remotely, knew to turn it (the sheet detector) off and came to a solution.”
This is a typical story in today’s graphic arts world. Instead of a printer grabbing a wrench and looking under the hood, so to speak, he or she is more likely to have the manufacturer dial directly into the offending piece of equipment when encountering a problem.
“Remote diagnostics ensure that printers have access to the expertise necessary to maintain and troubleshoot modern equipment,” says Dennis Mason, principal of Mason Consulting in Western Springs, IL. “Printing equipment today is a complex mix of computers and mechanical devices. This blending of technologies makes it unlikely that a printer can afford to maintain, on-staff, all the expertise necessary to monitor and repair equipment. This is even more true in operations that have a mix of machinery of different vintages and technology sophistication.”
At Pictorial Offset, Carlstadt, NJ, three major pieces of equipment have remote diagnostics: a gapless Goss (Heidelberg) Sunday 2000 heatset press; an eight-color MAN Roland 708 press with UV tower; and the plant’s MegTec exhaust afterburner.