Delta supplies complete automation package for Mtex digital printing machines

Comprehensive upgrades to two pigment printers

Delta delivered the right hardware and software for fast, accurate digital printing to Mtex

From packaging and labeling to clothing and other textiles, digital printing processes allow businesses to transfer digital graphics directly to almost any physical matter. The Portuguese specialist Mtex is a world-leading manufacturer of digital print solutions for printing graphics and images on textiles and other mediums. Its wide-ranging portfolio of products includes many ultra-modern printers that apply customers’ individual designs to different materials, from paper and card to PVC and other substrates.

Mtex had a very precise idea of how it wanted to upgrade its printers, as it sought to move away from the closed and relatively rigid legacy control system architecture in favor of a scalable, more flexible solution. The new system had to work faster and more precisely. It had to allow users to select between incremental and absolute encoders, have a reliable STO (safe torque off) function, support Ethercat connectivity for servo drives and motors, and make it much easier for users to program the machine control system. The project involving Delta focused on two pigment printers. The “Mtex NS Multi 800” is an entry-level model for creating professional packaging and paper bags. And the modular “Mtex NS Multi 1300” can be used to apply pigment inks to coated and untreated materials, transfer films and fabric textiles, in addition to card and paper. Both models are equipped with numerous servo drives and motors for precise control to deliver a perfect finish every time.

Mtex searches for partner with proven automation expertise

Mtex had several reasons for choosing Delta as its partner in the upgrade project. As soon as the two parties started talking it was clear that not only did Delta’s experts have the necessary component knowledge, they could also provide consistent end-to-end solutions for industrial automation, including consulting, design and implementation services. In addition, Delta’s ability to quickly supply a wide range of powerful components was impressive. The comprehensive skills and professional support would prove especially crucial during an intense initial six-month period in which the first prototype was upgraded and configured.

Right hardware and software for fast, accurate digital printing

Several Delta components were selected to upgrade the printers. The “Mtex NS Multi 800” was fitted with three servo drives of the “ASD-B3A-E” series and three servo motors of the “ECM-B3M” series. All the servo devices are connected via Ethercat to each other, and to a “MS 300” inverter and an “R1-EC” gateway. The solution is controlled by an “AX308ET” motion controller based on a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), which communicates via OPC UA with the PC and the UI, which is installed on it.

The somewhat larger “Mtex NS Multi 1300” system was also equipped with new components, comprising a total of six “ASD-B3A-E” servo drives, six “ECM-B3M” servo motors and two “MS 300” inverters. With Delta’s support, Mtex also introduced the Codesys automation software to control the powerful components effectively and as smoothly as possible. It is programmed through the Delta “DIADesigner” platform with “DIADesigner AX” based on Codesys. This programming platform serves as a development environment for PLCs and can be used with axes, drives and slaves from a broad range of manufacturers. Delta organized on-site training for employees to demonstrate how easy it is to use the software, ensuring optimum user acceptance of Codesys.

Delta: a single source for all products and services

The upgraded digital printers fulfill all the requirements specified by Mtex. As well as ensuring faster and more precise printing processes, their Ethercat connectivity also means that the printers can be easily integrated into an existing Industry 4.0 environment. In addition, print jobs are now easier to scale and Codesys gives employees the opportunity to flexibly program customer-specific designs alongside standard processes. The results have been so impressive that Mtex has decided to fit a total of “250 NS MULTI 800” and “100 NS Multi 1300” printers with the new technology, while there are also already plans to upgrade the even larger “NS Multi+” models. “The success of this upgrade project is largely due to the fact that we at Delta have not only supplied the required components but also offered an entire service package, which, in addition to planning and implementation, also included consulting, and a well-designed software training,” says Enric Tamarit, Field Application Manager, Industrial Automation Business Group at Delta EMEA. “We have given Mtex a complete solution for industrial automation and are looking forward to contributing our expertise to the projects that the business has already planned for the future.”