Interview: “Further digitalisation of processes and workflows“
Siegwerk has opened the largest fully automated production plant for printing inks in Europe. Could you please give us some key figures?
Herbert Forker: The production plant is designed for some 200 individual components from solvents and binders to master inks and can thus produce about 10,000 different printing inks for a wide variety of applications. The final printing inks are mostly dosed directly from the plant into customer containers. The capacity of the plant is designed for over 20,000 tons per year.
You are pushing ahead with Siegwerk’s digitalisation. To what extent have you already planned further steps in this regard?
Herbert Forker – CEO Siegwerk Druckfarben
Forker: We are focusing on the further digitalisation of processes and workflows – especially in the area of manual production segments. Our IT specialists and engineers are also working on the use of artificial intelligence to evaluate large amounts of data in the production and development environment. We are also working on digital platforms for our customers. Various pilot projects are already underway.
What are the challenges and opportunities for automation and digitalisation in our industry?
Forker: One of the challenges of Industry 4.0 is that the design, implementation and operational handling of appropriate automation solutions bring new requirements for the qualifications of employees. Due to the full integration and high degree of automation of digital solutions, any errors that occur also have more serious consequences compared to the “island” solutions that have been common in the past. This requires a good internal and external disturbance and maintenance structure in order to be able to prevent potentially occurring faults. On the other hand, automation and digitisation offer a lot of opportunities for the ink industry. For example, products can be developed and brought to market more quickly.