Mimaki has embraced the Internet of Things (IoT) by developing a new Digital Printing Connection, to encourage customers to incorporate Mimaki printers into production lines for unattended on-demand production.
The eventual idea is that this will allow Mimaki printers to be part of a manufacturing line that could also include robots, conveyor belts, inspection devices, sensors and other peripheral equipment. It’s a smart move that should pave the way for Mimaki to develop customised industrial print solutions, with the printing units as part of the manufacturing line.
So far Mimaki has announced two elements of this. One of these is MDL commands, which are used to control Mimaki printers from customer production systems and through to peripheral devices. They manage printer operation including commencing print production and adjusting the position and height of the print substrate table. They also provide information on remaining ink amounts and errors from the printer side. Mimaki also has a software development kit, available for download from its global website, to help customers build a bespoke system.
The second element is Mimaki Job Controller software that communicates with the printer to ensure the transmission of optimal printing data and printing conditions. It also automatically starts production, connects a printer and a robot in a production line to feed print jobs using a conveyor and collects the printed items after printing.
Bert Benckhuysen, product manager at Mimaki Europe, explains: “The Digital Printing Connection enables unmanned operation. It helps simplify and streamline processes by allowing printers that mostly act as stand-alone systems to be connected to peripheral equipment. The approach supports on-demand production and mass customisation.”