A world first

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - NEWS -

The Govern­ment Print­ing Press of Italy, the In­sti­tuto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato (IPZS), has com­mis­sioned Ger­man com­pany Tön­njes E. A.S.T. to build the world’s first fully-au­to­mated car li­cence plate pro­duc­tion.

At a new lo­ca­tion near Turin, around six mil­lion num­ber plates will be man­u­fac­tured per year from the end of 2018. “A high-tech fac­tory is be­ing built,” ex­plains Hol­ger Lang, Man­ag­ing Direc­tor at Tön­njes E. A.S.T. “The spe­cial fea­ture lies in the com­plex, au­to­mated in­ter­link­ing of all work pro­cesses – key­word in­dus­try 4.0.” How­ever, the look of the num­ber plate will not change.

In Italy, the print­ing of all se­cu­rity doc­u­ments, such as pass­ports, num­ber plates, bank notes or driv­ing li­cences is cen­tralised and in the hands of the state – this is unique in the Euro­pean Union. The IPZS with head­quar­ters in Rome is wholly owned by the Ital­ian Min­istry for Econ­omy and Fi­nance.

There will hardly be any peo­ple in the new fac­tory. In­stead you will en­counter a tac­ti­cal com­bi­na­tion of ma­chines, lo­gis­tics and soft­ware – the state- of-the-art car li­cence plate pro­duc­tion is the new flag­ship of Tön­njes. “All com­po­nents used in Italy hail from our range of ma­chines for the pro­duc­tion of li­cence plates. For the first time, how­ever, they will be all dig­i­tally con­nected with each other,” ex­plains Lang.

The end re­sult can be di­vided into three work mod­ules. First of all, the li­cence plates are cut to size, then ro­bots em­boss their al­pha nu­mer­ics. In the end, fur­ther ro­bots join plate pairs, shrink-wrap and pack them. The dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion of the pro­cesses per­mits the plant man­ager to be al­ways in­formed in real time about the cur­rent pro­duc­tion sta­tus.

“Each num­ber plate re­ceives its own iden­ti­fi­ca­tion num­ber dur­ing pro­duc­tion. This al­lows the au­thor­i­ties to track later, when it is al­ready on the road, when it has passed through which pro­duc­tion step,” he ex­plains. This pro­tects against ma­nip­u­la­tion. The IPZS had ad­ver­tised the job with a bud­get of nine mil­lion Euro al­ready in 2016. Af­ter an ex­ten­sive ap­pli­ca­tion and reg­u­lar talks on- site, both par­ties signed the con­tracts in last Oc­to­ber.

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