OTTO Motors and Significans Automation Are Bringing Mobile Material-Handling Robots to Printing and Packaging Industry

OTTO Motors, a leading provider of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) for production, has signed a partnership agreement with Significans Automation Inc. to bring AMR material handling technology to the Printing and Packaging space in the Americas.

OTTO Motors makes flexible, intelligent, autonomous mobile robots for material handing in production facilities and warehouses.

AMRs are advanced robots designed to transport raw and work-in-progress materials throughout the factory floor in pedestrian-heavy areas. AMRs have been proven to be more efficient and cost-effective than humans, conveyors, or fixed-path transporters.

In fact, OTTO AMRs were found to be only 10% the cost of a full-time equivalent for manual cart movement and only 20% of the costs associated with a driver and forklift.

Significans Automation specializes in delivering next-generation automation to companies who are striving to meet the fast-turnaround demands of e-commerce print, packaging, and personalization.

With the new partnership, Significans can now offer customers true end-to-end solutions.. In addition to integrating business, prepress, and production workflows, Significans can help incorporate efficiency-enhancing robotics.

“As the print and packaging industry moves towards automation, material handling remains one of the most challenging processes to automate.” said Rick Baker, CRO of OTTO Motors. “Implementing an intelligent, flexible and scalable material-handling system with autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) can help solve this problem.”

“Significans’ goal has always been to unify our front-end software automation services with back-end robotic solutions,” said Sean Davis, Significans Automation’s Director of Technology, “This partnership marks the beginning of an exciting future for our customers.”

“We went through an extensive search to find the right robotics partner. We recognized the tremendous power and flexibility of OTTO’s single grid to control every robotic process in the environment,” says Marc Raad, President of Significans Automation. “It’s one grid, one integration, and one truly unified production platform.”

“Significans Automation has done incredible work to help innovate and automate graphics operations and workflows in preparation for a robotic future,” adds John Stikes, Director, Strategic Alliances of OTTO Motors. “As a trusted member of the OTTO Motors Partner Network, Significans Automation now offers AMR technology to help their customers tackle labor shortages, scale their businesses, and outperform the competition.”

About OTTO Motors

OTTO Motors is the industrial division of Clearpath Robotics. OTTO provides autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) for material handling inside manufacturing facilities and warehouses. Customers include Fortune 100 brands such as GE and Toyota.

OTTO AMR at door factory
Significans Automation and OTTO Motors are working together to introduce cutting edge offerings to meet specific business requirements of the packaging and printing industry. In this photo, an OTTO autonomous mobile robot moves pallets of patio doors.

About Significans Automation

Significans Automation Inc. specializes in delivering next-generation automation to the Printing and Packaging industry. The company offers programming and expertise in custom workflow development, communication and project management, color management, prepress training, and end-to-end business integration. The company is driven by the conviction that customized automation is the only path forward.

For more information about Autonomous Mobile Robots for printers and packaging converters, please contact Marc Raad at marc.raad (at) significans.com or call 1-877-463-4465.

Wallace Carlson Printing Adds EFI PrintFlow Dynamic Scheduling Software

Workflow automation is becoming increasingly important to all types and sizes of printing businesses. But not every company is progressing at the same rate. This case study from EFI (Electronics for Imaging, Inc.) illustrates how one commercial sheet-fed printing business has approached the adoption of more automation.

Wallace Carlson Printing in Minnetonka, MN, specializes in marketing collateral, retail and product catalogs, packaging, secure packaging, and direct mail. They serve clients in the pharmaceutical, financial, corporate, and education sectors.

The company recently added EFI PrintFlow dynamic scheduling software to the existing EFI Midmarket Print Suite that Wallace Carlson uses to direct its business and production management functions.

The company had been scheduling jobs manually, which can be time-consuming. With PrintFlow, the company expects the scheduling process to be more concise and transparent, which will help the business continue to improve and grow.

EFI PrintFlow Logo

About EFI PrintFlow

EFI PrintFlow uses an advanced optimized rules engine to address the specific scheduling issues that complicate the manual scheduling processes. This includes criteria such as machine capabilities, operator availability, tooling availability, job requirements, material availability and other scheduling constraints.

The software automatically identifies the most efficient, cost-effective path for each job by optimizing equipment use, minimizing make-ready time, reducing wasted materials, and ensuring on-time delivery.

PrintFlow generates automated, up-to-the-minute sequenced and synchronized run lists that keeps equipment users informed while helping business owners build a more efficient, profitable business. It eliminates the guesswork and manual juggling of variables that can affect the online delivery of overlooked jobs.

“I’m really optimistic that we will recognize efficiencies in all areas,” said Wallace Carlson Chief Operating Officer Charlie Cox. “This efficiency will come from tighter scheduling of the press department and less non-chargeable time as the job moves from prepress to production to finishing.”

“We spend a fair amount of time in the company asking, What’s next? Is this ready? or Is that ready?” said Cox. “You add that up over a year, and it’s a lot of wasted time.”

“Clients will be able to get their products to market faster, which is a win-win for us and them,” he added.

Part of a Series of Print Workflow Automation Decisions

The impetus to improve the workflow at Wallace Carlson began five years ago when company leaders realized they would need to adopt newer, advanced equipment and software systems before they would be ready for the potential gains that artificial intelligence and robotics could offer.

Two years into that initiative, Wallace Carlson purchased the EFI Midmarket Print Suite, a comprehensive workflow that uses EFI Pace MIS/ERP software at its core.

Last year, after investing nearly $4 million in equipment and operations, Cox felt it was important to focus on training and reworking processes and procedures to ensure that the company was making maximum use of the capabilities in the Midmarket Print Suite.

Enhancing scheduling was the next logical step for the company.

“We knew the time would come when we’d have to implement more of an electronic scheduling module,” said Cox. “We looked at other offerings, but PrintFlow just seemed to really dominate. And with its compatibility with the EFI Pace MIS/ERP, it just made perfect sense to bolt it on and tie it all together.”

“We’ve had a nice growth trajectory for probably the last three years,” said Cox. “Even with the pandemic, we’re still going to post some growth this year.” The PrintFlow investment will help Wallace Carlson tighten up internal processes, ensuring that growth doesn’t come at the expense of productivity.

“We’ve always strived to be on the cutting edge of newer technology, software, equipment, and automation,” said Cox. “That was always our differentiator, pulling away from the rest of the pack and putting ourselves in a little bit of blue water.”

About EFI

EFI is a global technology company that develops breakthrough technologies for the manufacturing of signage, packaging, textiles, ceramic tiles, building materials, and personalized documents. The company offers a wide range of printers, inks, digital front ends, and a comprehensive business and production workflow suite that transforms and streamlines the entire production process. (www.efi.com)