Tiepner develops machines for the production of cards in ID-1 format. The complex multilayer structure of the cards makes it possible to customize them and insert specific characteristics. A central work step is lamination, where highest process reliability and quality are very important. For the heating and cooling presses, Tiepner uses TOX®-ElectricDrive drives.
Everyone knows them, everyone has lots of them: credit cards, ID cards, customer cards, membership cards. Even driver's licenses and identity cards have long been produced in ID-1 format. A multitude of cards have been bulging in people's wallets since the middle of the eighties. But it is impossible to imagine everyday life without ID cards. They are produced on systems of the device and plant manufacturer Tiepner GmbH: The company from Dietfurt in Germany develops and constructs systems for different users, who produce and individually design these cards – with regard to the design as well as the structure, which can be very complex. This is because the ID cards consist of several foil layers, which can contain different features, such as embossing, chips, magnetic strips, safety features, holograms or RFID and memory modules. Tiepner builds these systems customized according to specific requirements, but the basic principle is always the same: collating the foil, laminating, punching and finally checking the completed cards. The core element of such an ZLSP system is the laminating unit, in which Tiepner installs servo presses from TOX® PRESSOTECHNIK GmbH & Co. KG.
First of all, up to eight different foils can be collated automatically from the sheet or reel, and stacked on top of each other precisely positioned. The precise alignment of one above the other through printing registration is ensured by an image processing system. Each foil layer contains specific modules and features – depending on which card is produced. The foil booklet is then handed over to the lamination unit, which joins this foil stack irreversibly: A rotary indexing table forwards this collated foil booklet to the heating press – consisting of two heated punches, one at the top and one at the bottom, which can be heated to up to 200 degrees Celsius. The plastic foils are softened in this heating press and joined together. Then the cooling press is used, to remove the heat again from the firmly glued foil package and to stabilize the plastic. The lamination process occurs at cycle times of 18 seconds. The ZLSP system then forwards the laminated package to the punch. At the end of the process, the punched cards are checked for size accuracy, surface, RFID test and other possible features, before they are stacked in a magazine.
Electricity instead of compressed air
“We traditionally used the TOX®-Powerpackages for the lamination process, as they are reliable and robust”, says Christian Höltge, who is Managing Director of Tiepner GmbH, alongside Thomas Weigl. “But we have now replaced the Powerpackages operated with compressed air with the TOX®-ElectricDrive in a new machine. It is the first system with electromechanical press drives, as it has many advantages with regard to its application”, says Mr. Höltge. “These press drives can be set precisely and work more accurately. Above all, they are quieter, which is particularly appreciated by employees. Furthermore, the data can be read and analyzed. For example, we can create force-displacement processes and evaluate performance data – this is used for quality control and traceability.” System operation has also improved with the TOX®-ElectricDrive modules, says Mr. Höltge. Not least, the ZLSP system overall is getting significantly cheaper and economical, as expensive compressed air is no longer needed.
Collating, laminating, punching and checking – on a new level
A total of three electromechanical servo press drives is installed in the laminator: two TOX®-ElectricDrives of type EX-K with planetary threaded spindle in the heating presses as well as one TOX®-ElectricDrive of type EPMK with sensors for force and position measuring including associated press control in the cooling press. These drives are designed for highly dynamic work processes. The power is transmitted from the servo motor via the planetary drive and the planetary threaded spindle to the working piston and consequently the tool. TOX® PRESSOTECHNIK supplies the electromechanical power modules as units that are fully pre-assembled and ready for connection.
“We have had good business relations with TOX® PRESSOTECHNIK for more than 20 years”, the Tiepner CEO Christian Höltge states. “Cooperation is always straightforward and smooth, and we have a designated contact, who will provide support immediately as required.”
With the current system, Tiepner has realized the fourth, technically most complex ZLSP configuration level to date for ID-1 card production. The machine is approx. eight meters long, five meters wide, three meters high, and designed for one-person operation in three-shift operation. It produces 2,000 cards per hour – each one precisely 85.60 millimeters long, 53.98 millimeters wide and with rounded off corners. Individual and unique.