09.03.2021 / Pascal Ruch

Avoid flying blind with ASIR PRO

At the end of September, I presented our new Prinova saddle stitcher in more detail in my blog. In addition to motion control technology and the associated faster setup processes, its highlights also include the new ASIR PRO camera system developed by Muller Martini. This recognizes and compares the printed sheets using 1D/2D barcode and/or image comparison. Faulty end products are now definitely a thing of the past.
Muller Martini first came onto the market with the Automatic Signature Image Recognition – or ASIR for short – in the 1990s. As far as I know, however, relatively few of this first version, which at that time was still produced in collaboration with the Baumer company, were installed in saddle stitchers. However, this changed abruptly with the ASIR 2 developed by Muller Martini itself, of which we delivered over 10,000 units for saddle stitchers and gathering machines for perfect binding lines.
A quantum leap was then made with the ASIR 3, launched in 2004, of which at least 50,000 are now in use worldwide. Most Primera saddle stitchers and a good 50 percent of all Presto are equipped with ASIR 3. Its great success is based on the numerous new functions it offers compared to its predecessor. Image comparison has been expanded and a linear barcode (Code128-Cand and Interleaved 2 of 5) has been added. The setup control is done with the so-called AsirCode. False images and reference images are visible on a graphical user interface.
Numerous advantages
Because the procurement of electronic components has become extremely difficult over the years and the 640 x 400 pixel resolution and the monochrome CMOS sensor (black/white images) are no longer considered contemporary, Muller Martini has now taken the next technological step. The new ASIR PRO, which is delivered together with the new Prinova saddle stitcher and whose setup control is also carried out with AsirCode, is characterized by numerous advantages over ASIR 3.

  • The image comparison has been extended once again.
  • In addition to ASIR, ASIR PRO also includes Code128A/B/C, Code-25 (I2/5), Code-39 and the pharmacode in its linear barcodes.
  • Newly, 2D barcodes (Data Matrix) are also read.
  • The comparison between linear and 2D barcode is made by means of referencing or in reader mode.
  • The resolution is now 1280 x 1024 pixels, and the image sensor recognizes colors.
  • ASIR PRO is significantly less sensitive to ambient light.
  • There is no longer a need for background mirrors that have to be cleaned.     
  • ASIR PRO is significantly less sensitive to twisting and lifting of the sheets.
  • The image transmission is much faster (via GigE Vision interface).
  • The operation is completely integrated into the presses.
  • The history of false images can be browsed.
  • The service and remote functionality for analyses has been significantly expanded.

1D-/2D-barcode and/or image comparison
ASIR PRO thus recognizes and compares printed sheets by means of 1D/2D barcode and/or image comparison. "So what's the difference, and what do I need for my products?", you will surely ask yourself. Short answer:

  • Basically, a barcode is to be favored over an image comparison.
  • You use image comparison when barcode operation is not possible.
  • A linear barcode (which can be used with ASIR PRO with or without setup control AsirCode), is reliable and in my opinion a prerequisite for highest quality demands.
  • I strongly recommend a 2D Data Matrix for digital machines for personalized products like catalogs, telecommunication and mailings (the customer specific data encoded in the Data Matrix) and last but not least for legal reasons in the health and medical sector.

From Patrick Treyer's blog from September 2018 and our smirk-inducing YouTube video, you can see the serious consequences that incorrectly stitched-in signatures can have. While the blog and video still refer to ASIR 3, nothing has changed in the principle problems that the camera control system solves. So if you don't want to stitch or collate blindly, you shouldn't do without Muller Martini's unique sheet control system!
Pascal Ruch,
Product Manager Saddle Stitching and Head of Print Finishing Center Muller Martini AG

09.03.2021 Pascal Ruch Product Management / Manager Print Finishing Center