09.06.2020 / Patrick Treyer

What matters is the original

Anyone who wants to extend or retrofit something on their Bravo saddle stitcher, Acoro perfect binder, Diamant bookline, Ventura thread sewing machine or Concept printing press would do well to rely on original parts and original manpower from Muller Martini. This is the only way for you and us to ensure that everything works after an extension or retrofit.
To put it somewhat simply, we distinguish between three categories of extensions and retrofits.
Category 1: The customer can do the installation himself. This applies to parts that are easy to replace or to modified replacement parts.
Category 2: The installation can be carried out by local Muller Martini technicians. These are simpler retrofits – such as a carriage pre-saddle in a thread sewing machine.
Category 3: It is imperative for the installation to be carried out by a technician from the Muller Martini plant. This applies, in particular, to complex interventions that require special know-how and tools. If such an extenstion or retrofit is not carried out by a plant technician, setting and assembly errors may occur. This, in turn, may lead to damage to the machine and cause high repair costs.
Software: the key to success
In addition to these three categories, we service specialists also distinguish between interventions in the software and in the hardware. Let me first take a closer look at the topic of software.
The full replacement and retrofitting of machine control systems are extremely complex. This is why changes to control systems are practically always carried out by specialists from the Muller Martini plant. For example, they ensure in advance that all axles can be moved easily. This is the only way to reference a machine after retrofitting. That's why there's always a Muller Martini electrician present, who knows the machine well.
Replacement of the control system, the operator terminal or the frequency converter of an older machine is necessary when spare parts for an existing control system are no longer available. In this context, a timely planned exchange has two main advantages. It mostly reduces the downtime of your machine to a predictable one to three days. And after the replacement, your machine can continue to operate with significantly higher production reliability and its service life can be extended. Reactive replacement of the control due to a malfunction, on the other hand, may result in several weeks of downtime because of the complexity of provision.
The machine is tested immediately on site
Parts that are easy to replace – such as a frequency converter – are usually delivered from our factory fully programmed. More complex processes, such as the replacement of the control terminal and the complete control of an older saddle stitcher from B&R 2005 to B&R X20 (see the Muller Martini blog by Stefan Kocher from last September), replacing the IPC 5000 control panel with a Panel PC 2100, featuring a state-of-the-art touch-screen function for older models of a Corona high-performance perfect binder, or control retrofits of printing presses (see the Muller Martini blog by Marcus Stich from last October) often require slight adjustments on site, which are carried out by plant specialists directly at the customer's premises. In addition, machines with the new control system and new operating panel are tested on site and released for production.
A freelance service technician can buy certain hardware (used or new) on the market, but not the software. This is because Muller Martini owns the software's intellectual property, which is key to the successful operation of a machine, and does not make it available to third parties. We update or replace it ourselves before delivery or directly on site at the customer. In addition, our specialists can make adjustments to the software on site themselves so that the machine can be put back into operation as soon as possible. Over my long career, it's been my experience that the proven philosophy "first time right" is always the most favorable for the customer.
Hardware: check first...
Now for the hardware – and an introductory note. A machine should be subjected to a thorough mechanical and electrical inspection at least every three years as part of an investment protection program. The inspection includes the standardized testing of a Muller Martini system by a certified service technician. Muller Martini has developed its own software and process standard for this procedure. Highly trained service technicians check all safety, quality and performance-relevant aspects of your system as well as all machine functions.
Muller Martini has been offering such inspections for years within the scope of its comprehensive MMServices program, which includes preventive maintenance contracts and training programs tailored to your needs. These help to ensure high productivity, quality and added value, optimize your operating and investment costs, and increase the profitability of your plants.
An inspection is mandatory, especially before major extensions or retrofits. This is the only way we can ensure that a machine delivered by Muller Martini is still in its original condition according to our documentation. If we find that this is not the case, we must first modify the machine or adjust the extensions and retrofits accordingly before delivery.
...then retrofit
The principle "It's the original that counts" also applies to the hardware – both in terms of parts and manpower. Muller Martini parts are guaranteed to always fit, and they meet our high quality standards. For example, the extremely difficult-reacting hook and sewing needles of our two Ventura MC 160 and Ventura MC 200 thread sewing machines have a special alloy and coating as well as a degree of hardness that is precisely tailored to the application. If foreign needles with different characteristics are used (and I admit frankly: it is sometimes difficult, even for our specialists, to distinguish them from the originals), this can severely disrupt production and cause considerable damage.
If "pirate" parts are used, this often makes it difficult to analyze any damage. For example, a saddle stitcher customer recently complained to us that his clincher in the stitching head was constantly breaking. When our specialists (original manpower!) took a closer look at this on site, they discovered that the clincher didn't come from Muller Martini at all.
If Asir 3 is already in place but deactivated
Or another example: a finishing company bought a Muller Martini saddle stitcher on the second-hand market. They subsequently called us because they wanted to install the Asir 3 signature scanning system. My colleagues stopped by the customer and were surprised to find that Asir 3 was already installed, but was no longer functionally activated...
Speaking of Asir 3 in saddle stitchers: in this regard, a surprise awaits us in three out of four cases – especially when it comes to used machines. Typical deviations are:
► changed machine and feeder configuration
► installed systems and spare parts from third party suppliers
► adjustments made by the customer to the machine.
So that everything works after the retrofit
Knowing the precise condition of a system is also important for PUR retrofits in perfect binders. It's not uncommon for something to have been modified on a softcover line without our knowledge – and occasionally also without that of our customers – because it has simply not been documented.
That's why we always want to know exactly what condition a machine is in by means of an inspection and whether there are any deviations in the current machine configuration compared to the original scope of delivery. This is the only way for you and us to ensure that everything works after a retrofit. You, the customer, will then be satisfied and Muller Martini will live up to its reputation as a premium manufacturer of systems for the graphic arts industry.

Patrick Treyer
Program Manager MMServices