Digital printing machine with Siemens technology

Thieme to rely consistently on automation solutions from Siemens in the future.


Fast and cost-effective way to the solution

Digital printing is becoming a technically and economically competitive alternative to conventional processes in the industrial environment. Consumer desire for individuality is reaching more and more areas of life. Smaller batch sizes and frequent format changes in production require the shortest possible setup times and flexible equipment. Embedded in a production line, the digital printing solutions have to run reliably over the long term and deliver consistently high quality at optimized costs. All this increases the pressure on equipment manufacturers to implement and integrate customized solutions quickly and cost-effectively.

Mastering diversity

More interfaces, more work. Customized digital printing solutions usually consist of various trades and components. In addition to the actual digital printing system, there are system components for pre- and post-print treatment, for material handling, for quality control and more. These must be combined and managed as a whole.

Shortening development times

The interaction of all components must be ensured at an early stage in order to avoid late, cost-intensive changes and to keep development times short.

Simple integration and communication

With the integration into the overall system at the user's site, the exchange of production, operating and process data with the higher MES/ERP level is also becoming increasingly important.

About Thieme

Screen and digital printing technology from Teningen

Thieme GmbH & Co KG is a well-known, internationally active supplier of screen printing and digital printing solutions. The second-generation family-run company from Teningen in the Black Forest has been known for decades for high-performance screen printing systems. Thieme also develops customized complete solutions for industrial digital printing. For specific tasks, we work together with our customers to develop the technological basis.

One insight from many years of working with automation engineering from a wide range of manufacturers is that components that are already coordinated by the manufacturer are simply easier and faster to integrate into a perfectly functioning whole. Logical consequence of this: In the future, Thieme will rely on Siemens controllers, drives, I/O devices and HMI systems and matching software tools wherever possible. And on the combined know-how and support of specialists in every phase of machine development. A global player also simplifies the worldwide supply of replacement parts.


With Siemens as a partner, the company also sees itself well positioned in the growing segment of digital functional printing, for example of sealants and adhesives in the industrial environment. Many industrial customers know and value Siemens products and stipulate their use. This aspect becomes increasingly important the more the business moves in the industrial direction.

With Siemens as our partner and equipment supplier, we are also ideally positioned in every respect in the field of industrial digital printing and geared for a successful future.
Stefan Holzer, General Manager Printing Systems Technology, Thieme GmbH & Co. KG

Integrated automation as the key to success

Thieme was early to recognize the potential of digital printing and attracted attention with high-performance solutions. For example, a world-renowned Swabian company has also sought cooperation with Thieme. The technological basis for the suitability of digital printing for series production with the shortest cycle times was developed and evaluated on a pilot system. Currently, Thieme is already manufacturing the second of several digital printing systems for the customer's international plants. The systems are almost identical in design and are gradually replacing the previous pad printing systems.

Concentrated mechatronics in a confined space

The digital printing systems designed and manufactured by Thieme are highly compressed systems consisting of various mechanical and electronic components. The core is formed by four digital printing units, one each for the separate application of primer and ink on the front and reverse sides. An integrated robot takes the parts from the production line, centers them mechanically and transfers them to the first of several pneumatic handling systems.

These transport the parts through the process safely and impression-free at a rate of 3.3 seconds. At the end of the process is a laser system that individually marks each part of the good. The entire system runs around the clock (24/7), ensuring the required throughput of five million parts per year. Automated motif changes initiated by the higher-level Manufacturing Execution System (MES) also make it economical to alternately print around 40 variants in smaller batch sizes.

Automated throughout with Siemens

Both sides immediately agreed on automation technology. It should be uniform, integrated, cost-optimized and from Siemens. Assisted by local support, a customized concept was developed. A fail-safe SIMATIC S7-1500F controller coordinates the interaction of 36 Siemens servo axes. Drive dynamics and precision are provided by compact SINAMICS S120 booksize inverters and SIMOTICS S-1FK7 servomotors, which have been proven many times over and which Siemens specialists have designed down to the last detail.

For such extensive projects, getting all the components, plus sound support, from a single source shortens the time to production start-up by several weeks.
Tobias Rist, Head of Development and Design, Thieme GmbH & Co. KG

The answer to the restricted space conditions is a highly distributed design based on the SIMATIC ET200SP and SIMATIC ET200AL I/O systems. The latter is designed in degree of protection IP67 for use without a control cabinet directly in the field. The counterpart for the control cabinet enables very compact, mixed installations of standard and fail-safe modules. SIMATIC HMI devices for intuitive, simple operator control and monitoring round off the integrated solution. The Totally Integrated Automation Portal (TIA Portal) is the high-performance platform for integrated engineering for all components.

Customer benefits

Easier and faster to a high-performance system

Factory-optimized – more efficient in all respects

Thieme also implements complex systems in the shortest possible time using integrated, coordinated automation hardware and software from Siemens. Tools help to design the systems optimally even during product selection.

With standardized building blocks to the solution

Integrated, unified engineering in the TIA Portal makes all the difference. For example, with tested standard, safety, motion control and also visualization modules that have been proven in countless applications worldwide. This reduces the risk of errors and the evaluation effort compared to individual programming.

A growing pool of standardized, reusable partial solutions based on this will further accelerate future developments.

Using standardized, modular partial solutions, we can cut development times for similar systems by about half.
Tobias Rist, Head of Development and Design, Thieme GmbH & Co. KG

Safety first

Siemens integrated portfolio also facilitates the design of fail-safe system concepts. Controllers with F-CPU and fail-safe modules that can be flexibly controlled via PROFINET and PROFIsafe save on rigid hardwiring, and hence on work and costs.

Multiuser engineering saves time

Multiuser engineering in the TIA Portal has proven to be practical and time-saving, allowing several users to work together and at the same time on a project and various objects. Each additional user further reduces configuration and commissioning times.

Simple connection to higher-level systems

Siemens controllers and drives provide important operating and process data that can be easily transferred to higher-level systems through standardized interfaces. First, for easy tracking and tracing of products and process steps. Second, for individual analyses to keep an eye on the condition of components and ensure their availability.

Save space in control cabinet and machine

The compact SINAMICS S120 booksize inverters and the SIMATIC ET200SP I/O system save space and wiring effort in the central control cabinet. Connected to the SIMATIC S7-1500F head controller via Profinet and Profisafe, many I/O modules could be distributed in distributed control cabinets in the machine. SIMATIC ET200AL I/O modules with degree of protection IP67 collect input/output signals directly at the point of operation with the need for any control cabinet.

Thanks to distributed control boxes and I/O devices without control cabinets that can be used directly in the machine, we were able to keep within the specified footprint.
Tobias Rist, Head of Development and Design, Thieme GmbH & Co. KG