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Machine developments and new installations keep slitting and rewinding technology up to speed with the needs of today’s market

ICE Europe 2011, in November, was the launch pad for the next generation of Titan SR9 Series slitter rewinder technology from Atlas Converting Equipment (UK). The new Titan SR9-DT dual turret slitter rewinder is claimed to provide “unsurpassed levels” of slitting productivity, design modularity and rewind reel quality. Its new features include reduced power consumption and enhancements in sustainability with a reduced carbon footprint.

Innovative engineering design has led to Atlas obtaining and applying for six patents on the new machine. These advances are said to have led to significant improvements in the quality of slit reels, reduction of setup time and increased productivity. As an example, the Linear Tracking Slitter (LTS) section ensures the shortest and a constant web length between the knives and the rewind shafts for improved web control, giving the highest possible side wall quality of rewind reels.

According to Atlas, the Titan SR9-DT is the fastest shafted secondary slitter rewinder available in the world for converters in the flexible packaging market sector, at 1,000m/min. Coupled with the novel Turret Rewind design providing an automatic cutting and taping of the web tails, it is “set to smash all productivity records”, the company proclaims.

Live demonstrations of the new machine at the ICE event in Munich included processing a 1,210mm wide, 30 micron, 8-colour flexo printed Natural OPP film substrate and focusing on important improvements in the design and engineering of dual-turret rewinding technology.

Also at the show, Atlas Converting presented a new Service Platform providing expanded global customer service and support operations for both the Atlas and Titan ranges of machines, together with a wider range of service products.

Another slitting innovation introduced at ICE Europe came from ALS, who demonstrated an automatic roll slitter with a new iPad/iPhone/PC monitoring system. Using a network connection, ALS was able to access the control screen and PLC of a machine that was connected to an iPhone and iPad. It was then possible to run the machine, change the screens and change the programs – all remotely via wi-fi. “The only thing I couldn’t do was change the roll,” joked Spencer Lack.

He said there are two main advantages to this new technology. “From the customer side you are able to log into the screen from your desk PC and view what program is in operation, how many rolls are slit, how many to go and who is running the machine. From the ALS side, we can connect for fault fi nding, diagnostics and programme upgrades.

This technology is now offered on all new slitting machines from ALS.

Laem System has restyled its RB range of twin-shaft slitter rewinders to meet the international market’s need for increasingly flexible and economical solutions for a wider range of applications. For example, last July, an RB4 special, designed to the technical specifications provided by the customer, was installed in the Hänsel flexible packaging plant at Freital in Germany.

Apart from the features common to all RB4 series machines, such as automatic changeover of the finished rolls and the possibility to slit the material with both razor blades and circular knives, this special machine features independent movement of the unwinding arms and the independent lay-on rollers on each roll.

The slitting unit is also equipped with two trollies carrying a blades/knives slitting shaft, to enable the operator to set the parameters for the next job while the machine is operating. A pneumatic-mechanical system allows these to be calibrated precisely, even with the trolley installed and the machine running at production speed.

However, the most interesting feature of this machine is the installation of a hard embossing unit immediately downstream of the unwinder, designed to treat, among others, challenging materials such as aluminium/BOPP strip laminates. The embosser is equipped with a trolley for safe removal of the engraving roller.

These innovations allow Hänsel to perform complex operations that include unwinding, hard embossing and slitting at parameters that can be calibrated and rewinding with extremely precise web tension control, even with different diameters among each roll. The use of the trollies and the automatic change of the rewinding rolls is said to reduce production changeover times to the minimum.

New from TS Converting Equipment is customisable for a variety of roll and is an Elite Cameron range of “high performance, competitively priced” converting machines for the tape industry. They are said to provide a versatile and cost-effective solution for the production of slit reels of any size on demand.

The LS250 log slitter incorporates the latest developments in cutting technology, “providing quality cuts, accurate in length, effortlessly”. It has been designed to eliminate all the problems associated with stocking and supply of pre-slit reels of tape by providing the facility to produce various quantities as required from standard log widths.

Operation is said to be simple: the cut length and quantity are entered using a touchscreen, which automatically sets the parameters for cutting and indexing ready for production in seconds.

“These units have been designed for tape distributers who are looking to move in to conversion,” says Tim Self, director of TS Converting. “We have supplied several to new and existing tape converters, as the package provides exceptional performance at very low prices.“

One customer is Empire Tapes, which already has three Elite Cameron tape logging machines and two log slitters, with a third unit due for delivery shortly. Managing director Dean Sherriff comments: “The new log slitters outperform anything we have experienced before. They are very simple to operate yet extremely fast and accurate.” He adds: “The automatic slitter rewinders are great for long runs of packaging tape, but they do not have the versatility of the log slitter as the trend for fast delivery of smaller orders continues”.

New from US manufacturer CTC International is the Model STACRW2-6 automatic turret rewinder for productive glueless small roll finishing.

This servo-driven machine automatically finishes small roll labels without additional unwinding equipment. Standard features include: servodrives, touchscreen controls, cantilevered edge guided unwind, splice table, integral slitter, glueless or coreless start, tail label roll closure system, semi-automatic core loader, and automatic roll eject with integral roll tray. CTC’s Tricycle gear caster system is also included as a standard feature.

The novel tail labeller has the ability to make its own labels from label strip material that has not previously been diecut. It can also be supplied with ‘easy pull tab’ type labels to facilitate opening of the rolls.

The turret is engineered to achieve maximum functionality with a minimum of parts, using only two shafts for fully automatic operation.

Options include diecutting and matrix removal, an end of roll pen marking system, and an automatic core loader. The machine is customizable for a variety of core sizes and is also available to meet CE compliance. Its compact footprint is said to allow it to be moved easily when required.

The latest development from Kampf is the Micoslit Con, a compact machine offering safe and easy operation, with a removal carriage for the finished rolls and original roll handling to reduce set-up time. The first unit is in production for a Chinese customer.

The Microslit Con can handle special, demanding materials such as laminates, highly elastic polyurethane strip, adhesive foil and battery separator film. Maximum working width is 1,300mm; original roll diameter 800mm and finished roll diameter 350mm. The cutting system is shear cut, knife cut, with cut widths up to 50mm, and the machine’s top speed is 800m/min.

Kampf now offers new retrofit packages tailor-made for its machines used by converters. They are said to maintain or boost the productivity and make it possible for customers to produce without restrictions in the period leading up to investment in a new machine. The configuration and conceptual design of the retrofit sets make it possible to carry out retrofits by progressive stages.

The degree of modernisation can be selected individually. Examples are the M-package, installation of a gluing table; and the E-package for electronic modernisation of visualisation.

Comexi recently launched the Proslit Uno, a slitter designed to offer high performance for converters who work with long runs and slit reel diameters greater than 800mm. Said to be “the perfect choice” for flexible packaging and almost any paper, aluminum or adhesives application, it will handle paper, self-adhesives and aluminum down to 12 micron, and all rigid or laminated plastics that require long runs and with a large diameter.

The Uno is available in 1,400mm and 1,700mm widths. The maximum diameter of the parent roll is 1,300mm (1,500mm as an option) and up to 2,150kg in weight (3,000kg optional). It can reach a maximum speed of 400m/min in its standard configuration and 600m/min optionally. Maximum diameter of finished reels is 1,000mm. Reels are supported on an expandable shaft that permits uniformly distributed weights of up to 1,000kg.

The machine is controlled through a touchscreen, and the length of the run can be programmed according to the diameter of the parent roll, linear metres or the diameter of the output reel. Job parameters can be stored in an internal memory, making the operator’s work easier.

The Uno has all the standard Proslit features, including a lay-on roller with ALTS (Advanced Lineal Tracking System) technology that incorporates two bowed rollers, one prior to slitting and one prior to rewinding. Equipped with 20mm rings and a variable curvature, these rollers are essential to the smooth functioning of the entire process. They are manufactured with special low inertia bearings to help ensure good quality rewound output reels.

The ALTS system is said to give perfect control over the rewinding process by providing permanent contact with the layon roller at a single point, “guaranteeing an exceptional quality of the finished product”. Furthermore, according to Comexi, the design of the Uno prevents vibrations by the use of 50mm frames and offers excellent accessibility for daily work and high productivity at a reasonable level of investment. Three machines have been installed already – two in Mexico and one in Germany – and are said to have shown excellent results.

In 2011, Goebel claimed to have “broken the width barrier“ and designed the widest and fastest slitter rewinder with its new 11m-wide Monoslit primary slitter. Said to set new standards in the film converting industry, this machine is able to convert BOPP, BOPET, BOPA, CPP, OPP, as well as capacitor film with a running speed of 1,500m/min. Minimum slitting widths of 300mm can be achieved.

The unwinding unit allows fast and comfortable loading and unloading. An ultra-light dancer roller combined with an intelligent tension control system provides “excellent“ finished roll quality. The machine is equipped with fully automatic serial cutter adjustment and a new automatic razor blade exchanger which increase safety significantly. These and other innovations are said to allow film converters to maximize their productivity.

Swiss specialist in machines for converting thin and sensitive materials Faes has added a new model to its modular, colour-coded range of machines.

The new System Braun will convert coated or metallised, 1-30 micron PET, BOPP and BOPET for capacitor foils, battery separator films, stamping foils and many other applications at up to 500m/min. Its main advantages are given as: narrow slit widths due to precise machine construction and a short web path; an innovative slitting system; and “unmatched” tension control of unwinding and rewinding with four digital servodrives for very sensitive materials.

The Braun is also said to be a highly versatile machine with short changeover times and “unmatched user friendliness”, offering one-side operation and interchangeable slitting options – razor in air, razor in groove or rotary shear. It is available as a duplex turret system with integrated control, touchscreen operation and advanced recipe management.

At Martin Automatic, research into tension profile curves has advanced the US-based company’s expertise in rewinding non-symmetrical or non-homogeneous labels. Martin’s LRD automatic transfer rewinder is used for pressure sensitive labels, pharmaceutical cartons, lottery tickets, flexible packaging, and toothpaste tube laminate webs, among others. It can wind rolls from 8-40 inch diameter on the same machine.

A key feature of this model is its automatic roll doffing function: the winder offloads finished rolls automatically, without any input from an operator. Most LRD models are equipped with shear slitting systems for winding multiple ribbons. Also available is the STR model, designed specifically for narrow web pressure-sensitive label work. Like the LRD, it is usually paired with a Martin non-stop butt splicer at the unwind for continuous production.

Ashe Converting Equipment recently secured an order for its Jade primary film slitter from Shandong Shenghe Plastic Film Co, in Weifang, China. BOPET shrink film is seeing considerable growth in China and Shandong Shenghe will be entering the market in 2012. Ashe’s experience in slitting and winding BOPET led the Chinese company to choose a 5.5m wide slitter with nine winding stations. It will be equipped with Ashe’s special linear winding concept and vacuum roller technology, said to ensure perfect winding geometry and a quality finished product.

Ashe reports “huge interest” in its technology in China since the appointment of sales manager Xu Lu. Most is for the Jade range of primary and secondary slitters, as well as the Sapphire DB, another linear winding machine aimed at the lithium battery separator market and other special applications.

Innovations on the inspection slitter rewinder front include AB Graphic International’s recently launched Omega HSR high speed model, which benefits from larger unwind/rewind diameters and runs at up to 400m/min. ABG says it has a high specification as standard and can be further enhanced through the addition of a wide range of options, including converting modules.

Available in web widths of 330, 430 and 530mm, the HSR is equipped for 800mm unwind and 610mm rewind diameters. Standard features include electronic web guide with ultrasonic sensor for opaque and clear substrates; scissor knife slitting; auto knife throw-off; a choice of rewind mandrels from 25-75mm; a touchscreen for easy job setup with error display; and label or length count with programmable slowdown and stop feature, plus total batch count.

Options include Flytec 100% print face camera inspection; missing label detection; flag and splice detection; crush or razor knife slitting; rotary diecutting; bulk waste rewinder; and motorised reel lifting.

Carbon fibre rollers, full oscillation, and special linear rider roll and dancer tension control systems on Accraply’s new DM6 Doctor Machine are claimed to offer “unsurpassed” shrink sleeve inspection and narrow web roll doctoring capabilities. Said to be ideal for narrow web shrink sleeve and wraparound label applications, it is capable of running web widths as narrow as 15mm and 0.0875-0.875N/cm. The machine’s compact frame and fully cantilevered design allow easy operator access for quick roll changes, the company states.

It can be equipped to accommodate options including UV light inspection, splice detection, LED strobe capability, automatic flag detection, and an Ethernet modem for remote diagnostics. The touchscreen control panel offers onboard help, a searchable file manager for storing unlimited job settings, and a multilingual display.

On the subject of installations, Prati has supplied three of its Sun TE330 slitter inspection rewinders equipped with AVT camera systems to help Webtech Industries, India, continue its rapid growth in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, and aid its expansion plans into the cosmetics and FMCG markets.

The Mumbai-based company now has a total of eight Sun TE330 inspection machines to ensure a high level of quality control for its products. Amar Chhajed, who founded the company in 1998, explains: “We have consistently bought Prati slitte inspection rewinders for the last few years and they have contributed a lot to our overall efficiency and quality”.

The TE330 detects missing labels, colour discrepancies and matrix waste on a wide range of pressure-sensitive labels, unsupported paper, cartonboard and aluminum. When equipped with an inkjet printhead, it can overprint variable data such as barcodes and product codes, as well as applying special inks.

Servo technology allows integration with all makes of 100% camera inspection system, and the machine can process webs up to 330mm width. For paper and transparent substrates, the electronic web guide comes equipped with an ultrasonic sensor for easy processing, as well as an infrared cell for counting silk spot labels. A touchscreen monitor guarantees ease-of-use, and self-diagnostic software informs the user about any stops or problems.

Back in Europe, Vale Labels had looked at machines from many different manufacturers, but decided that typical inspection slitter rewinders were not suited to short run digital finishing – the web path was just too long. The company eventually found a solution when it installed a DTR330 label rewinder from Daco Solutions.

Taunton, UK, based Vale is a manufacturer of high quality digital and hotfoil labels on rolls. Typical print jobs are produced on an HP Indigo WS4500 digital press and varnished/diecut on an AB Graphic Digicon.

“With some jobs of only 10m or less, I could immediately see the issue that Vale was faced with,” comments Mark Laurence, sales manager of Daco. “We recommended the DTR with an increased inspection/splicing area and a guided unwind to be the ideal solution. Three-dimensional CAD drawings were produced to show Vale the concept of the machine.”

Neil Grout, Vale’s operations manager, comments: ‘The sheer simplicity of the touchscreen and the thought that has gone into the design to suit short runs make the DTR ideal for our application. The machine was up and running within a couple of hours and the operators find it so simple to operate.”

Double R Controls on slitting of narrow widths

We all know that tension control is of paramount importance when slitting any material but when slitting narrow width products, say, 5-25 mm wide this becomes far more important, especially when they are fragile materials that need to be processed at tensions of 1-3 Newtons/25 mm. As a machinery supplier we often ask customers: “what tension do you want to wind the material at?” Invariably there answer is “I don’t know, you are the machinery manufacturer!” Our recommendation is that you would process most flexible packaging materials in the region of 10%-30% of its elastic limit.

We now have to create that tension within the process. Our recommendation is that when processing narrow width materials, especially sensitive types, centre surface winding is the optimum; however, precision is the word. The unwind tension in any process is not a critical factor as long as it is sufficient to hold the material and then unwind it without causing distortion, but maintaining it at a constant value. The minimum tension possible is the best answer. However, once the material has been transported through the machine the rewind tension is critical and when centre surface winding it is the contact force that can change the density of the reel significantly.

The centre surface winding principle provides the benefit of being able to control the contact force between the reel and the rewind drum and, secondly, the torque in the rewind shaft itself. Generally, product that is centre surface wound – unless you have individual rewind stations which is typically not the case for very narrow width materials – is wound on a common mandrel. Again precision is the answer as you require the mandrel to be running absolutely concentric with the cores on, and it is critical that the mandrel is absolutely parallel with the rewind drum itself.

An additional major advantage can be provided by controlling the speed of the rewind drum independently to the web rollers that are transporting the material through the machine. By being able to impart draw into the material this has the advantage of controlling the infeed tension/extension to the required level. Product can then be wound on two rewind mandrels and it is essential that each of these can have the rewind torque adjusted to suit the requirements of the particular product being processed. Independence here is critical.

In addition, the contact force between the reel and rewind drum needs to be adjusted in relation to machine speed and reel diameter.

The main advantage from a centre surface machine when processing these types of products is the ability to control roll density by having the ability to adjust the rewind tension and the lay-on contact force, which is providing a nip induced tension. Reference should be made to the technical documents on the Double R Controls website, www.drc.co.uk, technical information page, where you can download extensive technical documents on web handling principles and rewind tensions.

For further information contact NC Rothwell at neal.r@drc.co.uk

High precision narrow slitting

Amcor specialises in high precision narrow slitting of thin aluminium foil and plastics films for “even the most demanding applications”. Its combination of an integrated rolling operation with expertise in high precision mechanical and laser slitting and winding is said to provide the company’s foil with a “unique performance and excellent runnability”.

Amcor’s high precision slitting encompasses both laser and conventional mechanical technologies: laser cutting for thicknesses of 4-6 micron in reel widths from 250mm; mechanical slitting (circular knife) for 4-50 micron thicknesses and reels 2-800mm wide.


Number 9 in the Titan line from Atlas Atlas Converting Equipment Innovations on latest Laem machines Laem TS targets tape market with new log slitter TS Converting Film converting on Goebel’s Monoslit Goebel’s Monoslit System Braun is compact offering from Faes Faes

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Double R
Amcor
AB Graphic
Accraply
ALS
Ashe Converting Equipment
Atlas Converting Equipment
Comexi
CTC
Daco
TS Converting
Faes
Goebel
Kampf
Laem
Martin Automatic
Prati