Flexible Packaging asked Joe Heinemann of Rayven to give his opinions on both the slitting and coating markets, and explain his company’s place within the industry.

 Q: How does Rayven set itself apart from the rest of the market?

Variety: We do it all. Some of our competitors are limited to one or two processes. Rayven is vertically integrated. We can develop coating formulas in our lab. We can cook the coatings in our mixing area. We can coat using a wide variety of coating methods. We can slit or sheet the coated web. We can package the converted sheets or rolls for industrial or retail markets.

We have 4 coating lines. Most of our lines have multiple coating heads giving us the versatility to coat many different types and thicknesses of coatings. We can coat using direct gravure, offset gravure, meyer rod, and slot die. We can also flexographic print on three of our lines.

Size: Our coating lines range from 54- through 72-inches in width.

Sitting: We have seven slitters. Our newest slitter is one of the most technically advanced models in the industry.

Q: What has been the secret to Rayven’s success?

History: we have been in the business for 55 years and during that time you develop techniques ands systems to coat a broad variety of substrates and coatings.

Attitude: We have a “can do” attitude. We are not afraid to try things and we are not afraid to be innovative. We adapt as needed, and try to say “no” as little as possible.

Experienced Technical and Production Staff: Rayven is well grounded both chemically and mechanically. We have engineers and chemists on staff that can develop new processes and/or modify existing processes in order to develop a solution for a customer. We are not limited to off the shelf coating formulas. Often, our technical staff works closely with our customers technical people. This collaboration leads to increased understanding by both parties and a strong knowledge of product expectations.

Versatile Equipment: We are able to deliver the complete solution to our customers; not just a few aspects of the coating and converting process. Some coating companies just do one thing, we do it all and our customers like the convenience of placing an order for the completed product and letting us handle the details.

Loyal Customers: The long term loyalty of our customers and suppliers has allowed us to grow and expand with them. This loyalty and trust has lead to numerous referrals for new customers and business

Q: What challenges are you currently facing as a slitter, and how do you overcome those challenges?

Many of the film release liners that we slit are considered by many to be “difficult to slit.” The reasons for this are:

• Very thin films (commonly 1-mil and 1/2-mil films)

• Narrow slit widths (3/4- and 1-inch are common sizes for Rayven)

• Inconsistent gauge - we see this more prevalently in blown films (HDPE and LDPE)

• Slippery coatings – silicone on one side can be challenging for narrow widths, silicone on two sides can be even more complicated.

• Large diameter rolls (often 30 inches or larger) of narrow slippery film.

To overcome the challenges of slitting the difficult thin release films Rayven has had to constantly upgrade our slitting technology. We used surface and minimum gap winding technology for many years, but as the roll diameter requirements increased we knew that we needed to find a better solution. We purchased a new Deacro slitter last year to move our capabilities up to the next level. This machine offered us the latest slitting technology and is giving us everything to meet our customer’s needs.

Q: What current innovations are having the most impact on the industry?

On the release liner front, we use the latest 100 percent solids chemistries that allow for rapid curing and have no solvent emissions.

Our latest C800A duplex slitter from Deacro Industries is based on closed loop tension control and has a servo driven lay on system. The lay-on system features up to 83 individual air loaded lay-on arms. The capabilities of this machine are awesome. The precise tension control allows us to slit very thin release films down to 3/4-inch wide. The Deacro will product 83 – 3/4-inch wide rolls per set. It runs the 3/4-inch material at 1,200 fpm out to 30 inches in diameter. In our experience; this is amazing productivity when you consider the difficult to slit nature of the siliconized release film.

Q: What will be the next technological or innovative “quantum leap?”

With all honesty, not much has drastically changed with coating and converting technology over the past 10 years. The industry keeps refining and improving, but I can not recall any breakthrough technology. I see a trend of continued evolutionary improvement in both chemistry and equipment.

New UV cured coatings, adhesives and inks are getting a lot of attention. I feel that this is one area that will continue to advance at a rapid pace.