Industry Q&A: Web handling advances are on a roll
A. The trend toward short-run printing in flexible packaging has made narrower web widths more attractive. Another trend is toward offset and combination inline printing, for a broad range of materials, including film, laminates, paper and board. Martin continues to design and enhance our nonstop unwind and rewind platforms to accommodate these developments. In addition we have seen remarkable growth in the international markets over the past decade. In 2010, our international installations exceeded those of North America. Today we are positioned to grow and service our customers on a global scale.
A. With advances in drying and curing technology, along with improvements in drives and controls, presses can now run webs at much faster speeds. At the same time, the increasingly lighter and thinner structures only run successfully at lower web tension levels. These opposing trends of lower tensions and higher speeds present real challenges for splicing and web handling. Not that long ago, a rate of 1500 feet per minute was considered fast. Early last year, on a CI press, we installed a zero-speed splicer (with our MDR Magnetically Driven Roller technology) and automatic rewinder capable of non-stop transfers at 3000 fpm.
A. Seeking higher profits remains a constant with our customers. Generally they seek process advacements that improve their quality, shorten their lead times, and reduce their waste and operating costs. Martin has been helping customers meet those objectives for over 40 years: not stopping for roll changes means jobs are finished sooner; a nonstop process with excellent tension control means higher quality printing, curing and laminating; efficient production means better utilization of resources and less waste.
Q. Can you cite a recent customer’s benefits of using one of your systems?
A. Product variety and speed to market are key success factors among consumer product companies. The ability to run a broad range of substrates and to quickly change from one substrate to another is vital to maintaining market share and profitability. Recently, we provided a butt splicer and rewind to run 25-micron biaxially oriented polypropylene and up to 19-point paperboard for a customer that ventured from label converting into flexible packaging and folding carton. Easy changeover among the extremes of materials and consistency of butt splice quality allow this and other customers to make the bold move into a multisubstrate environment.
Martin Automatic Inc.