Digital Magazine

Back to Basics: Fundamentals of Successful Converting Companies

By Zeno Zonato, Sales Manager Flexible Packaging

Companies that are most seen as leaders in designing and manufacturing converting machinery are known for high-quality excellence, an innovative spirit and state-of-the-art technologies. An awareness of where the industry came from and where it’s going are essential to remaining on the forefront of converting.

In the last five-10 years, the slitting and rewinding sector has increasingly moved toward automatic devices for rolls finishing, as handling and palletization became (and will continue to be) more and more available and requested. Increasing automation, complete integration of slitters with ERP systems of the customer and efforts toward process cost reduction are on trend in slitting and rewinding processes.

In order to prepare for these industry shifts, businesses must analyze their own process and be aware of the kind of production they have — short or long runs, few or many “across”— finishing processes will have to be standardized, and rolls must be diligently cleaned from print or other process defects before slitting.

When it comes to machine life cycles and service requirements, customers will look to experts who can anticipate service and maintenance needs rather than just react to them. Through the use of new, sophisticated technologies, customers ought to be able to expect immediate worldwide support via remote assistance systems and virtual reality. Technical support should include comprehensive post-sales services including spare parts, field service, inspections, a real-time help desk, training, retrofits and upgrades, as well as relocation and preventive maintenance.

While meeting these expectations is a challenge, reducing wastes and environmental impact and, at the same time, maintaining high performances of the packaging (shelf life, coefficient of friction, etc.) while changing materials or processes, is the biggest challenge facing the industry today.

To best overcome these issues, companies must get back to a couple of basics: 1) Focus on creating a positive work environment; and, 2) Training and awareness of their employees is a must: networking activities with industry associations, training on machines, understanding of suppliers’ and customers’ requirements. Allowing employees to increase their knowledge of the converting process will add value to customers by maintaining specific skills inside their companies.

When seeking continued improvement of slitting and rewinding processes, companies must avoid using slitters as doctor machines. Defects should be eliminated from rolls before slitters, on specific machines equipped with defect detection systems.

Ultimately, converters should look at slitting rewinding as a profit center, not a cost one. Knowledge and expertise in extrusion, printing and lamination will always arrive to the slitters, all together on the same roll. That roll has to be given the best attention and the best care.

About the Author

As Sales Manager Flexible Packaging, Zeno Zonato represents IMS TECHNOLOGIES in its design and manufacturing of slitter-rewinders for converting a wide range of materials. Through its brands, IMS provides the global market solutions for slitting and rewinding plastic film, paper, aluminum, nonwovens, flexible packaging and other applications. All are defined by the highest standards of productivity, quality and precision.

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