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When It Comes to Positioning, Do Rulers Really Measure Up?

The economy has flattened, and you have an overcapacity of product. Is this the time to invest thousands of dollars in a slitter positioning system when you can do the job with a tape measure?

“Yes!” say the equipment manufacturers — and they offer some pretty compelling evidence to suggest they're right.

According to Jim Driscoll, executive VP of sales and marketing with EMT International, Green Bay, WI, “One of the major trends we're seeing is that, due to an overcapacity in production on both the paper side and in film and foil, a lot of companies are taking their general converting equipment and upgrading it to reduce downtime and to reduce the overall cost per run. The industry as a whole has slowed a little bit, so people are investing more in improving the operation of their existing equipment.”

He adds, “If there is a high value in the material itself and there are multiple setups in a day, the cost for the downtime alone can lead a company to make the decision to buy a fully automated system, which is the fastest method of setting up holders.”

Dave Rumson, national sales manager of Dienes Corp., Spencer, MA, explains that the positioning systems available today range from manual to semi-automatic to fully automatic. “The automatic systems are very easy to use,” he says. “They are typically menu-driven. An operator loads in a new menu of slit widths, and every time they want to run that product request, all they have to do is call up the menu number. The computer system recognizes the job and positions everything accordingly.”

At the high end of the equipment range, Rumson says, the top knife holder and bottom knife rings are moved by servomotors, free of operator involvement. Linear bearings are used for position accuracy, speed, and reliability. “There are a lot of different combinations available. It's a question of budget and what the payback is for a particular system,” he says.


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