MTi-Polyexe Reduces Downtime, Improves Quality

BEACON FALLS, CT |  MTi-Polyexe of Brentwood, NH, has significantly reduced downtime and improved productivity and quality by implementing Goldenrod lightweight shafts and chucks in their blown film and extrusion coating production lines.

MTi Polyexe Corp. is a leading producer of specialty traction, weather-resistant, and protective films; backings for industrial tapes; and release liners for the building and construction market. In business since 1993, the company has 30 employees and an average annual growth rate exceeding 10%. In a recent interview at their headquarters in Brentwood, Jeff Marean, plant manager, and Herve Beauregard, production supervisor, discussed how the company has realized significant cost savings and improved roll quality with the use of Goldenrod shafts and chucks.

Goldenrod shaft in operation on MTi's coating line.

Job 1: Reducing Weight for Operator Friendliness

In 2005, MTi-Polyexe purchased a three-layer blown film line with a 90-in. web, which the company continues to run today. While the line runs well, one constant issue the company had was the shafts supporting the rolls of material on the machine were extremely heavy—over 300 lb each. This made it very difficult to remove the shafts from the cores and very challenging for operators to move and carry the shafts.

Marean was familiar with Goldenrod from his previous job at ITW Foils in Newburyport, MA. He decided to call them in to analyze the blown film line. Phil Pretto of Goldenrod recommended they replace the over 300 lb. steel shafts with Goldenrod lightweight aluminum shafts. Not only were the Goldenrod shafts less than half the weight (140 lb each), they also featured roller ledges that made it much easier to remove the shafts from the cores by easily sliding them out.

“We have numerous styles of 6-in. diameter lightweight shafts, all of which are engineered to handle specific applications,” said Pretto. “In this case we knew right away we could help MTi-Polyexe improve their blown film line operations.”

MTi-Polyexe replaced all four steel shafts in the blown film line with Goldenrod shafts, and the results were impressive. “These shafts are much better for our operator’s safety,” said Marean. “We’ve been running them for two years now, in a 24/7 operating environment, with little to no maintenance required. Our operators love them because they’re so much easier to handle.”

Jesse HamelMTi-Polyexe's Jesse Hamel holds a 6-in. lightweight shaft from Goldenrod.

Fixing a Downtime Problem

Another issue MTi-Polyexe was experiencing on their extrusion coating line was frequent downtime due to the chuck inserts wearing. The design of the original chucks was not conducive to the wear and tear associated with the line, and it showed—according to Marean, the chucks would need replacement from wear approximately every two weeks. “We were constantly having to repair the chucks, and we were seeing three hours of downtime every two weeks due to this one problem. This was costing us $2,700.00 per month and would have been over $32,000 per year if the issue was not addressed.”

Again, Goldenrod was called upon to analyze and fix the problem. The replacement Goldenrod chucks that were installed by MTi-Polyexe immediately solved the wear and downtime problem.

Cutting Coating Line Changeover Time by 50%

In addition to replacing the chucks on their coating line, MTi-Polyexe set out to improve the line’s overall operation. Using lean manufacturing principles, the company designed a new, faster changeover program to reduce waste on the line. This program included using 3-in. Goldenrod carbon-fiber shafts, 6-in. Goldenrod lightweight shafts, and the Goldenrod chucks.

The replacement shafts cut the shaft weight down by more than half, again making them much easier for operators to handle. After making the changes and implementing their new procedure in May of this year, the company was successful in reducing changeover time on the coating line by 50%. Marean estimates this saves the company more than $150,000/year.

Another key benefit to the coating line upgrade was improved end product quality. “We run 1,750-lb rolls on the coater with a single slit in the middle, at 850 feet per minute,” said Beauregard. “The Goldenrod shafts and chucks provided less deflection, which resulted in better end products. A service technician who visits us commented on how he couldn’t believe how much better the line was running.”

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