- August 01, 2002, Teresa Koltzenburg, Senior Editor
When is overkill good? When you need to go beyond what's normally required. "We're there," says RTG Films, Chalfont, PA. With Deacro, it jumped into precision slitting and now gives its customers... DEAD ON Slit Rolls
Even the most ardent skydivers might think a dive from the stratosphere is overkill. However, such a jump (made by Joe Kittinger 42 years ago this month) had a purpose: The project's findings stood to benefit (and still does) pilots who may have to eject at high altitudes. Overkill, in this instance, is good.
Overkill at RTG Films, Chalfont, PA, also has a purpose and, says RTG's film division VP, Thomas P. Cheatle, “is the only way.”
He explains: “Our film and roll quality may be excessive for certain industries, but in the box overwrap industry in particular, [the slit product] is required to [have] above normal roll quality. When our box overwrap customers run one of our rolls, they never have to worry about roll performance causing downtime. Plus, when roll changeovers occur, no machinery adjustments need to be made to use our film. Our rolls are perfect each time. Precision slit.”
Cheatle says this precision is the result of the operation's two Deacro 653D slitters. The company purchased its first in 2000 and followed with a second in 2001. “Our capabilities range from 1-inch to 62-inch-wide slit widths, film thicknesses ranging from 60 to 240 gauge, much of it focusing on 100, 120, and 140,” he reports.
From Distributor to Dynamo
RTG Films (a division of Roberts Technology Group Inc.) was founded in 1997. Currently, it employs 22 people and utilizes about 70% of its space (out of a total of 22,500 sq ft in a newly constructed facility) for production — certainly a leap from its beginnings as just a film distributor.
“In February 1995 Roberts Technology Group acquired the US and Canadian distributorship for the Sollas line of machinery,” notes Cheatle. “Headquartered in the Netherlands, Sollas supplies overwrappers, stretch banders, and banders, which all require the use of flexible packaging films,” he adds.
It wasn't long before Roberts Technology Group saw the opportunity to supply slit film to its current base of overwrap machinery customers. So in late 1996, it began looking for a slitter. Recalls Cheatle, “Basically, RTG Films was initiated as a ‘hobby’ to complement the Sollas division. We never anticipated it would become a full-blown converting operation in less than four years.”
RTG began slitting with a Dusenbery 835, a wide web slitter that can handle roll widths to 60 in. It added another Dusenbery 635 in 1998; Cheatle says it handles web widths to 30 in., “which enables us to run smaller jobs in an efficient manner,” he adds. A year later, RTG bought a small “doctor” Stanford slitter/rewinder to complement the Dusenbery slitters.
With this array of slitting capabilities, RTG Films can slit a variety of materials for a variety of markets. Cheatle says the company buys most of its polypropylene (PP) from ExxonMobil and it slits: PP — acrylic, coextruded, shrinkable, and barrier; polyethylene (PE) — linear low-density and low density; and cellophane.
As for the markets it serves, Cheatle identifies several, including magnetic media, pharmaceutical, bakery/food, tobacco, coffee/tea, confectionery, and contract packaging. “We have even done contract slitting for a few of the major flexible film manufacturers in the industry,” he says.
Precision slit rolls require precision slitters, and according to Matt Kirby, production supervisor at RTG Films, the company found the precision (and the economies) it wanted with its Deacro units. “The quality of the Deacro rolls, as well as the accuracy of the core alignment with the film, is unbelievable,” he says. “With shorter set-up times, faster running speeds, and shaftless unwinds, the Deacro machines increase our productivity. All these things help setup, get the job on the machine, run it, and get it out the door.”
Adds Kevin Joyce, production manager at RTG Films, “The Deacro slitters have made scheduling jobs easier due to their added advantages.”
Cheatle notes precision slit rolls are extremely important for companies utilizing overwrapping equipment. “From day one, you're guaranteed the film will run straight off our roll. Many times you'll hear of companies receiving rolls from other suppliers with ‘feathered edges,’ or film sticking out of the roll, or cores sticking out of the film. On our rolls, you can run your hand flush against the roll profile and it will be perfectly smooth. This is extremely important, because if the core or film sticks out even a little bit, when you go to wrap lower profile products (such as CDs, DVDs) on high-speed equipment, you'll get products that are not sealed properly on one side — all because the film shifted say two millimeters to the right. These poor roll profile edges cause too much of an overlap on one side of the product. With the Deacros, the roll profile comes out perfect each time.”
In addition to practicing roll quality “overkill,” RTG Films is committed to reducing roll static. “We have four ionized blowers — two on top, two on the bottom of each shaft — on each slitting machine. It really is excessive for what we need to do, but it's better to do overkill as the minimum. Our philosophy is: To do it right, do it 110 percent,” says Cheatle. (Static elimination equipment is made by Simco.)
Kirby also touts Deacro's service: “There have been times…I've been on the phone with them for a good six hours straight (out of a twelve-hour day) as they walk me through various questions, helping me with troubles,” he says.
And Cheatle points out how Deacro delivers superior service even when RTG isn't having issues. “If they're nearby, say at another company, they'll stop by here and check up on our machines at their expense.”
Training is something also included in Deacro's package, says Kirby. “One of their service technicians always arrived at our facility when we were installing a new [Deacro] slitter. The technician gives it a ‘systems check’ to make sure everything is running and set up properly. Then there's a thorough, three-to-four-day training session for the machine operators, getting them familiar with tensions, the setup, and how the machine itself works. Very helpful,” he adds.
Today, it's clear RTG Films successfully has made the jump from film distributor to premier slitting operation. And while its future doesn't hold a 19-and-a-half mile plummet to Earth — with possible plans for forays into printing; a second, Canadian-based operation; and maybe even ventures into other areas in need of narrow web film rolls — the company's self-described “overkill” course promises excitement nonetheless.
RTG Films, a div. of Roberts Technology Group Inc.
120 New Britain Blvd.; Chalfont, PA 18914; 215/822-0600; rtgpkg.com
Deacro Industries Ltd., Mississauga, ON, Canada; 905/564-6566; deacro.com
ExxonMobil Chemical Co. Films Business, Macedon, NY; 800/334-7987; exxonmobil.com
John Dusenbery Co., Randolph, NJ; 973/366-7500; dusenbery.com
Stanford Products LLC, Salem, IL; 618/548-2600; stanfordproductsllc.com
Simco Industrial Static Control, Hatfield, PA; 215/822-640; simco-static.com