- April 01, 2000, Claudia Hine, Senior Editor
Tight deadlines are a fact of life at Web Dynamics Ltd., Bolton, Lancashire, England. So when the company began its search for a slitter/rewinder to integrate in-line with its new laminating line, practical efficiency of the new equipment was a highly desired attribute, along with the ability to accommodate various materials and weights with a finished "excellent presentation."
Created specifically to develop technical textiles for niche markets, Web Dynamics is a converter of nonwoven fabrics used in industrial applications, such as building membranes, and in consumer products, such as allergy-control fabrics that offer relief to asthma sufferers.
Web Dynamics began its manufacturing operations in 1998. Today the company employs 62 people, and four shifts keep production running around the clock.
Through its proprietary Webflex process, the company layers engineered films and fabrics to match customer specifications. It typically runs microporous and monolithic cast poly-propylene films (materials suppliers are proprietary). The special fabrics act as barriers to micro-dust, airborne chemicals, and fluids while still being breathable, and they reportedly have the ability to release moisture without compromising their barrier characteristics.
Through heat, pressure, ultrasonics, and adhesives, the company produces products in combinations up to six layers. Layered materials can range from 20 g to 300 g in weight and from 50 microns to 50 mm in thickness.
Web Dynamics recently took installation of an SC1500 slitter/rewinder from Converting Solutions Ltd. (Consol) at its new 36,000-sq-ft European Production Centre in Bolton. The slitter/rewinder is designed to work in conjunction with Web Dynamics' laminating line, which was custom-designed and built by the company's in-house engineers.
The Consol equipment is a single-shaft, center surface machine with a maximum web width of 3,400 mm. Multiple full-width slitting is achieved with dovetail-mounted, crush-cutting knives cutting against a hardened anvil, crush-cut drum roller. The equipment can run at speeds to 300 mpm.
A Package That Smooths the Way
According to Dr. Les Squires, production director of Web Dynamics, several factors influenced the purchase of the SC1500. "We needed to make rolls that have excellent presentation. That means good tension control throughout the roll up to a diameter of 1,500 mm and over a wide range of product weights, and we needed to slit in-line. Consol is a local company with the skills to work with our engineers to integrate the equipment into our line."
The SC1500 is only one component of the main line supplied by Consol, which put together a package of roll unloading and roll extraction to make the entire finishing end of the line as smooth and efficient as practical, says Squires.
He explains that unloading of the finished roll is via overhead hoist with secondary hooks for increased production and operator safety. Once clear of the machine, a roll extraction system removes the roll from the rewind shaft. Shaft extraction can be done while the next roll is being wound.
Squires adds, "Getting this entire project up and running to where we want it has taken a lot of time and effort and an inordinate amount of hard work. We have found that working with Converting Solutions has been a creative partnership. We've worked together to ensure that Consol's equipment integrated seamlessly into our new lamination line.
"From the beginning we found that Consol was able to suggest practical solutions to achieve our specialist requirements," he says. "Demand for our products meant that the learning curve on the new lamination line had to be as short as possible. The after-sales support provided by Consol has enabled Web Dynamics to achieve full output against a tight deadline. Their responsiveness and enthusiasm has contributed significantly to the success of the project."
The European Production Centre was formally opened on Nov. 5, 1999, by the Department for Trade and Industry minister for competitiveness, Alan Johnson MP. Johnson gave the keynote speech on innovation in the technical textiles sector and awarded Web Dynamics a grant to assist in a development project. This Adbond Project seeks to utilize adhesive bonding combined with thermal lamination to enable a wider range of materials to be laminated and to increase the productivity of the lamination process.
When asked if all the hard work was worthwhile, Dr. Squires replies, "Absolutely! The potential offered by our new process is limitless. We can now use thermal bonding, ultrasonic bonding, and adhesives to create products that perfectly match our customers' needs."
Converting Solutions Ltd., Blackburn, England; +44 (0) 1254-668856; fax: +44 (0) 1254-668859.