Digital Magazine

Contract Converter Finds Midwestern Niche

Midwest Converting saw a need in its geographic area for an operation that concentrates on contract converting solely. Helping the company fill that need successfully are two high-speed drum slitters from Ausquip.

The best fit is always the most comfortable—when it comes to shoes (particularly during trade shows), pants, and converting operations. Most people probably would say cotton khakis are much more comfortable than itchy wool trousers. And most likely, many converters would describe the most comfortable environment to operate in is one that provides them with the "best fit."

At least that's the philosophy of Robert Srebalus, president of Midwest Converting Inc., Bedford Pk., IL. He started up a contract converting business in south suburban Chicago last year mainly because it was a niche in which he could provide his services; it was the fit for which he was looking. Helping that fit are two Ausquip high-speed drum slitter/rewinders.

Into the Market
"There was a need for a company in the Midwest that only does contract converting, one that doesn't buy or sell paper," Srebalus explains.

"Most of the people in this area that are doing converting for merchants, mills, and printers buy and sell paper, so time on the machines is limited. We decided to open up a company here that just converts paper for the merchants, mills, and printers."

In order to enter the niche with its slitting, sheeting, trimming, and reconditioning services, Midwest Converting needed equipment. As with most new businesses, says Srebalus, getting the finances in order for capital investment was an issue.

So he decided to go with the most cost-effective option and bought used equipment for the operation's sheeting and trimming needs: an 81-in. Hamlet sheeter for paper; an 88-in. Clark-Aiken board sheeter; and a 110-in. Lawson trimmer—all of which he purchased from Global Equipment Ltd..

Obtaining equipment for slitting and rewinding the paper-based substrates was a different story, Srebalus adds. "The type of high-speed rewinders [that we wanted] are not often available in the used market. Being a start-up business, we needed something pretty economical."

His connection with Global Equipment brought Srebalus to Ausquip, but, he notes, it was the performance, cost, and fast delivery of the Australian company's slitter/rewinders that made him buy from Ausquip.

"The first machine I bought, which is the JS, is a 92-inch, high-speed rewinder that can run up to 4,000 feet per minute. Ausquip supplied the machine only two months after I had been in business. It has been running seven days a week since we installed it in the summer of 1999."

An increase in orders spurred Srebalus to install the company's next slitter/rewinder only one year later. The second Ausquip machine, the JM, was installed in June of this year and is capable of running widths up to 110 in. and operating at speeds up to 5,000 fpm.

Notes Srebalus, "The choice of our slitting/rewinding equipment gives Midwest the flexibility and capacity to service its expanding customer base."

The converting operation runs on a two-shift schedule seven days a week, has 33 employees, and can process paper from 30# newsprint up to 0.030 coated or uncoated boardstock.

Midwest Converting not only has the ability to continue to expand its slitting/rewinding services, it also has the room. Currently, it's located in a 256,000-sq-ft facility, but Srebalus says the operation is using only 60,000 sq ft of the space now. "We will be able to utilize the additional area, if we need it."

With the capacity of the two Ausquip slitter/rewinders and a current converting rate of 7 million lb/mo, Midwest Converting may soon find its best fit is a bigger one.

Supplier Info
Ausquip Inc.
, Montgomeryville, PA; 215/646-9778

Global Equipment Ltd. Mundelein, IL; 847/949-5900

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