Slitting Survey

The slitter. It is (almost) ever-present and often taken for granted. But if you slit as part of your converting operation, you know how important it is. Do everything else right but neglect your slitters, and your product will suffer. In an exclusive study, Intertec Marketing Research sent questionnaires to 1,000 domestic PFFC readers selected on an nth name basis. The goal was to find out what they're using, what they want, and what they see ahead in slitting and rewinding.

Specifically targeted were subscribers using a slitting process and indicating the following converted package types: flexible packaging; unprinted rolls or sheets; office products; and sanitary products.

We received a 24% response rate, with 237 completed surveys returned. Of those responding, 3 of 4 are involved with slitting equipment. Following is a summary of the results. (Statistics were calculated according to standard practices.)

More than one-third of respondents are planning to purchase slitting equipment in the next 12 months. Nearly half or more of all involved converters rated upgradable features (56%) and differential winding technology (48%) important factors when selecting slitting equipment (see Figure 1).

When asked how important various factors are when selecting a supplier of slitter/rewinders and accessories, about 90% indicated product quality/reliability as important, followed by 86% indicating parts availability. Less than 20% indicated that lowest price or financing availability is important. In fact, 49% of larger firms (more than 100 employees) indicated that financing availability is unimportant, while 36% of smaller firms agree (see Figure 2).

When asked whether programmable core/knife positioning systems will factor into future purchases, 39% of involved respondents said yes. However, respondents tend to disagree depending on company size, with 52% of converters from larger companies expecting the systems to factor into future purchases, almost double the number of respondents (27%) from smaller companies.

Of those responding, 47% indicated they use center winder systems; 60% of that figure are from larger firms. Also, 45% of larger firms indicate they are planning to purchase center winders in the next 12 months, more than double the amount of small firms (18%); 43% plan to purchase a combination center/surface system in the next 12 months.

In other areas: Respondents use shear cut, razor blade, and score cut systems about equally; 71% indicate running roll web widths of greater than 36 in.; production/engineering personnel are almost always involved when specifying products for a slitter line; and 60% of respondents indicate that slitter/rewinders will be off-line in the future.

Overall, converters will spend $133,000 on slitting equipment in 2001, slightly down from 2000. Small companies expect to spend an average of $64,000 in 2001, while larger firms expect to spend $223,000. These spending patterns are similar to those that were seen in 2000.

Figure 1

Purchase Factors
Base = involved respondents Mean Top-two box (a rating 5 or 6)
Upgradable features 4.5 56%
Differential winding technology 4.4 48%
Ability to specify whose controls (i.e., drives, brakes, web guides, knives, tension controls, etc.) will be used 4.1 36%
Remote diagnostic features for identifying/isolating problems and scheduling routine maintenance 4.0 31%
Ability to slit in register with applied coatings 3.8 38%
Roboticized material-handling features at either end of a slitter/rewinder line 3.3 19%
Base = involved respondents (176).

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