Get a Grip on Rolls
Not every converter needs top-of-the-line roll handling equipment. However, safety, reliability, and durability are three important features to have to ensure increased productivity and economics.
THE WORTH OF quality roll handling equipment should not be underestimated. Such machinery plays a quiet, although important and cost-saving, role in the equation Product Converted/Time = Money, according to David Ellingsworth, vice president of RG Engineering Inc.
"To save a customer time is to increase overall capacity and the equipment's ability to make money," Ellingsworth said. "When handling standard roll weights ranging 2,000 to 6,000 lbs., the less contact the operator has with the roll the faster and safer the entire process becomes. An operator will quickly build trust in a high-quality machine that helps and protects him or her. This trust will produce more product converted in a shift, or less time per finished product."
Increased productivity is but one way quality roll handling equipment helps companies feed their bottomlines. The right machinery also can reduce on-the-job injuries, said Jerry Morton, general manager of Tilt-Lock. Considering that work-related musculoskeletal disorders account for $1 of every $3 spent for workers' compensation, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), decreasing the number insurance claims and lost time due to injury is a significant money saver.
In addition, Morton said, roll handling equipment can reduce or eliminate product damage, decreasing costly material waste.
The right stuff
There's a variety of roll handling equipment on the market today, from robotic to manual. However, not every converter needs the most expensive, top-of-the-line roll handling machinery.
"Converters need roll handling that is the most cost effective for their individual operations. High-end robotic systems do not necessarily make good economic sense for medium-to-small converting companies," Morton said.
Ellingsworth added, "If every converter used new high-quality roll handling equipment, nobody could afford their finished goods. There must be a balance defined by the finished goods and the available labor quality. For some products, a pallet on a hand truck may prove to provide similar productivity compared to an automated roll lift that ejects to a cart. Unless the customer is purchasing a show-piece machine to demonstrate to his customers, it is never a long-term benefit to push a feature or product that will not easily demonstrate its worth in productivity.