React and Adapt
What do you do when you have established tried-and-true converting methods and along comes a new innovation? You react and adapt. Some suppliers of folding and gluing equipment have already done so with their product offerings.
In light of new European standards requiring Braille application on every pharmaceutical carton, companies like Bobst Group North America and American International Machinery (A.I.M.) have incorporated this technology in their product offerings. “A.I.M. is expecting this European trend to move here to the U.S. very soon, and has uncovered a low-cost, high-speed process that will apply Braille to the product as it is being produced on the folder-gluer,” says Jeff Wilcox, A.I.M. technology manager. “Formerly, the Braille application process was done exclusively on the diecutter machine. This method has a time-consuming makeready, and it created products that were thicker on one edge and could pose a feeding problem on the folder-gluer machine. Moving the process to the folder-gluer machine makes more sense and is a less time consuming makeready.”
Converters responding to a Bobst market research study said embossing Braille during the folding-gluing process is more cost-efficient than other processes. Knowing the drawbacks of existing technology and armed with this feedback, Bobst developed AccuBraille, a module that can be set up after the Accufeed on either new or installed Alpina II or Mistral fold-gluers. “The decision to apply Braille embossing with the folder-gluer brings several benefits: the runnability of the gluer is improved as the Braille is applied after the feeder, the set-up of tools takes less than 5 minutes and no additional staffing is required,” says Alan Thompson, product business manager, folding cartons, Bobst. “Furthermore, embossing can be applied very close to cut or folded edges.”
With this in mind, what should converters consider when purchasing folder-gluers? Tom Kane, business development specialist, paper and paperboard converting, Nordson Corporation, urges converters to think about adaptability. “First, equipment must meet current production needs while also being readily expandable for future needs. Second, systems must be easily changeable to serve individual job requirements and every day production demands.”