A wide array of quality unwinds, rewinds, and splicers provides converters with endless choices.
HENRY FORD'S MODEL T made the automobile a permanent fixture in American society. It was mass produced and the working man could afford it.
For all its virtues, however, the Model T had one downfall: there were no color options. "The customer can have any color he wants, so long as it's black," Ford said.
Up until about two decades ago, converters dealt with a similar situation, though not as simple as color, when looking to invest in winding and splicing equipment. At the time, manufacturers mostly supplied shafted unwinds and rewinds, and splicers were very basic. Often, converters used the unwinds, rewinds, and splicers that came with the purchase of a new press, not because that was the easiest way to do business, but because their options were otherwise limited.
"There weren't so many options years ago," said John Powell Jr., vice president of Powell Engineering, Inc. (Pinson, Ala.). "In the past, there were only shafted unwinds. If you had a big roll of paper, weighing something like 3,000 pounds, the operator putting the shaft in the roll would often get hurt. Now, there are lots of options for converters, as well as manufacturers, really. Now you have the option to buy what exactly matches your operation."
Unwinds, rewinds: A varied selection
Options are necessary in an ever-changing industry like converting, where quality standards are constantly on the rise. "You need a precise way to hold the roll and that takes good core chucks, a good unwind stand, and a good braking system that is properly sized for the application," Powell said. "That takes three vendors, most of the time."
Nowadays, that's not a problem. Converters have numerous equipment manufacturers and products to choose from, depending on their needs and market demands. And that's particularly evident with winding technology. Machine manufacturers, in fact, do their best to offer converters the best of the latest trends.