Roll Handing - The Key to Balancing Productivity, Safety
Roll handling equipment helps maintain productivity and protect employees, but it can also make the process of
mounting hard-to-handle substrates a cinch.
TODAY'S POPULAR PACKAGING substrates aren't the easiest to handle. Materials like films and foils telescope and have more issues with core damage than hardier substrates like paper, which complicates the should-be-simple process of placing a roll on press.
There are roll handling remedies, however, that help make these types of materials easier to deal with, while helping companies keep their employees safe from work-related injuries. From simple machine add-ons to custom-made technology, roll handling equipment manufacturers have the solutions.
"The equipment can be adapted or tailored to particular applications," said Chris van Haasteren, president, Schlumpf, Inc. "Slippery films tend to telescope and, therefore, the unit needs to be equipped with an anti-telescoping clamp. Applications where core damage is a concern can be handled with modified gripping elements, etc."
Telescoping and damage to the edges and cores of film and foil rolls aren't the only complications converters and printers have to address with roll handling technology. Different advancements in flexible packaging substrates and design ornamentation materials have increased their popularity, but these materials are heavier than the substrates used in the past, said Jerry Morton, Tilt-Lock general manager. This is why, he added, "Good roll handling equipment is absolutely necessary to prevent back injuries."
On-the-jobs injuries stemming from operators lifting and moving heavy rolls around the facility are prevalent and very costly. The statistics are eye-opening. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, 1.3 million injuries and illnesses in private industry required recuperation away from work in 2003. Among the top three occupations with the greatest number of such injuries and illnesses was material movers.
While preventing problems, such as damage to rolls, is a top priority for many converting and printing companies, it's important to find a balance between productivity and protecting operators, van Haasteren said. "The use of roll handling equipment is a balance between productivity and risk. In many cases, it's faster handling a roll by hand, but conversely nothing is potentially more dangerous and potentially more costly to the company if an operator is injured. So, we as a supplier, need to address both issues: the roll handling equipment should minimize or eliminate the risk of operator injury, but not significantly impede the productivity requirements," he said.