Sticking to Business
Suppliers continue to tweak splicing equipment for enhanced roll throughput and saleability.
by Susan Freidman
"Splicing technology is pretty straightforward," states Jerry von Gretener, sales manager at Advanced Web Dynamics, Bloomsburg, PA. He's not alone in his statement. Suppliers agree that a splice is well, a splice...and tape is tape. But subtle design and operation adjustments continue the progression of this finishing process.
According to "Herb" Herbert, president of West Caldwell, NJ-based CTC, specialists in narrow-web splicing equipment, the main goal of today's narrow-web splicing technology is refinementpolishing the design approach to higher line speeds, splice accuracy, splice mechanism technology and roll handling.
Electronic eye mechanisms used to locate splice marks along the register lines of preprinted material are another fine-tuning target. More converters are printing, rewinding and then taking the roll to a secondary process, so the splice mark detection process must be sped up to reduce storage needs, says David Wright, vice president at Martin Automatic, Rockford, IL.
Setting speed limits
Finding the most fitting splice configuration can depend on substrate properties and widths, as well as space and budget.
CTC's Herbert positions zero-speed splicers (as compared with the flying splice concept) as predominant in narrow-web, because they are the most flexible, can be designed as lap or butt splicers, have more accurate tension control systems, and in lap splice configuration produce much shorter tails.
Zero-speed splicing provides the utmost in control, agrees Martin's Wright, and is seeing a higher rate of success with different materials.The most difficult webs to splice are the weakest, such as half a mil thick films and foils, he adds, but zero-speed splicing's new lower inertia carbon fiber rollers can help by allowing tension as low as 8 lbs. across four meter-wide webs.
"Festoon, zero-speed systems tend to occupy more space," states Steve Carey, sales manager for Atlas Converting Equipment. He believes flying splicers offer the lowest-cost solution for medium webs 20˝ to 60˝, while zero-speed splicers provide better economics for narrow webs below 20˝. He gauges flying splicers as the most common choice for film and laminates, and sees frequent use of zero-speed with narrow-web paper, board and label stocks.