ET Packaging Summit 2020

ET Packaging Summit 2020
September 17, 2020

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Lean Flexibles installs a high performance Universal X6 slitting machine

Lean Flexibles are a fast growing supplier and contract slitter of flexible packaging materials based at Hinckley, UK. Lean offer short lead time supply of a range of materials including PET, OPP, PE, CPP and multi-layer laminates. In choosing the Universal X6 slitting machine, Lean needed a wider web machine which minimised job set up times, produced consistent high quality rolls and was able to run at high speed.

The Universal X6 machine is designed for processing flexible materials. A typical specification includes digital web guiding, automatic knife setting (Computaslit), additional tension zone through slitting, closed loop rewind tension control, constant geometry contact rollers, automatic core alignment (Computacore) and a running speed of 600m/min. The machine is designed to be simple to operate with a 22inch touch screen interface. A typical changeover, including setting 20 shear knives can take less than two minutes making the machine ideal for short run work. The integrated drive and control system offers precision and repeatability with extensive diagnostics including dynamic circuit diagrams. All this performance in a machine with a small footprint.

Commenting on the investment, Darren Beardsley, Technical Director of Lean Flexibles said “To achieve our business objectives, we needed productivity, consistency,reliability and the ability to process thin extensible films through to rigid APET films.The Universal X6 has met our requirements and more. Setting shear knives used to take two people to lift the cutter shaft out and back in and the knives would take a long time to set. Now we programme the next slit pattern whilst the machine is running. Once the machine stops, the knives are set faster than we can load a new parent roll into the machine. The additional tension zone through slitting has helped us achieve consistently good quality slit edges even when running low rewind tensions. During our acceptance trials at Universal, we tailored the machine to our specific requirements, ran a range of materials and saved the settings in the recipe system. With load cell measurement of rewind tensions we know that we can return to these settings and achieve exactly the same tension profile allowing us to run at 600m/min with confidence.”

Alan Jones, MD, Universal Converting Equipment added “Lean chose to spend more than they originally planned by investing in technology that will pay back for years to come. To compete in their markets they needed to minimise downtime and maximise running speed in the knowledge that rolls will always be good quality. This is what the Universal X6 has been designed to achieve year after year. Although the X6 incorporates a lot of technology, it is based on fundamental design principles - keep the web path as short as possible, use feedback devices to ensure the machine is doing exactly as required, make the structure rigid so alignment stays perfect and ensure the machine is easy to set up and operate. Load cell tension feedback, automatic knife positioning and core alignment dramatically reduces downtime and increases the time the machine is making money.”
Few details about the Flexible Packaging Slitter
The Universal X6 slitting machine has been designed to produce perfect slit rolls time and time again. This versatile machine incorporates Universal’s closed loop Total Tension Control System ensuring consistent and repeatable roll tension profiles. Using digital AC vector drives and integrated control system, the machine offers unprecedented control whilst being simple and friendly to operate. Integrated technology allows remote diagnostics anywhere in the world simplifying ongoing support.

Slit tension zone
Unlike most competitive equipment, the X6 features an additional operator controllable tension zone.  The tension through the slitting knives can be set independently of the unwind and rewind tensions, ensuring the optimum tension through the slitting knives.

Closed Loop Tension Control
The only way to guarantee the tension profile of rolls produced is closed loop tension control. Load cells measure the tension of the material being rewound and this are compared at high speed with the set tension profile. Any deviation from the set tension profile is immediately corrected. The operator can view set tensions and actual tension and this information can be saved as part of a quality assurance system.

Constant Geometry Lay On Roller System
Precise control of the lay on rollers ensures that air is not drawn into the finished roll, allowing high quality rolls to be produced at high speed. Many machines have pivoting assemblies. These can be difficult to maintain parallel and as the rewound roll increases in diameter, effective force acting on the roll changes. The X6 uses a constant geometry lay on system that is rigid and does not change orientation at the roll increases in diameter. The perfect solution for high quality rolls.

Automatic Shear Knife Setting
Shear slitting can be the best slitting system for most materials but can take a long time to set. Universal have developed and automatic system for setting shear knives that will set the knives in the time it takes to load a new parent roll onto the unwind of the machine. The system is simple to use, reliable and very accurate. It has been cost engineered to make it a viable solution for customers who need to minimise downtime and maximise quality.