By Melissa Donovan
When demand doesn’t necessitate high levels of production, manual tasks can suffice. However, any growing business knows that automation is required as orders expand past the point of manual practices being profitable. Many graphic arts solutions are a great example of this from digital cutters to semi-automated sewing machines.
Another segment involves converting equipment like slitters and rewinders. These devices find a home in wide format print shops, converting media in house before and after production runs. More commonly, they are used by media manufacturers and distributors.
Above: PremiumTech Window Film, based in Miami, FL, works with a NEPATA UA1650 ADWS converting center from Supply55.
PremiumTech Window Film, based in Miami, FL, began in August 1999 with two employees. It originally worked out of an 800 square foot warehouse and in 2013 moved to a 7,000 square foot building. Today it is home to ten employees. It serves the U.S. in addition to international locations including the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, and South America.
The company offers a full range of automotive, architectural and safety window films, paint protection films, computer cut software, plotters, and installation tools. It relies on converting equipment in house to better control its media inventory. It can offer its customers exact amounts of material—lengths as well as widths—without having to wait for media from the manufacturer as well as stock too many different roll sizes and material types.
Before 2021, PremiumTech Window Film’s converting department was a hodgepodge of custom-made devices. It built its own slitting machine to cut rolls of media into narrower widths and also utilized a proprietary jumbo roll rewinder to help operators transfer media from one roll to another.
This setup worked well for awhile, however, “with the growth of our business, we felt the need to improve performance and increase the number of orders being processed in a day,” explains Alex Sikorski, CEO, PremiumTech Window Film.
After conducting thorough research with industry experts and rewinder manufacturers, PremiumTech Window Film purchased a NEPATA GmbH UA1650 ADWS converting center from Supply55, Inc. in February 2021. NEPATA equipment is exclusively distributed in the U.S. by Supply55.
NEPATA specializes in developing converting equipment and software to process a variety of media in slitting, rewinding, and cutting applications. Engineered and manufactured in Germany, NEPATA converting centers utilize the latest in CNC technology. Users enjoy precise material cuts, highly accurate rewinds, and advanced inventory control, allowing for quick delivery times across a range of media at competitive prices, while avoiding waste, inventory shrinkage, and roll shortage/overage problems.
The UA series is available in four different width sizes, 770, 1650, 1850, and 1900 millimeters (mm). A number of models are part of the portfolio, with options like slitting, rewinding roll to roll, coreless rewinding, splicing, automatic cross cutting, and a slitting head line laser.
For PremiumTech Window Film, the NEPATA UA1650 ADWS made sense for its business model for a number of reasons. At 1650 mm the compact size in addition to the device being able to rewind, slit, and create labels was an important selling feature. Slitting capabilities, which this model includes, were imperative to the business.
Delivered in August 2021 and up and running in September, Sikorski remarks that the learning curve was quick and he says this was due to Supply55’s quality on-site training.
Today, PremiumTech Window Film converts approximately 60 percent of its work on the NEPATA UA1650 ADWS. This involves window films mostly in 500 square foot rolls. “Having an automated converting center provides accuracy and higher production volume to our operation,” says Sikorski.
An illustration of how the NEPATA UA1650 ADWS benefits the company involves a large international order with a short deadline, which was something Sikorski admits the company could not have achieved using its old setup.
With the use of the converting center it turned around the project in three days to meet customer demand. The request was for a total of 110 square feet of PremiumTech Automotive Window Film.
“The capability of rewinding, slitting, and creating the final labels in one process were the unique features of the NEPATA UA1650 ADWS that allowed us to overcome the challenge of fulfilling this order in a short period of time,” notes Sikorski.
PremiumTech Window Film continues to focus on further automation of its production process. Currently being developed in a factory in Germany, it hopes to install a custom heavy jumbo loader in house. With this addition, Sikorski says the plan is to convert almost 100 percent of its work in house with the NEPATA UA1650 ADWS converting center.
The NEPATA JC1650 jumbo companion unwinder, operated with the NEPATA UA1650 ADWS, processes jumbo rolls or master rolls with a diameter of up to 40 inches or a weight of up to 1,650 lbs. Positioned behind the NEPATA UA1650 ADWS, the material is fed into the machine underneath the usual web tension control allowing for efficient production of short rolls from large jumbo master rolls. The NEPATA JC1650 supports three- and six-inch cores allowing the device to process a range of media.
Investing in converting equipment assists in achieving a fully automated production workflow. While media manufacturers and distributors are some of the largest groups utilizing these devices, there is an interest from wide format print providers.
Jan2022, Digital Output