By Digital Output Staff
Converting solutions are essential components to traditional label production, used to convert label stock before and after production runs. Equipment in this category includes slitters, rewinders, and unwinders—each function is available as separate components or can be combined into a hybrid solution. Slitting involves cutting a roll of media into narrower widths while rewinding—or unwinding—is the action of transferring media from one roll to another.
While label converters are primary users of converting solutions, there is a growing trend to use these devices beyond just label stock. For example, vinyl, banner, magnetic, and window film material. As a result, more and more wide format print service providers (PSPs) are bringing these devices in house.
According to Chase Pender, marketing manager, Supply55, Inc., in-house converting streamlines production and adds flexibility to day-to-day operations. “In-house converting allows the user to better manage inventory by converting media for specific jobs or ordering from a parent roll of media. The added flexibility of in-house converting reduces the number of SKUs required to fill orders, improves inventory management, and reduces operating costs.”
PSPs Looking for Converting
Here is a roundup on available converting solutions suitable for wide format print providers.
ALS offers combo slitting machines designed to slit a variety of products from soft foams to hard protection films. With a roll diameter of 300 to 700 millimeters (mm), the devices feature extra support for wide logs to eliminate deflection for superior slit edge quality.
Cevenini USA LLC is a specialist in automatic log slitters and unwinders from plane and saw blade to multi-mandrel and log winders. Its E450 L DX automatic log slitter features a working width of 67 inches with the maximum weight of material loaded on an unsupported mandrel 176.5 pounds. The cutting system is a single rotating blade on one mandrel, with the ability to cut up to two mm in width.
CONTECH’s Omega Slitter Rewinder is a low-cost workhorse with deluxe features. A variable frequency drive system provides variable run speeds of up to 750 feet per minute. The device is capable of razor, score, shear slit, and rewind diameters of 18, 36, and 40 inches. It also features web guiding and material inspection features.
Lever Manufacturing Corporation is a premier designer and manufacturer of single-knife roll slitting machinery. It manufactures a complete line of automatic single-knife lathe slitters for a variety of applications. These cutting systems are capable of slitting materials such as pressure-sensitive tapes, foams, foils, films, textiles, fabric, vinyl, nonwovens, rubber, felt, fiberglass, graphite, cork, and leather. Machines include the LS-1500 16-inch OD Roll, LS-6200 20-inch OD Roll, LS-7000 23-inch OD Roll, LS-800D Dual Roll, and LFC-1500 Film Cutter.
Ribamatic’s Artik Pro is a vinyl roll rewinder, trimmer, and roll slitter all in one. The 64-inch device not only handles vinyl, but also Lexan film, paper, window film, photo paper, PVC film, electrostatic material, protective films, reflectants, and PVC banners. It boasts a fast and easy shaft-less loading system, a touch screen for programming desired length, an integrated cutting system after the rewinding process, and the ability to adjust tension while rewinding.
Robart International B.V. offers roll slitters, rewinders, and sheeters to convert rolls of vinyl, window film, banner, PVC, foam, and textiles with widths ranging from 65 to 197 inches. Of note is the RG-1650/2100V, a standard roll slitting machine with a heavy duty frame designed to keep the roll of media tightened during slitting. The machine cuts a variety of materials including digital print media.
Supply55 is the exclusive distributor in North American for NEPATA GmbH, which specializes in developing converting equipment and software to support customers processing a variety of media in slitting, rewinding, and cutting applications. NEPATA offers a range of machines to meet the demands of the specific application including coreless rewinders, converting centers, sheeters, and jumbo unwinders.
Engineered and manufactured in Germany to the highest quality standards, NEPATA utilizes the latest in computer numerical control technology making it the smart slitter, rewinder and trimmer choice. 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.
Jumbo unwinders—unwinders with the capability to handle rolls of larger weight media—are a recent addition to converting equipment options. “The need for jumbo unwinders is driven by users looking to improve efficiency and reduce operating cost. Jumbo rolls can be purchased at a lower cost per square foot compared to shorter rolls. This added cost reduction offsets the equipment purchase price and drives long-term increases in profitability,” says Pender.
Supply55 distributes the NEPATA JC1650 Jumbo Companion unwinder, which was developed to operate with the UA1650 ADWS Converting Center or the UA1650 Rewinder to process jumbo rolls with a diameter up to 40 inches, a weight of up to 1,100 pounds, and a web width of up to 72 inches. Positioned behind the 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 rolls.
The NEPATA JC1650 yields precise, accurate rewinds across a range of flexible media, including self-adhesive films, sandblasting films, vehicle wrap films, magnetic films, flex films, flock films, window tint films, paint protection films, digital print media, heat transfer material, banner material, photo paper, papers, wallpaper, reflective films, mesh, and dye-sublimation transfer paper.
Loading jumbo rolls on the NEPATA JC1650 is simple and efficient. The tension shaft is slid through the core of the jumbo roll and then positioned on the NEPATA JC1650 via a safety chuck and locked in place. The NEPATA JC1650 supports three- and six-inch cores, which allows the device to process a range of media.
Whether you are a traditional label converter or a PSP looking to bring additional efficiencies in house, wide format converting equipment might be the right decision for you. Pender says he’s noticed “increased interest in coreless rewinding, sheeting, slitting, and processing of jumbo rolls. Once a company implements a converting system with advanced workflow they immediately see efficiency gains, increased profits, and a quick payback on the equipment investment.”
Apr2022, Digital Output