Fierce converting competition and the continued development of thin web materials are generating a lot of phone calls to Enercon. Recently I've fielded several calls from customers running thin gauge film. I'm sure some of you are dealing with the same issues they are, so let me share some thoughts on what we know about running lightweight film through a surface treater.
Many of the inquiries we receive are from customers who are running thinner film than they are used to. For our purposes thin film can be defined as anything less than 1 mil in thickness.
They notice some minor wrinkling and puckering throughout the line. But when the material goes through the corona treater the problems intensify.
Material handling in and out of the corona treater is critical. Too little tension and the film wrinkles or puckers. This causes uneven treatment. And the surface treatment process will also amplify any wrinkling or puckering. On the other hand too much tension and SNAP!, the web breaks. So what options are there for improved web control around the corona treater?
For printers who run at moderate speeds and print on thin gauge material, or for printers who know they may someday have this requirement, Enercon now offers a new universal ELF (Enercon Low-Friction) roll. This light weight design significantly reduces momentum and inertia. The roll turns more freely than conventional rolls improving production stability, especially during starts and stops. The ELF roll is available on new systems and can also be retrofitted in the field
For high speed applications a nip roll and roll drive may be used to help control the web as it passes through the treater. Another device which improves web handling is a spreader roll. And of course, although you never want to hear this, slowing down the line will minimize your web handling problems.
If you would like some advice on improving your lightweight web handling in and out of your surface treater please give me a call. I'll be happy to help.
Weighing your options
First it's important to identify the true needs of your converting or extruding operation. Your web handling options will vary based on the types of materials you run and how fast you run them. Answering this question accurately is more easily said than done.
For existing lines you already know the scope of applications you handle so specific solutions may be more directly applied. If you're purchasing new equipment you're probably looking to justify the purchase and invest in a system that can handle your needs of the future.
Whether you'll ever need to run 1,000 fpm or handle a wide range of films may or may not happen. But the more future requirements you put on your OEMs the higher the chance you may end up paying for more machine than you'll use. And you also need to consider that there's often sacrifices that have to be made when you try and do too much with a machine.
At Enercon we're ready to assist you in making the tough decisions that keep your project in budget and your lines running smoothly.