Emerging from COVID-19 Restrictions One Step Ahead

Posted by Pete Sherer on Jun 25, 2020 7:30:00 AM

<span>Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@imattsmart?utm_source=unsplash&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText">iMattSmart</a> on <a href="/s/photos/covid?utm_source=unsplash&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a></span>It has been an interesting several months of attempting to service our clients under the pandemic related constraints. At Optimation, we have observed many of our clients who have, out of necessity, had to scale back their operations, including things like pursuing needed capital improvements to their manufacturing equipment. One market segment that we participate in, that we have observed struggling with factory shutdowns and limited personnel access is the industry that relies on roll to roll manufacturing methods and machinery to produce their products.

There is now an emerging sentiment in the marketplace, that has created a groundswell support harkening to the rallying cry of returning to “Made in America!”. We are noticing that our customers are placing new emphasis on doing more of their production here, rather than sourcing their manufacturing to offshore operations. This is driving a renewed commitment to domestic production platforms, in the form of increased capitalized maintenance as well as investments into new technologies and machine improvements. We are observing that our customers that utilize roll to roll manufacturing are now exploring how to extend and enhance the capabilities of their USA based factories, rather than sending their business outside of the U.S.

We applaud this change in strategy, and ask the question, “What can we do to help our clients come out of this unique set of circumstances one step ahead of where they were when the COVID-19 pandemic throttled their business goals?” With production machinery not being fully utilized, due to limited crew sizes and social distancing, is now the time to investigate and plan those needed fixes and upgrades, such that when production comes back on line at full capacity, quality is up, yields are higher, and throughput is elevated to make up for lost time and revenue?

Specifically, Optimation’s Media Conveyance Facility has the process development capability for companies in the roll-to-roll segment that is the perfect tool to help these flexible web manufacturers study the properties of their products, and the state of their existing equipment. Optimation provides on-site bench marking of the current performance parameters of a roll-to-roll company’s machinery and can create a road map for process improvements based on the science of web handling. Optimation offers a suite of analytical tools and capabilities that can be brought to bear to measure a customer’s product characteristics, as well as gather the needed machine performance data; this information, coupled with background information provided by staff technical personnel, allows Optimation’s web handling experts to make improvement predictions utilizing math models for such machine dynamics as traction, tension, and web defect remediation.

MCF Class 2017

With process improvement recommendations in hand, as provided by the detailed analysis of the customer’s product and equipment, the stage is set for the forward-thinking company to invest in selected machine upgrade projects. The goal to shake off the malaise of the pandemic is now conceived; the path to raise the performance of the web line to new standards can now be articulated via specific treatments to the web handling machinery. The science of web handling becomes a precursor to engineered, designed, fabricated and installed modifications that will now deliver the intended improvements. These step changes will ensure that the savvy roll-to-roll manufacturer launches back into his market more muscular than when he was forced to abandon it just a few months ago.

Optimation is uniquely qualified to help our flexible web-based manufacturers in this space, as we pride ourselves in being able to provide custom solutions to our clients, regardless of the OEM provider of the installed base. Once we have agreed to the scope of the client selected improvements, we are able to develop a unique solution designed to integrate into the existing equipment, mechanically, electrically, and from a software/control’s perspective. Our universal approach ensures that the requisite upgrades, targeted to deliver the predicted process improvements, can be fabricated, installed and debugged in a controlled fashion with the needed performance results.

We would ask our flexible web-based manufacturer friends and partners the questions, “Are you ready for the resurgence? Will you be positioned to take advantage of the pent-up demand? What can we do to help you be positioned to get back into your game stronger than when you left?”    


Check out one of our web handling classes to learn more! 

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Or, just get in touch with us. 

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Topics: web handling, COVID-19

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The goal of this blog is to be helpful to readers by providing useful information about applications in industrial engineering, design and skilled trades, as well as industry knowledge. We're passionate about manufacturing in the United States. We have a little fun with it too.  

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