One of our core competencies at Optimation is in the development, design, fabrication and improvement of web-based, or roll-to-roll, processes. Optimation owns and operates a web development laboratory – we call it the Media Conveyance Facility (MCF). Many things you use on a regular basis are produced on a web, from aluminum foil to the thin glass used in cell phones.
Recently a team of Optimation’s web conveyance experts teamed up with a pair of Eastman Kodak’s IT experts to create a means to demonstrate the power of applying a process monitoring tool to a known but illusive problem. The demonstration involved using Optimation’s Thin Web Rewinder, one of the pilot machines located in our Media Conveyance Facility, and Kodak’ proprietary Process Monitor software. We elected to use roller traction as the parameter of interest, because it is a functional attribute that is subtle, making it challenging to measure and status over time.
We often say that we take away our client's pain - we solve problems for them, often complex ones. That can sound kind of vague, but that's because of the vast variety of problems we solve. Industrial clients have used us to solve problems such as machinery that requires safety guarding, or even a much larger problem like desalination of brine at a salt mine. The following example is a solution we came up with for a client with a very sensitive product produced on a roll-to-roll machine. To protect the client's confidentiality, their name and product are kept generic.
We have articulated in past posts some of the benefits of configuring processing equipment in skid form. Generally, these advantages have to do with efficient execution, that is that a skid that supports a specific processing step is more thoroughly debugged at the OEM factory, installs quicker and is turned over to production faster with minimal interruptions.
As we've said before, skids come in all shapes and sizes, for many applications and industries. Take this solvent coater we retrofitted for the New College Institute.
Have you ever experienced a problem with your automobile, where you hear an unusual noise, or feel a different dynamic (a hesitation or a loss of power), and wonder if your trusty transport is going to leave you stranded at the side of the road?
Topics: web handling
Here’s a good conversation starter: Stop what you are doing and look around you for anything and everything that is a thin film or sheet made of paper, plastic or metal. In my office space I have a calendar (paper), a computer display (film), a crumpled wrapper of a roast beef sandwich (metal foil), sticky notes (paper), office memos (paper), a trash can liner (plastic)…you get the idea. Products like these, manufactured from the noted raw materials (metal, plastic, wood) are all around us, within the touch of our finger tips. They are so commonplace that we don’t give much thought as to how they were made, and what some of the challenges might have been to convert the raw materials into something useful for us.
It has been a couple weeks gone since we held our last successful training course on Web Handling Fundamentals. I have been tabulating the attendee feedback forms, and the responses from our guests who came to the workshop are very encouraging. It is clear from the comments provided that most of the students walked away from the completed course with more tools and knowledge with which to perform their respective jobs. But a little more on that in a paragraph or two, first let’s talk a bit about what web handling is, and why its study might be important.
Many efficient, high-speed manufacturing processes are implemented using roll-to-roll manufacturing that processes a web based product.
Each year we that we offer web handling training to our clients, we hear their stories of why they decided to take the class, and later, how they applied what they learned in their plant after they left. Pete Sherer writes up a fictional story, based on our own customers and their feedback: