The MSH provides the heaviest cutting loads available for a stationary bed knife design. Designed for larger converters, it can accommodate both short and long order runs.

Sheeter Trims Plant’s Labor By 50%

All State Packaging Co., located in Opelika, Al, is a folding carton manufacturer with an eye toward the future. The company was founded in 1977 and serves a customer base concentrated in the southeastern Unites States.

The company’s commitment to upgrade equipment coincides with its future plans. Chuck Bowman, All State’s plant coordinator, explained: “Over the years, we have upgrade equipment in each department. As a service-oriented company, we try to look at what is needed now and what will be needed in the future.”

Two areas that All State has upgraded recently are the printing department and the sheeting department. A demand for additional color work has led the company to purchase a five-color printing press. However, this created a production dilemma: The company’s existing sheeting equipment would be hard pressed to keep up with the demand once the new press went on-line.

All State’s search for a sheeter involved looking at both new and used equipment. “We looked at used equipment but decided it wasn’t any better than what we already had. We decided a new sheeter was the way to go after forecasting new jobs and growth patterns,” Bowman said.

The sheeter that could best meet All State’s demands for speed and accuracy was the MSH sheeter from Maxson Automatic Machinery Co., Westerly, RI. According to Bowman, “We saw the sheeter in operation at another folding carton plant and had heard good reports.”

All State claims that within two weeks of startup savings were already being realized. “Before we had the new sheeter, we were sheeting two 10-hour shifts five days a week, plus eight hours of overtime on Saturday. After the first week, we eliminated overtime. After the second week, we went down to sheeting only a single shift,” commented Bowman.

The new sheeter operates consistently at 1,070 fpm. Bowman stated: “Our operator runs the sheeter as fast as it will go.” As many as 18,000 sheets are produced in a single hour, compared to All State’s previous sheeters, which averaged only 4,500 sheets per hour.

The new sheeter has a close tolerance drive and provides a sheeting length accuracy of +/- 0.023 inches. The sheeted stock goes on to other finished equipment such as a printing press or a die cutter without the need for secondary trimming.

Bowman reported: “Sheet length could vary on our old equipment by as much as one-quarter of an inch.”

According to All State, setup time has also been reduced with a clutch box arrangement. The operator simply sets the desired cutoff. Bowman replied: “Instead of having the machine to change gears, it’s all completed automatically.”

At All State, the sheeter handles board calipers ranging from 0.016 inches to 0.024 inches. The company’s product mix features a variety of board, such as clay-coated news back, SBS board and polycoated board.

“Occasionally, we sheet job-lot rolls, which have been sitting on one end,” said Bowman. In this case, when egg-shaped rolls are sheeted at high speeds, the result could be a “taut-slack” web flow. This affects sheet-length accuracy. For this reason, All State selected a dancer roll system to absorb web fluctuation when sheeting out-of-round rolls at speeds up to 1,100 fpm. A Westvaco decurl was also selected.

Bowman estimates that the sheeter and the options have improved All State’s waste reduction efforts by 90%. He added: “We have greater quality control. The sheets are square and cut cleanly with no jagged edges.”

According to Bowman, the decision to invest in a Maxson sheeter was a smart move. He said, “If a company wants to maintain constant growth, then that Company has got the right equipment.”

Reprinted from Boxboard Containers, September 1990

Quality Assurance is Key in Paperboard Converter’s Growth

By meeting customer requirements through quality assurance and increased operating efficiency, Telfer Packaging, a Toronto company, has become a leading supplier of sheet-fed, offset folding cartons for the detergent industry.

Due to a recent expansion and by investing in state-of-the-art equipment and setting up a sheeting operation in-house, the company can now supply manufacturers with high quality paperboard products at a competitive price, Telfer’s customer base has expanded and sales have increased 35% over the past three years.

“We are a different company, in terms of capabilities, from what we were three years ago before we expanded,” says president Ken Clements. “We couldn’t compete against other converts who were producing higher quality products at lower costs, until we significantly updated pour operation.”

According to Clements, developing a quality assurance program has helped boost the company’s image as a supplier of high quality folding cartons. “We used to believe in quality control, which meant catching mistakes after they had been made,” he says. “With our current program, we now look for defective material at the beginning of each production stage.”

Quality inspectors check board as it arrives from the mills to ensure it meets the proper specifications. “In the case of a detergent carton, we need stiffness and the proper caliper of board,” Clements comments. “We look for these qualities before the board is sheeted or printed so we can reduce labor costs and waste.”

Telfer’s commitment to providing its customers with the highest quality products led the company to set up an in-house sheeting operation. While Telfer had been purchasing its sheeted stock from U.S. suppliers at a lower cost than from Canadian mills, it was still paying to have its board custom-sheeted.

“By sheeting our own board, we felt we could increase the quality of the cut board and reduce our overall costs,” Clements states. “Temperature and humidity variations in our plant may cause lower caliper, custom-sheeted board to distort, which leads to problems at the press. In-house sheeting has allowed us to decrease waste levels and increase profits.”

Telfer investigated several sheeter models, and chose an MSH precision sheeter from Maxson Automatic Machinery Company, and two self-loading shaftless back stands to reduce set-up time. According to Clements, the sheeter has met the company’s standards for clean, square sheets.

“One concern in the offset folding carton industry is the ability to produce a neatly printed product. Hickeys can be a major problems since they cause printing flaws and results in a poor-looking carton,” he said.

Clements notes that an accumulation of dust on pre-printed board is the major cause of hickeys. To ensure the cleanest sheeted board. Telfer had a PEN MAM dust collector installed on its sheeter as an optional component. It vacuums dust generated by the cutting and slitting of the sheet at the delivery tape section.

The opposing top and bottom suction headers cause the delivery tapes to vibrate, further eliminating dust from the tapes.

After the delivery tape section, sheets are directed to the stacker. The true test of a good sheeting job becomes obvious here, because, if sheet length tolerances are off, then the board may not meet specification for a particular product, Clements says.

“The Maxson sheeter delivers a press-ready skid and maintains sheet length accuracy +/-0.023 in. at all times,” he reports. Telfer converts recycled and solid bleached sulphate (SBS) board at caliper grades from 12 to 30 points. Telfer is now able to sheet board at speeds of up to 1000 fpm. An extending grid system allows the operator to sheet board continually while offloading the stacker, saving valuable production time and increasing overall output. The company currently produces one million sheets per month, operating 10 hours a day.

Telfer also boosted productivity by purchasing two new Miehle-Roland presses. To further increase productivity and reduce problems associated with off-line coating. Telfer decided to install a coater/perfector on one of its new 63-in. presses. The press allows Telfer to print up to six colors, apply a high-quality aqueous coating and perfect print register. The “one-pass” perfecting option offers packaged goods manufactures a fast , cost-efficient way to obtain two sided printing on most cartons. In addition, Clements notes, aqueous coating provides a clean gloss, heavy spray powders and helps avoid off-line coating problems.

The installation of a pre-feed unit and case packer on a high speed gluer has also increased output of the finished product. Detergent cartons can now be glued at a rate of 28,000 per hour – double the capacity before upgrade.

To ensure constant operating efficiency, Telfer also introduced a just-in-time policy. Quality assurance along every step of the sheeting, printing, die cutting and gluing operations is key to keeping waste levels minimal and quality levels high, notes Clements. “Quality assurance has enabled us to offer our customer a quality economical product,” he says.

“Our goal with a just-in-time policy has been to decrease turnaround delivery time,” he concludes. “And with the new printer and sheeter, we’ve been able to do this. As a result, we have formed a more healthy relationship with our customers.”

Reprinted from Pulp & Paper Canada, August 1987

Precision Sheeter Offers Merchant Greater Flexibility

For the past 50 years, Blue Star Paper Company has been a quality supplier of sheeted paper stock. Five years ago, the company shifted its product mix to board grades. Located in

Baie d’Urfe, Quebec, Blue Star is a job lot merchant serving commercial printers and folding carton operations within the greater Montreal area.

bluestar1According to the company’s president, Sam Lieblien, Blue Star’s niche lies in the ability to turn orders around quickly. While deliveries of sheeted stock from the mills can take up to 2 weeks, Blue Star can ship an order in 3 days or less. He comments, “We serve a time sensitive market. For this reason, our lead times are measured in days, not weeks.”

Until recently, Blue Star sheeted its board on an older sheeter and then trimmed to a finished size on a guillotine cutter. While this arrangement met the demands of the Blue Star’s sheeting requirements, Lieblien wanted something better. “We wanted to avoid guillotine trimming. A precision sheeter would eliminate this extra labor step and give us more reliability and efficiency.”

Blue Star’s product mix, customer base and emphasis on quick service meant they needed a sheeter that could handle both short and long runs efficiently. Reliability was also an important requirement. Lieblien adds, “Purchasing a precision sheeter represented a big investment relative to the size of the company. For this reason, dependability was crucial.”

After investigating several sheeter designs, Blue Star selected the MSH Sheeter from Maxson Automatic Machinery Company (Westerly, RI). The MSH Sheeter has a heavy duty cutting head, and sheets a variety of boxboard grades including SBS, TMP, screening board and CCNB.

“Even though our operators had little or no sheeter experience, there were no problems with startup. Training the operators was a breeze.” During installation, MAXSON provided a field erector to optimize the machine’s performance.

The MAXSON Sheeter features numerous equipment options, including a twin motor drive. Utilizing the latest technologies, the drive system provides square, accurate sheets. “Because the sheeted stock goes onto our customers’ high speed printing presses, squareness is very important. We have never had a complaint.”

bluestar2Other equipment options on the sheeter include a double direction decurl unit, an Airfoil Overlap system, and an extending grid. Of all the options, Lieblien feels that the decurl improvement. “Our sheet yields have improved towards the end of the roll. The combination of the decurl and the twin motor drive has lowered our waste by 3 percent.”

The MSH Sheeter features MAXSON’s Airfoil Overlap system, which eliminates jam-ups at the point of overlap when sheeting at high speeds. This patented device forces the tail end of the first sheet down, while forcing up the leading edge of the oncoming sheet.

Another option selected to reduce downtime was an extending grid allows for continuous operation during skid changes. The grid fingers shoot out over the pile, collecting the sheeted stock until the operator moves a new skid into position.

Lieblien is pleased with the new sheeter, noting that it has offered the company greater flexibility. “Our lead times are the same, but with the MAXSON, we now work less overtime to get the job done.” In terms of payback, Lieblien adds, “The MAXSON will meet or exceed the payback period we anticipated.”

Reprinted from The Sheeting Monitor, June 1992

New Converting/Distribution Center Helps Cross Pointe Optimize Quality

In June 1988, Miami Paper Corp. and Flambeau Paper combined their respective resources to create Cross Pointe Corp. (subsidiary of Pentair Inc.). The formation of this new company allowed both companies to better serve customer with a wider selection of high-quality printing paper.

Cross Pointe’s product line feature premium paper grades. A high percentage of the paper manufactured is deinked, with a recycled content of 50% or more. Strong demand for paper made from recycled fibers has helped fuel Cross Pointe’s growth despite a softening paper market.

In response to increased demand for its product, Cross Pointe recently constructed a converting and distribution center in West Chicago, IL. The family provides 152,000 sq ft of space for converting and warehousing operations. Roll stock is delivered by rail and truck.

On average, about 300 to 400 tons of roll stock are in process inventory and available for sheeting. According to Jim Winn, vice president of marketing, “The new facility was designed to consolidate efforts. Plus, we also were looking to increase our sheeting capacity to satisfy the needs of a growing out-of-stock carton business.”

Investment In Control

Cross Pointe had previously relied heavily on outside converters to sheet its roll stock. By setting up its own sheeting operation, the company could have greater control over the quality of the finished product.

The new sheeter had to satisfy Cross Pointe’s demands for accuracy and production. “We needed to precision sheet without guillotine trimming. We also needed a sheeter that could meet our tonnage goals,” Winn said.

After studying the equipment available, Cross Pointe selected the MSH Sheeter from Maxson Automatic Machinery (Westerly, RI). “We chose the Maxson because of its accuracy and high-speed capabilities,” Winn explained. “it met our tonnage goals. Also, we were impressed with the sheeter’s heavy-duty construction.” Another important factor for Cross Pointe was delivery. “Delivery of the new sheeter was reasonable and in line with our startup schedule,” Winn added.

At Cross Pointe, the MSH Sheeter handles both text and cover stock in basis weights ranging from 50 to 146lb. Since accuracy was important, the sheeter has dual motor drive, which provides a sheet-length accuracy +/- 0.015 in. The sheeted stock is then packaged into cartons without needing secondary trimming.

The MSH Sheeter operates at speeds of up to 1,100 fpm and is capable of producing 104 tons of sheeted stock in 24 hours. The sheeter features Maxson’s Airfoil Overlap system, which eliminates jams at the point of overlap when sheeting at high speeds. This device forces the tail end of the first sheet down while forcing up the leading of the oncoming sheet.

Options for Better Production

To optimize efficient sheeting, Cross Pointe chose options that would reduce downtime. These included shaftless roll stands, an extending grid and a shuttle car system. “We selected options which would allow us to pick up additional tonnage,” Winn said.

To speed setup during roll changes, Cross Pointe selected four shaftless roll stands. The shaftless roll stand eliminates the need for overhead hoists when loading rolls into place and activates the roll stand. The back stand automatically grabs the roll and lifts it into running position. As a result, a four-roll set change is complete in 20 min.

Another option selected to reduce downtime was an extending grid, which allows for continuous operation during skid changes. The grid fingers shoot out over the pile, collecting the sheeted stock until the operator moves a new skid into position.

An added timesaver is a shuttle cart system, which eliminates the need for a forklift truck while offloading skids. During skid changes, the operator lowers the table and offloads the finished skid onto a shuttle cart. The shuttle cart moves the skid off the side and out of the way. At the same time, a second shuttle cart is placed over the table and raised into position. The skid that is finished can then be removed at convenience of the operator.

“One of the benefits of sheeting in-house is we can provide our customers with faster turnarounds,” Winn said. “Since consolidating our warehouse, converting, and distribution functions, we can serve 80% of our market within 24 hours.”

Quality control is another benefit of sheeting in-house. “Our goal was to reduce dependence on outside sources for sheeting. The Maxson sheeter has accomplished this goal, and the result is greater in-house quality control,” Winn said.

Reprinted from Pulp & Paper, October 1990

Music Industry Carton Maker Moves Up the Charts

The ability to adapt to marketplace conditions can often give a company the edge it needs over its competition. In today’s folding carton industry, fast, consistent, and dependable service with an emphasis on quality is the key to success. Disc Graphics, based in Hauppauge, NY, is one such company that has made uncompromising dedication to service and quality their top priority.

For 13 years, Disc Graphics has been a leading folding carton manufacturer specializing in printing for the home video, pharmaceutical, music, publishing and cosmetics markets. Increasing sales and a growing demand for the company’s products have allowed Disc Graphics to be ranked among the 50 fastest growing printing companies in the United States. The company has also earned the honor of being listed among the “Top 500 Printers in America” for the past three years, finishing 1996 by being listed at 183 (as compiled by Printing Impressions magazine).

Disc Graphics began as the successor to Pickwick International, a fully owned subsidiary of American Can. In 1983 Disc became an independent, private company due to a management buyout. Current management took control in 1986, stimulating the company’s dramatic sales growth of $3.1 million annually to over $36 million in 1995.

Today the company employs a total of 400 people and operates primarily from its 95,000 square foot facility in Hauppauge, NY. Disc Graphics has expanded to include an operation in Rockaway, NJ, that specializes in producing pressure sensitive labels and packaging for the entertainment, vitamin, and pharmaceutical industries. Their third specialty printing facility, located in Burbank, CA, was recently acquired to develop innovative packaging techniques and to allow the company to be in closer proximity to their West Coast customers. The company has already begun the process of increasing the capacity of this facility with the addition of new and specialized equipment.

Disc Graphics attributes its rapid growth to their dedication to quality and service. The company is confident in their ability to, “analyze the marketplace, satisfy client needs for quality products, provide responsive service, and compete on a cost basis,” as stated in its 1996 annual report. This philosophy is apparent when viewing Disc’s achievements within the music and entertainment field.

The company began its operation as a producer of eight track and album covers for this industry. Stephen Frey, Disc Graphics’ Vice President of Operations, notes, “The music industry proved to be our first forte,” says Stephen Frey, Disc Graphics vice president of operations. Disc Graphics’ ability to offer their customers a quality product with a quick turnaround gained it many of its accomplishments. This developed into Disc Graphics’ special niche of offering the entertainment industry the high level of quality and service that is necessary in the production of its packaging materials.

Though the company found early success with that venture, it did not allow itself to rest on its laurels. “We didn’t want to put all of our eggs in one basket. With the onset of home videos, we saw an opportunity to expand our folding carton business. That business has since grown to include over the counter private label pharmaceutical cartons as well as packaging for the computer software, cosmetics, liquor, and luxury goods industries. These customers demand high end packaging for their respective markets.” Frey says. The ability to service this clientele might be best summed up by the company’s principles of operation. “Our company operates under three principles; the quality of our products must be consistently dependable, our service must be quick and concise, and our pricing must be competitive to satisfy highly sophisticated markets,” he adds.

music2To satisfy these requirements, Disc Graphics has continually invested in high technology printing equipment. At its Hauppauge, NY facility alone, it operates five multi-color 40″ presses, including two-color, five-color, and six-color Heidelberg presses, as well as six-color and eight-color KBA-Planeta presses. The company’s finishing capabilities include die cutting, folding, gluing, film lamination, embossing, and stamping. “The company has achieved significant cost reductions in printing and has streamlined project management by offering nearly every pre-press and post-press operation in-house,” Frey says.

As part of the creative side of the business, Disc Graphics offers carton design services via two CAD/CAM work stations complete with sample making capability and has a pre-press department that includes color separation, laser scanning, a Scitex system, and Macintosh based electronic pre-press work stations.

Disc Graphics’ trend toward bringing many aspects of their production processes in-house has made the company take a look at the benefits of in-house sheeting. They saw that by sheeting their own stock, they could realize the benefits of reduced inventory cost, more efficient scheduling, and quality improvement.

First, Disc Graphics saw that in-house sheeting could offer them inventory savings. A great deal of warehouse space and capital was invested in their inventory, due to the necessity of housing tremendous amounts of materials of different sizes. If the company began to sheet in-house, it would be able to buy and store rolls, thus keeping costs down and making the most efficient use of warehouse space.

Second, scheduling was a major concern for the company. Due to Disc Graphics’ inventory space constraints, resource needs had to be projected into the future. Disc Graphics needed to approximate what size and type materials might be needed in the coming months. It also needed to allow for lead times that would match with its Just-In-Time inventory procedures. With sheeting in-house, Disc Graphics would be able to stop the difficult guessing game and produce sheeted stock in the sizes necessary at the appropriate times.

Finally, the quality of their product would benefit from in-house sheeting in two ways. Once it had their own sheeting equipment, the company would be able to produce cut-to-size sheets on demand. This would eliminate sheet delivery lead time and improve their turnaround time. “The majority of our customers require quick turnarounds as they operate in time sensitive environments,” Frey explains. “Prior to sheeting in-house, we had to wait up to four to six weeks for delivery of sheeted stock from an outside source. Once the shipment arrived in-house, we were then required to turn the order around within 24 to 48 hours.” They also realized that by bringing this operation in-house, they could exercise greater control with regards to quality standards.

After carefully researching and examining the equipment available, Disc Graphics decided upon the purchase of an MSH Sheeter from Maxson Automatic Machinery Company (Westerly, RI). “We selected the MSH because it provided the cut quality we were looking for,” Frey says. Disc was also impressed with Maxson’s willingness to work with them to design a machine to meet their requirements.

At Disc Graphics, the MSH Sheeter handles both coated and recycled board grades ranging from 0.006 inches to 0.026 inches thick. While the majority of the board sheeted is SBS, approximately 25% of their work is recycled board. “On occasion there is a need to sheet paper and the MSH gives us that flexibility.” Frey states. The company runs the sheeter at an output level of 4 tons per hour, or 30-40 tons per eight hour shift. Their average order size is 13,000 sheets and they change sheet sizes about half a dozen times per day. A size change is complete within five minutes via key pad entry. Disc Graphics has benefited from additional equipment installations provided by Maxson in the areas of quality and production. These additions add to the MSH Sheeter’s quality output and allow the sheeter optimum efficiency. “This sheeter operation exceeded what we had expected,” Frey says.

Two quality issues are addressed by these additions. The breaker roll decurl unit provides the company with a flat sheet without checking on lightweight to heavy calipers, and the PEN-MAM dust collector is effective at providing quality control.

Production is enhanced by the MSH Sheeter’s dual motor drive system which allows quick set-up times and provides a sheet length accuracy of +/-0.015″ regardless of cut length or line speed. This level of accuracy allows Disc Graphics to sheet to a finished size. No guillotine trimming is required. Two equipment installations that have helped to increase productivity are the Citation roll stand, which allows quick set-up and time savings on roll changes, and the Extending Grid, which allows continuous run operation.

Apart from the quality benefits, Disc has also realized some financial gains. The company is now able to save on inventory space and enjoy lower carrying charges. The elimination of sheeting up charges as well as lower carrying charges represents savings of 5 to 6 percent on paper, which equates to $500,000 to $750,000 annually. Disc also experiences savings on time and cost of manpower due to the ability to run the MSH Sheeter with only one operator and one helper. “Before we brought sheeting in-house, we would be able to meet the customer’s need, but it would cost us more to do it.” Frey says.

All of these savings have added up to the most important benefit — Disc Graphics’ ability to provide their customers with better service. By solving their sheeting outsourcing production problems through the purchase of the MSH Sheeter, Disc was able to realize faster turnarounds and improve the quality of their sheeted stock. “I can’t imagine that there would have been a better machine for us.” Frey says.

Disc Graphics’ in-house resources and their dedication to customer service are both instrumental in aiding the company in their effort toward total customer satisfaction. Their purchase of the Maxson MSH Sheeter is their latest step in that direction. This constant attention to quality and service can only continue to allow Disc Graphics to remain a leader within the high end folding carton industry.

Reprinted from Paperboard Packaging, May 1997

J. MacKenzie, Chapter Two

All profitable businesses start with a good idea.

A few years ago, James E. Hammer, President & CEO of Rochester, NY-based Hammer Lithograph, recognized the need for a paper converting operation that would sheet and warehouse paper for Hammer Lithograph and, at the same time, develop an independent regional customer base of its own. The resulting division, J. MacKenzie, Ltd., opened in 1994 under the leadership of plant manager, Steve Ray.

mackenzie1Ray was also convinced that a sheeting operation would give Hammer Lithograph more control over quality, service, delivery and cost. “As an advocate of just-in-time, we saw an advantage in sheeting from roll inventory to shorten manufacturing turnaround times,” says Ray. “When sheeted stock was ordered from mills, the wait was often a minimum of five days. At J. MacKenzie we can turn around sheeted stock in 24 – 48 hours and still adhere to the exacting quality standards we’ve established.”

Hammer Lithograph is a packaging printer which specializes in multi-color, high quality sheet fed offset labels for food and beverage companies such as Poland Springs Water, Mott’s USA Products and other private label brands. The company, which recently relocated to a new 90,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility, records annual sales in excess of $35 million.

Hammer Lithograph today represents only 30 – 40% of total sales since J. MacKenzie’s launch five years ago. J. MacKenzie’s annual sales have doubled in the last two years alone. “We now occupy 57,000 sq. ft. of production and warehouse space and continue to expand. We have a 60 railroad car capability that is used to ship rolls of paper, but can also serve as additional warehouse space,” explains Ray. “Because we have material inventoried for immediate use, we can turnaround an order in eight to twenty four hours. We also warehouse stock for customers. We have as much as 30 truckloads warehoused at the moment, representing a wide variety of paper mills.”

After reviewing several sheeter designs, the company chose the MSL sheeter from Maxson Automatic Machinery Co. According to Ray, “The MSL sheeter met our requirements for accuracy while offering the flexibility to sheet a mix of paper and board.” They have been so pleased with the sheeter’s performance, a second one was ordered when they couldn’t keep up with increasing business.

The original MSL sheeter is capable of sheeting rolls up to 57 in. wide and handles a broad range of materials, including coated-one-side, coated-two-side, and offset paper grades in basis weights ranging from 30# to 100# at speeds up to 700 fpm. The MSL sheeter will cleanly cut solid bleached sulfate board up to 0.28 pt. A dual-motor drive provides sheet length accuracy of ±0.030 on three roll stands, regardless of line speed or cutoff. Sheet length changes are actuated in minutes by means of a simple keypad entry.

mackenzie2“An opportunity developed to do additional contract sheeting to convert board grades in 8, 10, 12, 16, 18 & 24 pt., 50% in heavier grades and 50% in lighter grades,” says Ray. The Maxson MSH sheeter was considered to be the ideal second sheeter to handle increased production capacity.

The new MSH sheeter is a workhorse. Like the MSL sheeter, the MSH is also equipped with the patented Airfoil Overlap System that ensures jam-free conveyance of sheets to the stacker. The MSH is capable of sheeting 1200 fpm and has greater knife loading for handling multi-web runs of paper as well as board grades. “We find the knife to be very rugged. It provides a cleaner cut, requires less adjustment and doesn’t flex,” Ray asserts. “Incorporation of an adjustable doctor board before the knife is another feature that assists in providing quality operation.”

Equipped with a dual motor drive, both the MSL and the MSH maintain a sheet length accuracy of ±0.015″ and ±0.020″ squareness cutoff regardless of line speed. Each sheeter is equipped with two or three shaftless Citation roll stands, which handles rolls up to 6,000 pounds and a diameter up to 72 inches. The Citation is designed for speedy roll changes. In just a few minutes a single operator can roll material in place between two posts, chuck the rolls and raise them into place. A variety of sheet widths are possible since both machines are equipped with easily adjustable air-loaded slitter-rig assemblies.

Ray comments, “We keep the MSL sheeter busy at least 2-3 weeks a month on lighter weight materials. We reserve the MSH for multi-web runs of heavier stock even though it too runs lightweight materials perfectly. We’re sheeting three rolls of 60# wet strength paper for labels with waste as low as 3-6%. Plus, we’re sheeting three rolls of metallized coated paper, adhesive cloth, and 20 pt. Vinyl as well as C1S and SBS grades. We’re running as much as 132,000 pounds of virgin paper with three 4-man shifts, 7 days a week over two machines.” Ray went on to say, “We’ve been running non-stop for over twelve months.”

J. MacKenzie can satisfy every customer’s needs due to the Maxson sheeter’s flexibility and ease of set up. An average run is between 2,000 to 3,000 sheets. But J. MacKenzie can accommodate runs from 1,000 up to 1,000,000 sheets.

To maintain that kind of production requires an aggressive maintenance plan. “The MSL sheeter’s knives are replaced every three weeks; the MSH sheeter’s, every four weeks. The slitter blades are changed every day and the bottom bands are changed each time the knives are replaced,” Ray stated. “We have also put in place state-of-the-art quality control devices including bar-coding equipment that tracks TAPPI numbers enabling us to have constant inventory control. A system has been put in place to check skids of sheeted material for consistent squareness and meticulous log records are kept.”

Up until now, the success of J. MacKenzie has been achieved without the assistance of a sales staff. To guarantee continued growth, however, two salespeople have been added as business is expected to double within the next three to five years and expand beyond its present 500-mile radius.

J. MacKenzie is proof positive that a good idea can turn into a great business.

Reprinted from The Sheeting Monitor, December 1999

In-House Sheeting – the Way to Go

Worcester Envelope Co., an Auburn, Mass., firm, reduced sheeting costs while improving inventory control and efficiency with the purchase of a 49-in. Maxson MSH precision sheeter. Other bonuses have been better accuracy and quality control.

The company, which had previously purchased the bulk of its paper already sheeted from the paper mills, today boasts an annual growth rate of 8 to 10 percent a year and in 1985 produced 1,360,000,000 envelopes, or about 1 percent of the U.S. total.

worchester1Robert Burnett, vice president of engineering, recalled problems such as high sheeting costs, inventory storage problems and material waste that were encountered when the company relied on outside sheeting. In-house sheeting, Burnett says, has alleviated these problems and helped satisfy customer demand for higher quality, quick turnaround and on-time deliveries.

Since its volume is so large, Worchester could not have grown as much using outside suppliers, he notes. The company manufactures a wide range of business and specialty envelopes for printers, forms houses, stationery supply distributors and large end-users throughout New England, requiring it to stock and sheet a large number of envelope paper grades. The expense and storage problems associated with carrying a 30-day inventory of presheeted papers were reducing the company’s profitability.

Reducing costs and waste

Sheeting up charges were costing the company about eight cents a pound for conventional envelope grades and 15 cents a pound for specialty papers, such as glassine. “When you’ve sheeting upwards of 35,000 pounds of paper a day, that adds up to a significant amount,” Burnett points out.

“The control over sheet size is very important to the profitability of our operations,” says Burnett. “When we bought sheeted paper from the mills, we had to buy a standard size, usually 24×44 in. Depending on the die we used, we might lose a portion of that sheet to waste. By being able to control sheeting in-house, we can cut to the size we need and virtually eliminate waste.”

Better inventory control

Worcester also gained better control over inventory with the in-house operation, Burnett states. The firm buys envelope grades in roll form and sheets the exact quantity and size necessary for specific orders. This saves floor space and reduces inventory problems related to paper on skids tends to dry out more quickly than paper stored in a wrapped roll.

“It’s easier to keep rolls of paper stacked on top of each other than it is to store skids of sheeted material,” he explains. With our own sheeting capabilities, we can leave the paper wrapped in its airtight container until we’re ready to use it.”

Sheeter requirements

Accuracy and reliability were top considerations in sheeter selection. Accuracy is particularly important, Burnett notes, because of the way envelopes are die-cut from a sheeted stack of paper.

A die pattern is laid out to cut multiple envelope shapes out of a stack of paper. This die pattern is designed to use maximum sheet area to minimize waste. A margin of not more than 1/8 in. around the die is typical. If the sheets vary in length from cut to cut, clip cuts can occur. Clipped envelopes must be discarded, further contributing to the waste factor.

To avoid this problems, Worcester needed a machine that would offer consistent tolerances throughout the sheeting process. “The Maxson machine offers extremely precise cutoff tolerances, which was a significant factor in our decision,” Burnett notes.

The MSH uses a mechanical variable pulley drive to control the speed of the knife cylinder and drum roll (which draws the web into the cutting unit). A single transmission controls the speed of the knife revolver in relation to line speed, ensuring cutoff accuracy even during web acceleration and deceleration.

“Some of the drives we looked at use a dual-motor system to control the cut-off accuracy. In this type of system, you have separate motors controlling the knife revolver and drum roll. There is the potential here for varied sheet lengths as the speed of the machine changes,” Burnett says.

“We liked the simplicity of the Maxson design. We knew that the simple the machine, the less headaches we would have later on,” he adds.

Speeds up to 800 fpm at an accuracy of +/- 1/32 in. can obtained on the MSH, depending upon the type of paper being cut.

Another benefit is the sheeter’s capacity to handles multiple webs simultaneously. Although the MSH can be designed for simultaneous sheeting of eight rolls, Worcester felt that the six-roll unit fit better into its pattern of operations.

“Using the back stand arrangement on our equipment, we can run a set of six superimposed rolls and sheet maybe two or three different sheet lengths in one production run. The MSH gives us the versatility we need to maintain a competitive edge in speed and productivity,” Burnett notes

Production equipment

Sheeting is followed by die-cutting on F. L. Smithe’s computer-controlled PHPs, for larger runs, or on older, hand-fed die-cutters (manufactured by a company no longer in business), smaller runs. The next step is either printing or folding, depending on the requirements of the particular job. Printing in up to three colors can be done before, during or after folding.

Printing that is done before folding is accomplished on sheet-fed offset presses from Smithe and W G D. When envelopes are printed in-line with the folding operation, the process is flexo, with the press supplied as part of the folding equipment, also from Smithe and W G D.

The firm has recently added Halm wet offset jet equipment, used mainly for printing after folding. Three units with 3-in. cylinders are already on the floor. Another 3-in and a 6-in. have been ordered.

Return on investment

Lower costs and greater production efficiency enabled Worcester Envelope to realize a return on its sheeter investment in one year’s time. The company claims to have cut its sheeting costs in half for the conventional envelope grades and two-thirds for the more difficult-to-sheet papers.

“We’ve taken a very aggressive stance since the old days,” Burnett says. “Back then, companies didn’t go into debt for new equipment-even if it meant higher production levels. In this business you’ve got to move. We learned that if you can keep the machine busy, it will pay for itself.”

Reprinted from Converting, September 1986

In House Sheeting Program Pays Off For SBS Broker

Setting up an in-house sheeting operation to better control quality and turnaround time has worked out well for Salwen Paper, Edison, NJ. The company has enjoyed an 80% increase in solid bleached sulphate board sales since the company installed its first sheeter in 1983.

That unit, along with another purchased in 1985, has enabled 79-year-old Salwen to provide SBS customers in the Northeast with faster deliveries and a more consistent of the “middleman” converter. Both sheeters were supplied by Maxson Automatic Machinery.

Salwen Paper entered the SBS market in 1976 as a brokering SBS, Harry Salwen, president, realized that to provide higher quality, fast delivery, better service and a better price.

sbsScheduling problems with outside sheeters initially prompted Salwen to consider in-house sheeting. Local sheeting companies insisted that deliveries of SBS webs from Salwen arrive at specific times during the day or they would not be accepted. Salwen Paper was forced to comply with a schedule that was convenient for its suppliers, but always convenient for Salwen or its customers. Additionally, the company was limited it the amount of business it could take on, based on its sheet suppliers’ ability to handle orders and meet delivery dates.

The primary consideration in selecting a sheeter was finding a machine that delivered a press-ready skid. Salwen Paper knew it would be competing with the same supplier it used in the past, and that meant its product had to be the cream of the crop.

The company investigated what other sheeting houses were supplying a quality product, and found out what equipment those firms were using. With the installation of its first sheeter in 1983, Salwen Paper entered the SBS market under full steam. Shortly thereafter, the company realized that the purchase of a second sheeter was only a matter of time.

According to Salwen’s specifications, each sheeter is customized to sheet a 22 to 78-in. cutoff length and is equipped with a shaftless self-loading back stand and a stacker. A separate back stand was later purchased to be used as a floater between the two units so Salwen could sheet multiple webs simultaneously for higher production.

The operation can sheet two superimposed 52-in. webs or two 26-in. webs side-by-side to accommodate what is in stock at a particular time.

Several features of the machine have been said to increase productivity and quality:

An airfoil overlap increases speed of stock flow through the delivery tape section by preventing jam-ups at the point of overlap.

An extending grid system at the stacker keeps production going during skid changes.

A dust collecting system at the delivery tape section suctions off dust through flexible hosing and collects in box with four individual filters. Salwen Paper also stretch wraps all of its pallets to ensure that dust will not interfere with print quality later on.

Sheet length accuracy of +/- 0.023 in. is said to be maintained at all times, even at top speeds to 1,200 fpm.

Salwen Paper attributes its rapid growth and success in sheeting SBS in large part to the accuracy and production levels its managed to achieve on the sheeters.

Reprinted from Boxboard Containers, February 1987

Improved Speed and Accuracy Support Brenner Paper’s Tradition of Quality

For more than 55 years, Brenner Paper has been a family owned and operated envelope manufacturer. Located Glendale, NY, the company serves as a trade converter with a customer base concentrated on the eastern seaboard.

Quality product and prompt, personal service are two reasons why Brenner Paper can compete with other envelope manufacturers. The company’s product line includes all commercial and specialty grades. Special orders account for 50 percent of Brenner’s sales and have helped to secure a market niche for the company.

Over the years, as Brenner Paper’s sales increased, so did production demands. This compelled the company to look for ways to improve productivity include updating older equipment, an employee-cross training plan, as well as a new computer system to expedite order processing. It was this need to improve productivity that led the company to explore the new technology available in sheeting equipment. As Rhoda Levenson the company’s president explains, “We had an old Hamblet sheeter which had served us well for many years. However, we needed to sheet faster and more precisely.”

After carefully considering several sheeter designs, Brenner Paper selected the MSH Sheeter from Maxson Automatic Machinery Company (Westerly, RI). “Price was consideration, but more importantly, we were not in need of a very sophisticated machine. Our needs were simply speed and accuracy, and the MAXSON met those needs.”

The new sheeter has an option package decurl unit, a close tolerance drive, a clutch box arrangement, and an airfoil overlap system. Each of these options were selected to assure improved productivity.

Productivity Gains

To minimize downtime during roll changes, the company selected two shaft-type unwinds. Each unwind stand can manually controlled air brakes. As the material on the first unwind feeds into the machine, the operator chucks up the rolls on the second unwind. When a roll change is necessary, the operator simply moves the second unwind into place and webs the material into the cutter.

The MSH Sheeter features a clutch box design, which simplifies size changes. The clutch box reduces setup time by allowing the operator to set the desired sheet length range automatically. As a result of this feature, setups are accomplished in half the time.

Both the decurl unit and close tolerance drive have helped waste due to roll curl, while the close tolerance drive assures a sheet length accuracy of +/- 0.023 inches (+/- 0.584 mm), even during speed changes. “With the MAXSON, we now can sheet precisely. As a result, waste has been reduced significantly, ” remarks Levenson.


The new sheeter runs at twice the speed of the older unit it replaced. These higher speeds are achieved with Maxson’s patented airfoil overlap system, which prevents jam-ups at the point of overlap and permits faster sheet feeding.

The speed gains on the new sheeter have helped Brenner Paper to improve lead-times. For example, the new sheeter’s output during an 8-hour shift exceeds 500 reams of paper. In contrast, a similar run on the older sheeter produces just 300 reams of paper. As Levenson states, “The nature of our business dictates fast turn-arounds, and the MAXSON help us meet our delivery dates.

At Brenner Paper, the MSH Sheeter runs two shifts per day and handles cutting loads from 20lb. stock up to 40lb. stock. The MAXSON Sheeter is used for the bulk of Brenner’s converting, however, the company’s old sheeter still serves as a backup and is used to sheet odd rolls.

The purchase of state-of-the-art sheeting equipment has fit in well with Brenner Paper’s plan to improve operational efficiency. As Rhoda Levenson concludes, “Productivity is up. With the MAXSON, we have been able to improve deliveries, reduce waste, and maintain a high quality product.”

Reprinted from The Sheeting Monitor, June 1990

Gain in Market Share Aided By New Equipment

Additional equipment coupled with an increased sales effort has allowed a North Carolina paper converter and distributor to expand its converting customer base while obtaining a greater market share in the lithographic industry.

In turn, the new equipment improved production methods and speeds and allowed the firm to produce the quality products demanded by its industrial customers in the lithographic field. The new equipment also gave the firm faster turnaround, which is a key requirement for successfully handling specialty orders.

crown1Crown Packaging & Converting, Wilmington, NC, has been converting industrial grade paper for seven years. The firm saw a need to obtain more converting customers and wanted to increase its lithographic market share by offering high-quality, custom-converted, print-grade papers.

“In terms of speed and the ability to produce top-quality products, our existing equipment wasn’t suited for producing print grade paper,” Rusty Carter, president, said. “And, with a limited sales force, we couldn’t adequately saturate this market.”

Carter made an all-out effort to increase the company’s converting capabilities and become more competitive in the Southeast. To reach these goals, the firm took the following steps during a four-month period:

Nearly double its sales force.

Purchased a MSH precision sheeter from Maxson Automatic Machine Co., Westerly, RI.

Installed a die cutter from Consolidated International, Chicago, IL.

Added an automatic paper handling system to its Polar guillotine trimmers.

Expanded the inventory area by 15,000 sq. ft. to handle the additional output of converted products.

crown2Currently, Crown offers a full range of custom converting processes, including sheeting, slitting, die cutting, rewinding and guillotine trimming. The firm converts poly-coated board, clay-coated kraft and newsprint for the industrial market and offers SBS board, uncoated offset paper and premium-grade coated paper to large commercial printers.

Carter said the purchase of the 57-in. sheeter was central to Crown’s success in the print-grade industry where the highest quality converted products are demanded. Maxson’s ability to produce clean, square sheets at high speeds was the primary consideration in selecting the sheeter, according to Carter.

With the new sheeter, the firm can sheet at speeds up to 1,000 fpm and deliver press-ready skids to customers quicker. The unit’s speed is almost double that of the firm’s two older sheeters. To support the increased sheeting volume, a die cutter and third trimmer were purchased shortly after the sheeter was installed.

“As a custom converter, it’s critical that we respond quickly to specialty orders,” Geoff Searcy, vice president/converted products, said “With so much competition in the Southeast, service and product quality are essential. The Maxson’s capability as a quick setup, quick turnaround, high-speed sheeter puts us in a position to gain and keep customer.”

In Crown’s prep area skids are counted and wrapped in protective packaging. Finished skids of paper are strapped and banded before shipment or storage to fully protect and maintain product quality.

Crown relies on an advanced, air delivery system to provide high sheeting efficiency. The Airfoil Overlap system is designed to provide more reliable performance at the point of overlap and faster sheet feeding from the cutting section to the stacker.

crown3Customized to sheet accurately from a 20- to 70-in cutoff length at tolerances of +/- .023 in., the sheeter’s equipment includes: a slitter; a self-loading; shaftless back stand; and a stacker. Crown converts caliper grades from 6 to 36 points.

“Whether the sheeted product is being sent to die cutter or directly to the prep area, we depend on the sheeter to meet the precise requirements set by our customers,” Searcy said.

A PEN MAM dust collector was installed on the sheeter to ensure a clean product. Its function is to suction the dust generated by the cutting and slitter of the sheet at the delivery tape section.

“Because a large percentage of the material run on the sheeter is coated bleach board , there can be dust,” Charles Norton, general operation manager, said. “We wanted to guarantee a clean cut. The dust collecting system allows us to ship board off the sheeter and out the door dust-free.”

Crown also depends on air-washed doctor boards to protect the sheet. The boards eliminate friction points that can use cause edge damage, according to Norton. Attached after the knife, the air suction pulls the leading edge of the sheet to direct it more efficiently into the mouth of the tape system.

The Maxson stacker is equipped with extending grids that allow continuous off loading for optimum productivity.

Although there were numerous changes in its converting operation, Crown found the transition and day-to-day operation smooth and easy. Maxson engineers trained Crown personnel on operating procedures. The sheeter requires only one operator, who is also responsible for the quality control of the incoming webs and stacked skids.

In the prep area, skids are counted and wrapped in protective packaging. They’re also strapped or banded for shipment or storage. Wood tops are placed on the skids to ensure product protection.

“The project has been a major success,” Carter said “Converting sales have kept pace with the increased out-put capabilities. In less than a year’s time, we’ve built our print-grade paper operation from about 10% to about 50% of our converting business. In other words, we doubled overall sales. Now, we’re probably a step or two ahead of the competition because of the variety and quality of products we convert.”

Reprinted from Paper Film Foil Converter, January 1988

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