The MSL is the medium production sheeter of the MAXSON family. Requiring a moderate investment, the MSL combines the facility of high speed operation with quick change over.

Repro House Invests In New Sheeters

Phomat Reprographics does not rest on its laurels. What sets them apart is their willingness to improve the performance of established products and the service they offer their customers. With this attitude Phomat, based in Madison Heights, Mich., has grown from a small coating and converting to an innovator in the reprographic industry. Recent sheeter purchased have sped things along.

Phomat’s product line includes coated and uncoated grades of paper, including vellum, blue-line, diazo film, and sepia. With a customer base from coast to coast, the company has three converting and distribution centers located in Georgia, Maryland, and Texas.

phomatA production dilemma

Each branch has functioned in the past with its own sheeter, but with a healthy growth in sales since 1981, a production dilemma was created. “We reached a point when all our locations were sheeting full time to keep up with the demand. This caused a problem because our branches were originally set up to provide reactionary converting,” says Jack Smith, president. “We saw the need to centralize our sheeting operation as a means of improving service and operational efficiency.”

After careful consideration Phomat selected the MSS-HS sheeter from Maxson Automatic and installed it in the Madison Heights facility. Recalls Smith, “We wanted a high-production sheeter that would allow us to precision sheet without having to guillotine trim.”

With the main sheeting operation now centralized and only “quick converting” practiced at the distribution centers, 80 percent of all orders are shipped next day. The goal, according to Smith, is next-day service on all orders.

The MSS-HS sheeter has an option package that includes an unwind stand, a decurl unit, a close tolerance drive, and overlapping delivery section. The new sheeter runs with two rolls of coated stock at speeds up to 270 fpm. The unit is in operation three shifts/day and runs continuously on standard sizes. Comments Smith, “With the Maxson we are sheeting our long runs more consistently.”

The added capacity of the new sheeter has solved Phomat’s production dilemma, because each branch location can now concentrate on sales and distribution. “With centralized manufacturing, we can react to our customers’ needs faster. Plus, the sheeter frees up our equipment in the field to handle out-of-stock and special orders,” says Smith.

Because the material sheeted at Phomat is value added, waste reduction was an important consideration. In the past, Phomat would purchase oversized rolls, sheet them, and then take a trim on all four sides. In contrast, the MSS-HS has a close tolerance drive that provides a sheet-length accuracy of +/- 0.023 in.

The results of the new sheeter have been twofold. Smith calculates a saving of ½ in./sheet, which translates into a total of 2.4 yds/package of 75 sheets. “Our percentage has dropped by 2.5 percent. Plus, we’ve been able to eliminate a labor operation. With the Maxson, we no longer have to guillotine trim,” he adds.

A changing industry

Advances in technology, such as high fusion temperature copiers and plotters, have changed the reprographic industry over the past few years. In response, Phomat has expanded its research and development budget to design new products.

Another example of Phomat’s willingness to improve on existing products and service is a new resealable package for their light-sensitive paper and film products. The new black poly package, manufactured off premises, has an adhesive backing behind a pull strip to reseal the package after opening. This prevents damage from light and other hazards.

The company has also recently introduced a non-coated product line. For this new application, Phomat purchased a second Maxson sheeter. The unit that met Phomat’s requirements of high speed combined with accuracy was the MSL sheeter. The MSL, according to Phomat, cuts four rolls of 20# paper cleanly and accurately and operates at speeds up to 570 fpm.

In addition to investing in new sheeters, the company has purchased a new diazo coater from R & K Industries. With sales on the increase, Phomat’s constant upgrading is a formula for success that appears to be working.

Reprinted from Converting, October 1990

Registration Sheeting Sets Converter Apart

Progressive Converting, Neenah, Wis., is not yet two years old, but its owners believe their focus on short-run, value-added work instead of commodity, low-margin production has lead to a competitive advantage is being honed with the help of a Maxson MSL sheeter.

By targeting a diverse customer base, Progressive Converting can deliver a host of custom-cut products, including fine papers, lightweight metallized stock, and board grades up to 0.028 in. thick.

prog1Cut-to-register is prime example of how Progressive converting has customized process. The company can sheet preprinted stock ranging from watermark papers to holographic materials. Partner Mark Reinhardt says, “Registration sheeting has really set us apart from the competition. This work has supplemented our business quite nicely.”

Without question, the nature of Progressive Converting’s business dictates flexibility. Finding the right equipment to handle both trade sheeting as well as registration work was essential.

After studying both new and used sheeting equipment, Progressive Converting selected Maxson Automatic Machinery’s MSL sheeter. “The Maxson gives us the accuracy we were looking for and the flexibility to sheet both board and paper,” explains Reinhardt.

The sheeter has a cut-to-register system that includes a scanning device, a controller, and an encoder. The scanning device is mounted on the draw drum and detects the register mark as the web feeds into the sheeter, while the encoder monitors the position of the knife revolver. The scanner and encoder relay information to the controller, which directs the knife revolver to speed up or slow down to coincide with the register mark.

At Progressive Converting, the cut-to-register system can tolerances of + /-0.030 in. at speeds up to 500 fpm. “When sheeting to register mark, the tighter the tolerances, the better,” says Reinhardt. “The advantage of our system is that you can tighten your parameters more closely.”

When sheeting without a register mark, Progressive Converting also requires a high level of accuracy. “Many trade converters have old equipment, requiring secondary trimming. We saw an advantage in not having to guillotine trim,” says Reinhardt.

Saving money is the biggest advantage, according to Reinhardt. “From a spoilage standpoint, they have to trim larger sheets. We yield more sheets out of a paper.”

The Maxson sheeter has a close tolerance drive that provides press-ready sheets. “Since the sheeted stock goes directly onto a customer’s four-color or six-color press, squareness level of

+/- 0.015 inch,” adds Reinhardt.

Optional help

Equally important was the issue of dust. Reinhardt notes, “A printer needs a square sheet, a reasonably accurate cutoff, and above all, a clean sheet. For this reason, the company selected the PEN MAM dust collector as an option. The system utilizes top and bottom headers that clean without contacting the surface of the sheet. “I like the system, and there is a noticeable difference in the quality of the finished product,” Reinhardt says.

To speed setup during roll changes, a Maxson shaftless, self-loading roll stand was also selected. Reinhardt explains, “When sheeting board stock 0.010 inch and heavier, I couldn’t see the sheeter down for 15 minutes every hour for a roll change. With a shaftless roll stand, we’re up and running in three minutes.” The roll stand is also equipped with an guidance system to aid registration sheeting.

The Maxson sheeter has the flexibility to handle short and long runs efficiently. The company works mostly in truckloads of customers’ stock, but it does sheet orders ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 lb.

Targeting a diverse customer base has proven to be a successful approach for Progressive Converting first year of operation. As the company’s second anniversary approaches on Jan. 1, 1993, plans are underway to expand in several areas. A second, identical MSL sheeter from Maxson has been ordered, completing the first phase of expansion. The second phase will be the construction of a new converting facility, with a move-in date scheduled for the end of 1993.

“Our experience, combined with the ability to listen to what our customer want, has brought us to where we are today. We’re not afraid to expand in a completely different direction if the opportunity is there,” says Reinhardt.

Reprinted from Converting, September 1992

Quality Emphasis Provides Folding Carton Plant With A Competitive Advantage

In Utah Paper Box’s conference room, a plaque reads, “True quality is defined as meeting and exceeding the customer’s specifications in an efficient and timely manner-Doing it right the first time, every time.” These words underscore Utah Paper Box’s philosophy of doing business, and offers some insight into how this Salt Lake City-based box plant has achieved success over the past 70 years.

When the company was founded in 1923, rigid and set-up box work were the main focus of operations. During the 1970’s, market dynamics and a shift in consumer demand changed this focus to folding cartons. Today, Utah Paper Box is a leading manufacturer of folding cartons, with an emphasis on high quality work. Serving a customer base concentrated throughout the United States, the company supplies boxes for a wide range of uses, including software packaging, retail products, medical supplies, as well as pharmaceuticals.

utah1Utah Paper Box’s ability to produce high quality folding cartons is due in part to their commitment to investing in the latest technology available . Recent additions to the company’s pressroom include three 6-color MAN Roland presses, two with tower coaters. This equipment, along with an existing 4-color MAN Roland unit, represents Utah Paper Box’s flagship presses. Additional equipment includes 6 smaller presses offering varied capabilities, 5 Bobst die cutters, windowing equipment, as well as 3 stamping presses for embossing work.

As Utah Paper Box increased its printing capacity, this also resulted in an increase in their sheeted stock requirements. Over time, this growth in demand created a production dilemma. Recalls Tom Boner, Utah Paper Box’s purchasing manager, “Our existing sheeter had been a real workhouse, although it lacked an overlap for faster speeds. As we added more printing equipment, the sheeter just couldn’t keep up. We needed something that could give us the capacity standards.”

While increased production was an important consideration, quality assurance was the main requirement. Boner notes, “In selecting a sheeter, our motivating factor was quality.” After investigating the several models available, Utah Paper Box selected the MSL Sheeter from Maxson Automatic Machinery Company

(Westerly RI). He explains, “We spoke to other people in the industry and the general consensus pointed us to Maxson.”

At Utah Paper Box, the MSL Sheeter handles folding carton stock in calipers ranging from 0.010 inches to 0.026 inches. The Maxson primarily sheets SBS grades, as well as SUS board for use in producing high quality cartons.

Along with the new sheeter, Utah Paper Box selected several equipment options designed to enhance quality and increase production. These include a penetrating breaker roll decurl unit with dancer roll, a close tolerance drive system, a PEN MAM dust collector and an extending grid for continuous operation.

utah2The penetrating breaker roll decurl conditions the web and provides a flat sheet to the press. The unit’s double direction feature permits decurling in two directions. To absorb web fluctuations when sheeting egg-shaped rolls, a dancer roll was mounted within the decurl frame.

The Maxson sheeter had a close tolerance drive system to provide press-ready sheets. Boner comments, “On our older sheeter, accuracy was off by as much as 1/12 of an inch. The MSL sheets more accurately, and as a result, we’ve realized a 30 percent reduction in waste.”

Because clean sheets are a prerequisite for a quality printed piece, Utah Paper Box selected the PEN MAM dust collector as an equipment option. Remarks Boner, “Dust is one problem we try to avoid. The dust collector cleans the sheet and reduces hickies on the printed stock. Another advantage is it has also cut down on the frequency of wash-ups.”

To improve throughout, the Maxson sheeter is equipped with an extending grid. This device reduces downtime by allowing 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. Says Boner, “Since many of our orders are long runs, the grid helps to keep downtime to a minimum.”

Since the new sheeter came on-line, Utah Paper Box has been a twofold increase in sheeted stock production. On average, the MSL sheets from 20 to 25 rolls of board stock during an 8-hr shift. Since service is a priority, this added capacity has helped to trim lead times. Boner adds, “Production-wise, the sheeter is no longer the limiting factor. It runs consistently with very little downtime.” He continues, “The Maxson sheeter plays an important role in a central core of our business. It has dovetailed quite nicely with our MAN Roland presses.”

With the necessary equipment in place, Utah Paper Box is ready to take on new business. The company plans to expand within existing markets, as well as capitalizing on opportunities as they develop. One area of recent growth has been the software industry. During 1991, sales reached a record $18 million, and business is on track for 1992. Thanks to Utah Paper Box’s quality commitment, success seems certain.

Reprinted from The Sheeting Monitor, June 1993

Paper Broker Moves into Converting

By setting up its own converting operation, Kahn Paper Co., a 65 year-old New England paper and paperboard broker, realized a reduction in delivery time of sheeted material from an average of three weeks to seven days and improved quality control.

Central to this move was the purchase of Maxson MSL sheeter that, in addition to improving turnaround time, helped Kahn gain better control over the quality of the finished product and reduced waste by up to two-thirds.

kahn1Kahn Converters, West Springfield, MA, stocks and sheets all calipers and standard sizes of SBS board, polylined SBS, and clay coated news grades for folding carton manufactures in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New England, and eastern Canada.

According to Richard White, VP and the third generation of the Kahn family to join the firm, the decision to diversify into converting was prompted by customer demands for faster turn-around of cut size paperboard. About 70% of Kahn’s sheeting was being done at the mills where they purchased the board; the other 30% came from outside converters.

With inadequate capacity for inventory storage, Kahn relied on the board mills located in the South to ship board on an as needed basis. Shipping sometimes took as long as six weeks, depending on availability and market conditions. The use of an independent converter often added another 10 days to the delivery time. Kahn Paper realized that if it could store its own inventory and bring the sheeting operation in house, dramatic improvements could be gained in delivery time.

Since the majority of Kahn’s customers are folding carton manufacturers, it was important to match their specific needs in choosing equipment for the sheeting process. These included cut size accuracy, cleanliness of the cut, flatness and even jogging of the cut size board. An accurate sheet count is equally important to the customer.

kahn2“Our customers expect the cut size board to be press ready so it can be wheeled on the skid right up to the press,” said Ralph Lathrop, GM.

Lathrop needed to satisfy customer demands for accuracy and quick delivery, but he also wanted a unit that would be easy to operate and maintain. He consulted with other board converters and asked what equipment they recommended. The overwhelming choice was the MSL sheeter from Maxson Automatic Co., Westerly, RI. “We chose the Maxson MSL because of its reputation as a fast, accurate reliable sheeter in the board industry,” recalled Lathrop. “Maxson’s prompt after sale service reputation was also a factor.”

He was impressed with Maxson’s capacity for speeds of up to 850 fpm and sheet length tolerance of +/- .023 in. Another selling point was that the equipment required only one man to operate it.

Lathrop is responsible for scheduling runs, overseeing quality control and maintaining inventory. Sales of converted material are handled by Kahn Paper’s sales team operating out of the Medford, MA, office. About one-half of the plant’s floor space is designated for inventory storage. By stocking paperboard that many of its customers regularly use, Kahn has eliminated the time normally needed for ordering and shipping materials from its customers delivery dates.

The company can also pass on volume discounts to its customers because it now has the capacity to buy and store large quantities of board. The firm builds its own skids, which also helps to improve delivery time.

They provide customers with only the finest quality mill tonnage. Because the board is purchased for multicolor use, customers expect it to arrive in perfect, press ready condition.

Kahn Paper has improved overall appearance of its converting operation. The company has also reduced its waste factor to less than 2%.

The sheeted board is continually inspected for cut quality, sheet length accuracy, appearance of the board’s surface and evenness of the jogged pile. Any board that doesn’t meet stringent quality control standards is removed from the skid.

Cut cleanliness is checked visually by holding the board up to the light and examining the edge for any stray hairs or fibers. Another visual check is made for checking on the surface of the board due to improper adjustment of the decurl device. Since the roll set of the board will change as the web gets closer to the core, the operate adjusts the decurl setting from time to time to prevent this problem.

Accuracy of the sheet length is checked on a digital sheet length monitor that measures tolerance to the nearest hundredth of an inch. Too much variance in the sheet length will cause uneven jogging at the stacker.

A lineal footage counter enables Kahn to measure and verify the actual number of lineal feet per roll shipped from the mill. Any discrepancy between the expected and the actual yield (measured at the cut counter) translates into a waste percentage figure. An automatic size change device on the Maxson equipment is used to preset a size change, minimizing the time and waste commonly associated with the need to run material through the cutting section to check and readjust length.

According to Lathrop, the industry standard for waste is often greater than 2%. Kahn was experiencing between 3% and 4% while using outside converters. It has effectively reduced that figure to 1.5% and realized cost savings that can be passed along to its customers.

As a result of improved delivery time and control over the quality of the converted board, customer satisfaction is at an all time high. ” Our customers tell us that our finished product is a good as or better than our competitors,” said White. “In 18 months of operation, we haven’t missed a delivery yet.”

The firm’s diversification into converting has resulted in a 20% increase in total business volume. To accommodate this growth, the company is expanding its floor space to 50,000 sq. ft. “Our expanded facility and additional equipment will enable us to carry a larger inventory and to service our rapidly growing customer base in the converting market,” White said.

Reprinted from Paper Film Foil Converter, June 1986

New Sheeters Convert To Success for Job Lot Merchant

In the late 1870’s, a Cincinnatian named Sabin Robbins traveled throughout the South selling supplies to pharmacists. Since the paper bag had not been invented at that time, pharmacists rolled the goods in a sheet of paper and twisted the ends. Seeing an opportunity, Robbins struck a deal to buy over runs or “job lots” from Ohio paper mills and resell it to his customers. One day, a local printer ran out of paper. Remembering the sheets he had seen at the nearby pharmacy, he asked to use some. To the surprise of the printer, the quality of the paper was much better than he had been getting and less expensive too. By 1884, Sabin Robbins established a company bearing his name to sell “job lot” paper to printers.

robbins1John Brady, Sabin Robbins’ Vice President of Operations, relates the story of the Company’s entrepreneurial founding to illustrate how good ideas become great ideas. It’s a philosophy that has served Sabin Robbins well. Today, the employee owned company, with nearly 300 people, has 5 converting and distribution centers throughout the United States servicing the Printing and Packaging Industries.

Another example of a good idea was Sabin Robbins expanding into converting. For almost 90 years, Sabin Robbins relied on others to convert their inventoried paper stock to the Customer specified roll width or sheet size. “We actually didn’t get into sheeting until the early 1970’s”, Brady stated, “when the mills decided they didn’t want to sheet paper any more. Instead they wanted to sell just rolls. We needed to service our customers. Rather than relying on out side sources, we believed we could control costs and deliveries better doing it ourselves, so we began investing in converting machinery.”

In response to supporting their customers, Sabin Robbins established regional converting centers in Mansfield OH, Atlanta GA, Dallas TX, and Los Angeles CA. With the ability to sheet and deliver orders quickly from its converting facilities, the Company was able to consolidate its network of warehousing space across the country. Rapid response to clients and lower carrying costs for inventory ushered in a period of growth that has seen Sabin Robbins increase by more than 50% in the past six years.

Then as now, Sabin Robbins customer base was diverse, running the gamut from commercial printers, envelope manufacturers, folding carton operations and blister packaging companies. Today, the company maintains various grades of inventory from 30 lb paper to 0.024″ thick board. Being able to address such a wide range of products and meet ever tightening delivery schedules required a multiple sheeter operation.

For example, in the Mansfield OH facility, where David Matheny is the plant manager, five sheeters and two guillotine trimmers converted a wide range of orders from rolls to finished, press ready sheets. But recently even this capacity was inadequate. Matheny explains, “More than anything, we wanted to sheet rolls without having to trim to a finished size afterwards. To come up to the time frame the markets were demanding, we needed to deliver a custom sized sheet out to the Customer within three days. The older machines weren’t able to get the production out that we knew we could get out of a new, precision sheeter.”

Likewise at the Irwindale CA facility outside of Los Angeles, three sheeters and two guillotine trimmers labored to keep up with the demands of service. Bill Woodhouse, the Western Regional Manager of the California facility concurs, “Our major niche is to be able to convert a sheet paper to a non standard size within a two or three day period. We need to be able to put a sheet of paper on their floor in a very short period of time.”

robbins2Management determined that the next investment in sheeting equipment would need to deliver a dust free, square, accurate sheet directly from the stacker. The Mansfield OH facility was selected to receive new equipment because it was the largest of Sabin Robbins’ four converting operations. It was determined that the California operation, owing to its more remote location and ability to take advantage of modern equipment would also benefit from a precision sheeter. Beyond that, as John Brady relates, ” We wanted a machine that could run light weight papers all the way up to board. Another factor was the speed the sheeter could run at, as well as the machine’s footprint. We didn’t intend to have a sheeter that took up a lot of space.”

Sabin Robbins investigated several different manufacturers of sheeting equipment. According to Brady, “We spoke to companies that had sheeters. We knew of a California printer who had two Maxson sheeters”. Since they were satisfied with the machine’s capabilities for their demanding work, we knew MAXSON’s equipment could meet the Industry’s requirements. Beyond that, as a US manufacturer, we knew we could get parts quickly from Maxson if we needed them.”

For its Irwindale CA and Mansfield OH operations, Sabin Robbins elected to invest in the Maxson MSL Sheeter. Each 65″ wide sheeter was outfitted with shaftless roll stands, an electronic drive that governed sheet length, a dust collector to maintain dust free sheets, and the Maxson Airfoil Overlap.

With the shaftless roll stands; the MSL routinely sheets two rolls of 100# coated text and up to two webs of 80# cover grades. Because of the roll stands’ automatic tension control and the cutter’s dual motor drive, sheet length accuracies of + 0.015″ are maintained. Says Harvey Carroll, Irwindale’s plant manager, “The ability to enter the desired cut off by key pad entry, aids in quick set up times. The accuracy is great”. “We haven’t had a complaint associated with any orders sheeted on the Maxson”, adds Whitehouse.

robbins3Speaking about other features of the MSL Sheeter, Carroll continues, “The dust collector is definitely a great asset, insuring a clean sheet. The jam detectors mounted throughout the sheeter and safety features protecting the operators are big improvements over our existing sheeting equipment. The Airfoil helps to increase the speed on the lighter weight papers in the delivery system and it requires no adjustment.” “The quality of sheeted stock coming off the Maxson sheeter is comparable to that the mills are offering”, concludes Carroll.

There was a learning curve to address the new technology of a precision sheeter, but the issues centered on the attention to detail to insure finishing off the sheeter. “It was not a difficult transition”, reports Carroll. “And a few months later, Maxson field service paid a complimentary visit to us to review how the sheeter was running and to answer any questions the operators had. That was a real bonus.”

As in Ohio, the addition of the Maxson Sheeter in California has delivered benefits. Deliveries of non-standard sizes can be shipped within a couple of days without disrupting production schedules. The MSL also has provided the flexibility to convert surplus rolls into standard sheet sizes that can be shipped from Sabin Robbins inventory. Carroll notes, “With the Maxson, our overall production has increased by about 90,000 pounds a day.” Bill Woodhouse adds, “And it’s a big cost savings too. By eliminating the guillotine trimming step we reduce our converting labor costs by half.” “Based on our experience in the job lot business, the MSL Sheeter’s precision reduces waste by about a third over conventional sheeting.”

robbins4
All of these benefits have added up to precision sheeting being a great idea for Sabin Robbins. By addressing the issue of quick deliveries for short run non-standard orders, Sabin Robbins has been able to provide its customers with better service. The Maxson Sheeters have allowed the Mansfield OH and Irwindale CA operations to realize faster turnarounds and improve the quality of its sheeted stock.

Sabin Robbins dedication to customer service has been instrumental in aiding the company toward total customer satisfaction. Its purchase of the MSL Sheeters is the latest step in that direction. This constant attention to quality and service can only continue to allow Sabin Robbins to remain a leader within the paper merchant industry where good ideas become great ideas.

Reprinted from Walden Mott Convention News, March 2003

MOD-PAC Invests To Keep Market Edge

These days, market advantage is achieved and maintained by quickly identifying industry technological advances and swiftly implementing them. MOD-PAC, a Buffalo, NY supplier of specialty paperboard packaging, growing at twice the pace of the industry average, is a case-in-point.

In existence since 1881, MOD-PAC became a part of the Astronics Corporation in 1972. Today, the company is ISO 9001 certified and provides a broad product line. MOD-PAC specializes in serving pharmaceutical, healthcare, food, confectionery, automotive, corporate, office and similar industries that rely on package construction for aesthetic and protective purposes. The company serves more than 10,000 customers in more than 22 countries, with a production facility of 300,000 square feet. Dan Keane, President, reported, “our largest market is in the United States, with Mexico in second place and Canada in third place.”

“Our business has two segments,” Keane explained. “First we have customers who participate in a stock packaging program. This includes hundreds of standard packaging designs, which are available for same-day shipment from in-stock inventories. In-house design capabilities permit personalization of graphic designs and imprinting in quantities as small as 50 units.”
mod-pac

MOD-PAC’s Maxson MSL Sheeter

“Unique requirements such as protective structure and product differentiation are answered with the second segment, custom packaging,” Keane continued. Enter, the talents of MOD-PAC’s highly qualified design staff combined with the utilization of advanced computer aided design and manufacturing systems (CAD-CAM). “There was a time when some of this work had to be performed on the outside,” said Kevin Keane, Chairman of the Board. “Since the goal was same-day or 48 hour turnaround for customers in the stock packaging program, and 3-4 days on custom packaging (industry average is one week), we could no longer rely on someone else’s production schedule dictating our own. We are now able to control and maintain exacting graphic quality requirements and turn around a dated item such as a coupon or special offer. We’ve also added a digital prepress unit, including digital plate-making capability and interface between prepress and press departments.”

Bringing the design component inside has given MOD-PAC control over workflow and scheduling. But every area of manufacturing has been scrutinized with an eye to streamlining and expediting production. “We are constantly looking for ways to shorten the cycle time,” Dan Keane says, “Culturally, this production mentality is hard to bring around, but if you’re successful, it will give you a major advantage over your competition.” MOD-PAC is diligent about communicating with and training their employees. They cross-train, as well. That way each employee understands how the workflow interfaces. Says Keane, “We are always looking for the time advantage.”

“For example, one of those areas we needed more control over was acquisition of board stock,” Kevin Keane said. “We realized back in 1995 that we needed a new sheeter. The sheeter that we were using was a weak link in our production process. The vintage 1974 machine we were using was slow and not accurate. It bogged down manufacturing. After doing our homework, we chose the highly recommended Maxson Automatic Machinery Co. MSL Sheeter. It was going to do several things to add to MOD-PAC’s streamlining efforts. The sheeter made available the material needed to print when we wanted it, without having to stock huge amounts of inventory. We also save upcharges for sheeted material.” MOD-PAC uses the MSL Sheeter to get a better handle on quality issues, too. In fact, they were growing so rapidly as a company, they decided they needed more sheeter capacity and this year installed a second Maxson MSL Sheeter identical to the first. MOD-PAC knew that the rugged MSL Sheeter could handle those long runs as well as the short runs.

Presently, MOD-PAC is running 2 shifts per day, 5 days a week. The MSL Sheeter produces up to 20,000 sheets per hour, and will convert up to 8,000 tons of SBS this year. To maximize production efficiency, MOD-PAC is also doing more and more slitting as a result of retrofitting slitters on the first machine and ordering them on the second. This also allows the purchase of larger rolls which establishes a common inventory – another cost savings. With just a few adjustments, changing caliper or width is a simple function on the MSL Sheeter. This flexibility makes it possible to process more short runs economically. “We are installing an additional roll stand on each unit to facilitate faster setup of material for the next job on the schedule,” noted Keane. Fortunately, the overall space economy of the sheeter allows for this expansion without utilizing much more floor area.

Another cost and time saving feature is the web-conditioning unit. If the sheet were not flat, the press would trip off to emergency stop resulting in down time and waste of materials. The decurl unit is able to provide those flat sheets without marring the board in any way. “We’re running 12-30 pt. virgin and recycled board and using all of it, right down to the core,” remarked Keane.

The MSL Sheeter provides a consistently clean cut and since MOD-PAC does a considerable amount of work for pharmaceutical companies, this level of quality is a necessity. The fly knife setting, mounted tangent to the revolver, allows for heavy loading. In addition, the dual motor drive system ensures a sheet length accuracy of ±0.015 inches and a squareness accuracy of ±0.020 inches.

Contributing to the speed is the patented Maxson Airfoil Overlap®. The Airfoil controls the trailing edge of the cut sheet packet at the point of overlap. It guarantees jam-free runs and requires no maintenance permitting speed increases up to 200 fpm on its way to the Series 350 stacking system. In the old days, a downstream jogging and hand-stacking operation was required to get the pile in shape for the printers to receive. “Today, the piles are coming out of the sheeter so perfectly smooth, that further jogging is not necessary,” Keane continued, “and are going directly to the die cutting department or to press.”

MOD-PAC originally established a 48 hour ready-to-draw-on buffer inventory of sheeted stock. However, because of the additional manufacturing capability of the second MSL Sheeter, this inventory has been reduced to a 24-hour inventory. “If there should ever be a breakdown, we know that Maxson will respond and fix the problem within that period of time.” Quick service was one of the features that impressed us when we chose Maxson as a vendor,” Keane observed.

Consistent with overall upgrades are the three Heidelberg machines in the pressroom – none are more than six years old. A five-color CD with double coating and extended drying capabilities was added to a four-color Speedmaster CD with single inline coating station. The latest addition was a six-color perfecting Speedmaster SPC with double coating capability, now making possible metallic colors and special coatings.

Product then flows to one of five new Bobst die cutting machines, cellophane application, folding, gluing, boxing and out the door to the customer.

“This is just in time at its best. We are determined to streamline every detail of our operation without sacrificing any responsiveness. We have a ‘pull-it-through’ attitude about scheduling and production,” summarized Keane.

Reprinted from Board Converting News, 1999

In-House Sheeting Promotes Growth and Quality

Hammer Lithograph’s mission statement is “Growth Through Quality,” and that is what Rochester, NY-based company has been accomplishing over the past decade. As a custom printer of sheet-fed packaging, Hammer has enjoyed annual double-digit sales increases.

Hammer’s work is varied. The company specializes in the manufacturing of high quality food and beverage labels for a customer base located nationally and internationally. It also produces over wraps for the toy, game, and retail industries, as well as specialized printing for the horticultural market.

hammer1The common bond that links Hammer’s customers together is their need for high quality, multicolor print work along with prompt service to satisfy just-in-time manufacturing schedules.

Over the past seven years, Hammer’s Lithograph has invested heavily in new state-of-the-art equipment that has enabled it to operate more efficiently and has reduced operating costs. Printing equipment ranges from an eight-color, 40-in. press to several multicolor 55- and 60-in. presses. (Information regarding suppliers is proprietary.)

The next step was in-house sheeting, and Hammer was ready.

Set up to Serve

When Hammer Lithograph decided to bring sheeting in-house, the results was, in fact, not quite in-house in the literal sense of the word, but close enough. The company set up J. MacKenzie Ltd., located nearby in Rochester, as a subsidiary to supply Hammer’s printing operation with sheeted stock and also serve as a contract sheeter for other converters.

According to Steve Ray, plant manager for J. MacKenzie Ltd., “The decision to sheet in-house was driven by two factors-service and quality. As an advocate of just-in-time, we saw an advantage in sheeting from roll inventory to shorten manufacturing turnaround times. This would make Hammer Lithograph more competitive in a marketplace that is constantly demanding shorter lead times.”

“When we relied on the mills for sheeted stock, we waited a minimum of five days for material. For this service, Hammer paid a premium over the normal sheeting charges. In contrast, by bringing this operation in-house, we can have paper delivered within the hour, sheet it, and ship it to Hammer within 48 hours.”

Sheeting in-house is also viewed as a vehicle to help control the quality of raw materials, since the sheeting quality Hammer was getting from outside suppliers wasn’t as high as the company’s internal standards.

During the company’s investigation of sheeting equipment there were a number of criteria for selection. For, Ray, quality at the top of the list. “Hammer’s printing process is sheet-fed, offset in multicolor, with perfecting capabilities. Squareness and accuracy had to be on the mark. As a quality control measure, we inspect every 500 to 1,000 sheets for squareness and sheet-length accuracy. We needed a sheeter that would produce a sheet-fed skid that was press ready.”

After reviewing several designs, the company selected the MSL sheeter from Maxson Automatic Machinery Co. According to Ray, “MSL sheeter met our requirements for accuracy while at the same time offering us the flexibility to sheet a varied product mix.” Reputation, service, the location of the facility, and durability were other reasons Ray gives for the selection of Maxson.

Offering Ease of Operation

Capable of sheeting rolls up to 57 in. wide, the MSL handles a broad range of materials, including coated-one-sides, and offset paper grades in basis weights ranging from 30# to 100#. It runs solid bleached sulfate board up to .028 in. and metallized stock from 40 gsm to 40# basis weights. “The MSL allows us to sheet from board to paper and back to board without a great deal of adjustment,” says Ray.

hammer2The sheeter operates at speeds as high as 1,000 fpm, affording Hammer Lithograph the production capacity it needs to keep up with demand. “We produce about 35,000 to 40,000 lb of paper per shift, depending on size and substrate changes,” says Ray. “We can respond to rush orders faster. If any shortage problems occur when a job is on press, they can be resolved immediately. By keeping inventory on hand to a minimum, we can contain costs better.”

The Maxson sheeter has a dual-motor drive that provides a sheet length of +/- .015 in., regardless of cut-off length or line speed. The dual drive offers quick setup, because the sheet length is set via keypad entry. The sheeter features auto tension control and auto squareness .

“The dual motor drive is one way in which the MSL offers ease of operation,” says Ray. “The nature of our business makes this an important consideration. Our order sizes range from 2,000 to 600,000 sheets, making for as many as five changeover during an eight-hour shift. We have to handle both short and long runs equally well.”

Ray explains, “The Maxson sheeter allows us to produce a more consistent product. A clean cut means fewer hickies on the press and less downtime for wash-ups.”

To optimize efficiency during roll changes, J. MacKenzie selected shaftless, self-loading roll stands that eliminate the need for an overhead hoist when loading rolls. The operator simply moves the roll into place and positions the chucks to grip the roll and lift it into position. A roll change is complete in less than four minutes.

Quality control is key to J. MacKenzie. Sheets are checked every 500 to 1,000 for squareness and cutoff, notes Ray. “We hold a

+/- 1/64 for squareness and +/- .030 for cutoff. The cutoff is very relevant to roll quality. The readings on the QC sheets are then recorded and stored in a database by skid number.”

A Success on All Fronts

J. MacKenzie Ltd, in addition to bringing Hammer greater quality control, more flexibility, and reduced operating costs, also functions successfully as a contract sheeter. Says Ray, “We have been lead times shorten up, forcing companies to keep roll inventory on hand. They can utilize J. MacKenzie to warehouse rolls and have them cut on demand.”

The sheeting subsidiary has grown to a three-shift, six-day-a-week operation. “We presently have 14 employees and operate out of a 20,000 square-foot facility,” Ray says proudly. “We have our own skid-building shop, and we have just recently started a cut-size line that is able to package smaller sheets. We are presently able to sheet rolls and then cut them down to 81/2 x 11 in. or smaller and package per customer needs. We offer warehousing and deliveries, and we have our own fleet to deliver products in a just-in-time environment.”

A commitment to the highest quality standards, along with a dedication to serving customers, are the reasons for Hammer Lithograph’s enviable reputation within the printing industry. In addition to earning awards on an annual basis from national Printing Industries of America, the company has been recognized locally for its printing capabilities.

The right combination of facilities, equipment, and people has brought the company to where it is today. By bringing sheeting in-house, both Hammer Lithograph and J. MacKenzie Ltd. Are building on their reputations and continuing to “grow through quality.”

Reprinted from Paper Film Foil Converter, March 1996

In House Sheeting Trims Acme Expenses

More and more folding carton manufacturers are finding in-house sheeting provides a competitive marketing edge. It’s consistent with carton maker efforts to streamline the delivery schedule, increase assurance of product quality and improve customer service.

With its own operation, Acme Packaging, Canton, Mich., found it could improve profitability and reduce waste.

Before creating the in-house sheeting department, Acme purchased sheeted SBS board from Northstar Paper, a converting company it bought in 1982.
acme

High shipping cost

“We found it advantageous buying paperboard from our own company because we could depend on the quality of the material we received, but there were some economics drawbacks,” says John Schamante, president of Acme Packaging. “We had to face the high costs of shipping material from Northstar to Acme. Larger orders took two to three trips via truck to get the material from the Northstar plant to Acme’s operation, which is 120 miles away.”

Additionally, Schamante notes that the timing involved in shipment could cause problems. “Sometimes we had to wait up to a week to receive converted material. That set us back on our production schedule. Acme prides itself on quality products and attentive service, and on-time deliveries have been key to obtaining and keeping customers.”

To improve operating efficiencies, Acme merged with Northstar in 1986 and moved to its present facility. By housing all sheeting, die cutting and printing equipment in one location, Schamante found the output and quality of end products.

The 58-year-old company produces folding cartons for a Midwest customer base consisting largely of pharmaceutical, toy and hardware manufacturers, and bakeries.

To further boost productivity Schamante decided to upgrade Acme’s converting equipment. He wanted to improve the speed, in particular, of the new sheeting operation. Northstar had been using an older 103″ sheeter that did not provide the speed and cutting accuracy of more modern machines.

Turnaround trimmed

After reviewing a number of sheeters in operation, Acme chose an MSL precision sheeter with shaftless roll stand and Series 250 stacker, from Maxson Automatic Machinery Co. Since its installation, Acme has been sheeting roughly 80 tons of SBS a week, at up to 700 feet per minute.

Faster production has enabled the company to trim turnaround time considerably.

Outfitted with a (patented) Airfoil Overlap system, the sheeter provides faster feeding from the cutting section to the stacker. The system forces the tail end of the first sheet down, while forcing the leading edge of the oncoming sheet up. This provides safe, jam-free overlapping. An electronic modulator adjusts the flow of air through the system in relation to line speed, which assured jam-free overlapping even at high speeds.

The Series 250 stacker also increases Acme’s productivity and efficiency in sheet collecting and jogging. It provides an even-sided well-jogged pile and eliminates the need for continuous operator attention because of its automatic feed down table.

In-house sheeting has provided Acme with economic benefits.

“By getting our material in roll form, we can sheet to order and stay ahead of the presses,” says Schamante. “As a result, we’ve been able to decrease waste levels and improve quality. The sheeted skids we used to skip from our supplier sometimes sat in storage for a week or two.”

In-house sheeting has eliminated waste from trimming. When Northstar was supplying Acme with sheeted board, the folding carton manufacturer often found it necessary to trim material to fit a customer’s order. Acme can now economically sheet board to a precise size. The precision sheeter has eliminated a production step.

New QC tactic

The quality of the converted board has improved. An Acme operator inspects the SBS board as it comes off the stacker. If it is not up to company standards, it is rejected before it reaches the printing presses, Schamante says.

To ensure a clean, dust-free skid, a PEN MAM dust collecting system was ordered with the sheeter. Located at the delivery tape section of the sheeter, the system suctions dust off the sheets through flexible hosing and collects it in a box with four individual filters.

“The PEN MAM system has become essential in keeping our boards clean from dust before they reach the printer,” says Bob Sowa, plant manager. “Even with our state-of-the-art equipment, clean boards ensure the highest quality printing job, free of marks or flaws.”

Sowa is optimistic about the entire plant. “Overall, we’ve been able to control quality, turnaround time and waste levels with in-house sheeting. It allows us to monitor all phases of converting –from sheeting to die cutting to gluing. That’s important for product consistency. Acme has become well know for its service and quality. In-house sheeting will allow us to improve the marketability of our cartons.”

Reprinted from Paperboard Packaging, May 1988

House of Packaging is Home to Quality

In recent years, folding cartons have become highly effective marketing tools, utilizing colorful graphics and appealing finishes to attract consumers.

As packaging appearances becomes more important, folding carton manufacturers are finding quality assurance more important than ever. By implementing a Statistical Process control (SPC) program, one California company is meeting the strict requirements for print quality by carefully monitoring the quality of its end products in-house.

For House of Packaging, the program has meant a greater operating efficiency for its cosmetic and pharmaceutical customers because it reduces the customer’s needs for quality inspection.

omev1“The key elements for our success as a folding carton manufacturer lie in our quality control measures… and state-of-the-art converting equipment,” says co-founder Henry O’Melveny. “What’s happening in the industry is that the customer wants the converter to ensure a quality carton before it leaves the plant. Prior to implementing a quality assurance program, pharmaceutical manufacturers sent in-coming cartons to a quarantined area where their quality personnel checked print quality and color variation of the package.”

According to O’Melveny, the newly-formed SPC program allows for greater production efficiency because it reduces customers’ workloads. “The policy eliminates the need for manufacturers to inspect in-coming orders. Cartons by-pass inspection and go directly to the packaging process.”

Despite the additional steps, the policy has helped boost House of Packaging’s image as a leading supplier of high quality folding cartons in southern California, notes O’Melveny. Over the past year, the company expanded sales by six percent and anticipates the figure to double in 1988. O’Melveny says the company is not only increasing its customer base but is obtaining more orders from its existing customers which include manufacturers such as Neutrogena, Georgio, Syntex and ICI Americas.

O’Melveny reports that quality assurance along every step of the sheeting, printing, die cutting and gluing operations is key to making the SPC program successful.

“Our inspectors carefully check the material as it is being converted from one step to another, but an important element in keeping waste levels minimal and quality levels high is owning equipment that can produce a quality product 100 percent of the time,” says O’Melveny.

After evaluating the performance of the manufacturer’s equipment, O’Melveny and his partner, Jack Franke, decided recently to purchase a new precision sheeter from the Maxson Automatic Machinery Co.

The selection of a 57″ precision sheeter was the most important decision for maintaining quality standards , notes O’Melveny, because the company’s older sheeter was unable to produce dust-free, high-quality sheeted board on a consistent basis.

“The first step in the converting process is sheeting and we must be able to produce clean, precision-cut board if we want quality end product,” he says. “We’ve found that accumulation of dust on pre-printed clay-coated SBS board is a major cause of hickeys. Our biggest concern in quality assurance is the ability to produce a product free of hickeys since they cause printing flaws and result in a poor-looking carton.”

O’Melveny reviewed several sheeter models and chose a Maxson MSL precision sheeter. The unit offers precise cutting of board ranging from 10 to 32 points, at speeds of 800 to 850 feet per minute.

To ensure the cleanest sheeted board, O’Melveny had a dust collecting system installed on the sheeter. Produced by Web System Inc., the patented system vacuums dust generated by the cutting and slitting of the sheet at the delivery tape section.

“The system utilizes rotating brushes which apply high energy vibration to break embedded fibers and broken clay loose,” says O’Melveny. “As the sheet passes through a narrow tool plate, a vacuum containing compressed ionized air sucks the dust away. The system is highly effective in removing dust as small as 10 microns.”

O’Melveny adds that the installation of a new self-loading shaftless back stand speeds the sheeting operation because it reduces web set-up time. Operable by one person, the back stand can load rolls up to 57 inches wide and 72 inches in diameter.

While upgrading the company’s productivity, O’Melveny and Franke decided to improve the company’s printing capabilities as well. By purchasing a 55″ Miehle-Roland six-color printing press, House of Packaging will be able to print at speeds up to 10,000 sheets per hour, while providing specialized printing jobs for some of its customers.

Once installed, the series 800 press with a tower coater/perfector will enable the company to print, coat and UV cure sheets in-line, saving production time. In addition, by using an aqueous coating instead of a conventional press varnish with the tower coater, the company will be able to produce a glossy, scuff-resistant finish without the use of spray powders, says O’Melveny.

“Some of our cosmetic customers want a smooth, high-gloss finish for their soap, perfume and beauty cartons,” he says. “We took a look at the industry and discovered that there was trend toward specialized carton-making that involves sophisticated look. We want to have the capability to produce this high-quality finish so we meet our customers’ requirements,”

Reprinted from Package Printing & Converting, July 1988

Getting Sheeted Board On Short Notice is Easy

Rather than contend with the long lead time and accompanying production downtime of ordering sheeted board from outside sources, The Neff Courier Group created its own sheeting company,. The company, C-N Corrugated and Sheeting, was launched in 1981 to meet the group’s need for high-quality sheeted material with an extremely short lead time.

“We created C-N because we required sheeted material on very short notice. To meet this demand, we keep a large roll stock inventory of SBS and SUS board, and can usually turn an order around in a day or less,” says Matthew Klusmeier, president and chief operating officer of C-N.

C-N keeps more than 300 tons of roll stock in inventory for The Neff Courier Group and sheets on an “as needed” basis. This accounts for 95% of C-N’s business. The remaining five percent is for local lithographers. The company also cuts and scores corrugated sheets for folding into boxes and has a Kohmann windowing machine for creating windows or inserting adhesive backed supplements into folding cartons.
neff1

“Although our main operation is sheeting board for our parent company, the corrugated carton and windowing operations are an important segment of our business,” Klusmeier says.

Limited by technology

Unlike many other purchasing decisions, which sheeter to purchase turned out to be an easy choice for C-N. Before the Neff Folding Box Co. merged with the Courier Carton Co. to form The Neff Courier Group, Courier had an older Maxson sheeter operating in its plant. The Neff Courier Group originally moved that sheeter to C-N when it began. C-N found that although the older Maxson was still operating well, it was limited by the technology of its era-the early 1950s.

“We had a great deal of success with the older sheeter and we were very impressed with its durability. So, when we decided to upgrade our sheeting operation, we called on Maxson again,” Klusmeier says.

The Louisville, Ky.-based sheeting company utilizes a high quality precision sheeter from Maxson Automatic Co., Westerly, R.I. C-N runs the sheeter between 650 and 700 feet per minute and finds it accurate to +/- 0.023 inches.

“Speed and accuracy were the two main reasons we purchased a new sheeter. We wanted to assure the rapid service we’re known for,” Klusmeier says.

To obtain the most efficient sheeting possible, C-N also installed an options package on the Maxson MSL sheeter, which included a decurler, a self-loading shaftless back stand, a PEN-MAM dust collector, a continuous delivery system, a sheet length monitor and a trim slitter with removal system. The trim slitter installed on the sheeter has been especially helpful to the company by ensuring that the width of all sheets is consistent and square. “we ensure a perfectly square cut by first slitting the edges to compensate for any roll imperfections,” Klusmeier explains.

neff2The optional package has significantly reduced changeover downtime of the company’s sheeting operation. Roll changes now take just a few minutes with the self-loading shaftless back stand, according to Klusmeier. The operator removes the core of the finished roll. He rolls a new roll in place and activates the back stand, which automatically grabs hold of the roll between chucks and lifts it into place. This allows him to thread the machine and resume production.

After the rolls are sheeted, the continuous delivery system also helps in reducing downtime by allowing production to continue when off-loading completed skids from the Maxson series 250 stacker. The extending grid mechanism of the system temporarily holds sheeted material while the operator off-loads the skid.

C-N utilizes the sheet length monitor when preparing the sheeter for a new cutoff, which further reduces waste and downtime. The monitor enables the operator to preset the sheet length and fully monitor the machine to ensure consistent, accurate results. The monitoring capability also allows the operator to check the linear footage of rolls on a regular basis.

Making room

The company is also in the process of expanding its existing facility to make more room for inventory. The 33% expansion will allow the company to store roll stock for both its parent company and outside business when needed. Klusmeier notes that the expansion is just the first step in the company’s effort to provide more efficient service.

“We’re always looking for ways to increase our service and efficiency. We are investigating the possibility of implementing a complete SPC program throughout the Neff Courier Group after this expansion is completed.”

Reprinted from Paperboard Packaging, April 1989


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