The MSS Sheeter is a universal machine that can withstand heavy cutting loads, yet handle light weight films. It is specially designed for short runs on different size set ups.

Trade Converter Trims lead Times On Short Runs

Lakeland Paper Company, located in Sturgis, MI is one trade converter with a formula for success. Much of this success lies in the company’s commitment to service and quality. As Charles Schmidt, Lakeland Paper’s sales manager, explains, “During the paper shortage of the early 1970’s, many small folding carton companies needed a source for sheeted stock. Lakeland Paper was founded in 1972 to serve this market.”

lakeland1As a custom converter of paperboard products, Lakeland Paper supplies sheeted stock to paper merchants and folding carton companies. Lakeland’s customer base is concentrated within a 10 state area. The company’s niche lies in providing customer with quick service, even when orders are small or odd-sized. Recently, Lakeland has seen sales growth in smaller jobs ranging from ½ ton to 5 tons. Orders of this size now comprise about 35 percent of the company’s total sales.

This rise in demand for smaller orders prompted Lakeland to take a second look at their sheeting operation. With 5 sheeters measuring 60″ or wider, the company was well positioned to handle wide rolls and long runs. However, Lakeland did not have a unit that could efficiently handle narrower rolls and smaller orders.

As Schmidt recalls, “Our existing equipment was not geared for short runs or lightweight calipers, and short cutoffs were a problem. When we looked at our growth pattern, we realized we had to do something.” During their search for a sheeter, Lakeland identified several criteria for selection. Flexibility and ease of operation were important considerations, as were speed and accuracy.

Remarks Schmidt, “We needed a sheeter that was compact, but could still give us the production we needed.” After investigating the various sheeting equipment available. Lakeland selected the

MSS-HS Sheeter from Maxson Automatic Machinery Company (Westerly, RI).

At Lakeland, the MSS-HS Sheeter handles board calipers ranging from .010 inches to .016 inches. Lakeland’s product mix includes SBS, recycled and polycoated board. The new sheeter can handle rolls up to 52″ wide and operates at speeds of up to 600 fpm. These high speeds are maintained in part due to Maxson’s patented Airfoil Overlap System. The device prevents jam-ups at the point of overlap, and is especially useful when sheeting lightweight calipers. Adds Schmidt, “The Airfoil keeps control of the sheets and lets you run at higher speeds.”

Requiring just a single operator, the MSS-HS Sheeter has helped Lakeland to better serve their customers.

Cites Schmidt, “The MSS-HS gives us the flexibility to take on certain orders. These orders would not have gone through our converting process as easily anywhere else.” In addition, turnaround times on smaller orders have also been improved. On average, orders are processed within 3 to 5 days. Says Schmidt, “Based on our needs, the MSS-HS Sheeter was a good fit.”

Along with the purchased of the Maxson sheeter, the company has recently completed a 128,000 sq. ft. addition to allow for more warehouse and operating space. Both these moves should place Lakeland Paper in a solid position for future growth.

Reprinted from The Sheeting Monitor, June 1991

This Converter Sharpens Operation with Upgrade

In a move to market its product more competitively, a manufacturer of pressure-sensitive materials recently upgraded its sheeting operation with a precision sheeter and doubled the capacity of its sheeting operation while reducing labor requirements by more than 50%.

General Formulations, Sparta, MI, has produced pressure-sensitive materials since 1950. The company caters to both short-and long run orders.

With five coating units, six slitter/re-winders and a sheeter, General Formulations has the equipment to do just about anything in the pressure-sensitive area.


general2“There isn’t anything we won’t try to make,” Ernie Barty, company production manager, said. “being a small company, we are known for our specialty work. Our customers say we are more time-sensitive and quality-conscious because of this emphasis.”

The majority of General Formulation’s customers are screen, offset and flexo printers. They are located through-out the US as well as England, Canada, Mexico, the Far East, Australia and New Zealand.

The company also manufactures polished vinyl for advertising signs and static-cling vinyl sheet. Products are available in sheets or rolls.

To meet customers’ demands for sheeted vinyl and polyester stock, General Formulations has sheeted internally since the company was established. While its existing equipment met demand for many years, it was limited by 1950s technology. The need to stay competitive prompted General Formulations to look at a more-efficient method of operation.

“In the pressure-sensitive industry, price is very important,” Barty said.

general3“This forced us to explore better ways of doing things. For example, our sheeters were designed to handle only narrow webs. In contrast, a new sheeter would give us the ability to handle a wider web and slit it down the middle.”

Reducing waste was one way General Formulations could lower costs. “While sheeting pressure sensitive, 75% of our cost is the material,” Barty said. “On our older sheeters, we could set the sheet length only to the nearest ¼ in., which meant we had to oversize by a ½ in. and then guillotine trim. If we could reduce this scrap, we could operate more cost-effectively.”

During its investigation of sheeting equipment, the company reviewed several designs, running trials on equipment to gauge sheet-length accuracy and run ability. It selected the MSS-HS sheeter from Maxson Automatic Machinery Co., Westerly, RI.

general4“This machine’s sheet length held good control,” Barty said. “We liked the creativeness of the manufacturer’s engineering department, their willingness to try to accommodate our needs and that it was American made.”

The sheeter has a twin-motor drive system that utilizes state-of-the-art technology. The design’s advantage is it provides press-ready sheets regardless of cutoff.

For General Formulations, this means a reduction in waste. “Sheet length is infinitely variable, so we can select whatever size we need,” Barty said. “Maxson’s dual-drive system gives us the accuracy we require. Nobody holds better sheet-length tolerances.”

The twin-motor drive system is designed for ease of operation. Size changes are keyed in at the operator console. The drive package includes an automatic-squaring device that ends the need to manually adjust for squareness.

general5“The drive system is very simple to operate,” Barty said. “Our operator can set sheet length in less than a minute.”

In selecting a sheeter, General Formulations chose options that would boost overall efficiency. A shaftless self-loading roll stand eliminates the need for an overhead hoist when loading rolls. As the operate moves the roll into position, the roll stand cradles the roll and lifts it into position.

A roll change is completed in under 2 min. The shaftless roll stand has an automatic tension-control feature to ensure sheet-length accuracy.

The MSS-HS sheeter handles pressure-sensitive paper, polyester and vinyl in thicknesses from 1 mil to 10 mil. It offers a sheet-length range from 13 in. to 60 in. and handles rolls up to 59 in. wide. “With our older sheeters, the widest we could handle was 36 in. Over the past few years, there’s been a shift in the printing industry toward wide-web work,” Barty said. “With the Maxson, we can capitalize on this business.”

This view of the Maxson Sheeter at General Formulations shows the neatly jogged sheets. With the new sheeter, General Formulations can now sheet to a finished size and guillotine trimming has been eliminated.

“Another area of improvement has been increased production. “The MSS-HS has totally changed our way of thinking,” Barty said. “We recently sheeted a job in four hours, which would’ve taken three days on an older sheeter. The overall quality is better.

“We’ve doubled our production while reducing our labor requirement from six operators to two. Even so, we have yet to fully utilize the sheeter’s potential because of our small order sizes,” he said. “On average, we have up to 10 size changes daily.”

However, General Formulations’ order mix is undergoing a change to include more lucrative long runs. Orders like these offer opportunities for growth. “The Maxson gives us the flexibility to work both ways,” Barty said.

“While continuing our emphasis on short-run specialty work, we can sheet larger volumes competitively.”

Designed to handle long and short runs orders, the new MSS-HS Sheeter has resulted in General Formulations doubling its sheeting capacity. As a result, the converter can now sheet larger volumes more competitively.

A commitment to quality and service is one reason behind General Formulations’ success over the past 40 years. The Maxson sheeter complements this philosophy. “We’re operating more efficiently, and the overall quality is better,” Barty said. “As additional business opportunities develop, we have the equipment, people and facilities to continue our tradition.”

Reprinted from Paper Film Foil Converter, April 1993

This Converter Gets Quality, Savings in Sheeter Upgrade

A Wisconsin converter of laminate systems has found investing in a new sheeter has brought major production benefits, including labor savings and improved quality.

Since 1958 Allied Signal Laminate Systems, La Crosse, WI, has been a quality producer of prepreg and laminates for circuit-board industry. The firm’s product line is used for high-end military and computer application by customers such as IBM, Compaq, Hewlett Packard, Unisys, Hughes Aircraft, Cray and Honeywell.

allied1Allied Signal has an extensive manufacturing and distribution network with facilities in: Chandler, AZ; Postville, IA; Hoosick Falls, NY; Pendleton, SC; La Crosse, WI; Thailand; Taiwan; and Germany. In 1991, the firm acquired Westinghouse Corp., making it one of the world’s largest circuit-board laminators.

At Allied Signal’s La Crosse plant, the company employs 400 workers. The manufacturing process begins with a fiberglass-cloth roll. The web is drawn through a treater line that coats the cloth with a resin and dries it.

The treated stock is rewound and sheeted off-line on a drop-shear cutter. The sheeted material goes through several other processes before it’s packaged and sold as a circuit-board laminate or prepreg panels.

As the computer industry has grown and evolved, so has demand for Allied Signal’s product line. The La Crosse facility manufactures 18 different styles of glass-treated material with an emphasis on short runs and small sizes.

With this business on the increase, the company found its sheeting operation needed more capacity. Until recently, the company sheeted its material on three drop-shear cutters, which were slow and labor intensive. Cleanliness was also a concern.

“For our operation, cleanliness is a major consideration,” Dave Plantz, manufacturing engineer at Allied Signal, said. “The exacting nature of our product means we can’t have any grease, dirt, or lint on the stock. As we were moving toward a clean-room environment, it became essential to have a sheeter that could cut our material cleanly and faster.”

Allied Signal’s sheeter investigation included talking to other plants within the company. “We heard that our sister plant in Hoosick Falls had bought a Maxson sheeter,” Plantz said. “We visited their facility and saw what it could do.”

After careful evaluation, Allied Signal selected the MSS sheeter from Maxson Automatic Machinery Co., Westerly, RI.

allied2The sheeter handles five or six different resin systems ranging in thickness from 2 mil up to 8 mil. “We sheet all but our very lightweight stock on the Maxson,” Plantz said. The new sheeter operates consistently between 75 fpm and 100 fpm representing a fourfold increase in production. “We’re doing the same things that we did previously on our other sheeters, but the difference is we can do them much faster now with less setup time. As a result of the Maxson unit’s sheeting capacity, Allied Signal has idled its three existing sheeters.

To address Allied Signal’s concern about cleanliness, the MSS sheeter has a dust-collecting system within the cutting section to combat any slitter-dust contaminants. Synthetic tapes were substituted for the standard cotton tapes in the sheeter’s delivery system to allow for easy of cleaning. As a final insurance against dust, a PEN MAM dust collector was installed in the sheeter’s delivery section.

The MSS sheeter’s close-tolerance drive provides an accurate cutoff with no guillotine trimming required. The sheeted stock collects in a neatly jogged pile at the stacker. “With the Maxson, our pile quality has improved measurably,” Plantz said.

Sheeting-department productivity has also improved. “One operator on the Maxson can now do the work that normally took three operators to do on our other sheeters,” Plantz said.

With the flexibility to turn orders around more quickly. Plantz estimates Allied Signal now saves half a week in its production schedule without comprising the quality of its product.

As the circuit-board industry and its capabilities continue to evolve, Allied Signal is poised to react to the changes by providing a quality product more cost effectively.

Reprinted from Paper Film Foil Converter, October 1994

Sheeting Efficiency Gets Boost With New Equipment

Quality and service have been instrumental in an Illinois converter’s growth from a small plastics distributor and converter to an extrusion specialist with state-of-the-art converting facilities.

Lustro, Evanston, IL, supplies the offset-printing industry with sheeted film products and has a worldwide customer base. End-use applications included transparencies, overhead projections, book inserts, greeting-card over-lays, and point-of-sale materials.

Sheeting is an important part of the operation. For the past 30 years, Lustro’s sheeting operation has been performed in-house on three sheeters. From roll form. The film is sheeted with a tissue interleave and then cut to the customer’s specifications on one of three guillotine trimmers.

lustro1This method had been successful for Lustro until recently when one of the sheeters had to be replaced. This development prompted the firm to examine the efficiency of its sheeting operation.

“Sheeting was the area needing the greatest improvement,” Phil Scully, Lustro’s sales and service manager, said. “Our sheeting equipment was quite old, operated at slow speeds and wasn’t very accurate. There’s simply too much competition around not to keep up with the times, so we decided to investigate the new technologies available in sheeting equipment.”

The company identified several criteria for selection, including speed, accuracy and a reasonable price. After considering six sheeter designs, the equipment that met all of the MSS sheeter from Maxson Automatic Machinery, Westerly, RI.

“The Maxson’s production capabilities excited us, but, in addition, we were impressed with the unit’s many innovative design features. These included the use of air at the stacker to help float out the sheets as well as a feed-down table designed to automatically lower the skid as pile height increases.”

The new sheeter features a variable-speed transmission that provides a sheet-length and squareness accuracy of + .03 in. A slitter rig and sheet length monitor were also selected as equipment options to further improve accuracy and efficiency.

The sheet-length monitor eliminates setup waste by allowing the operator to preset the sheet length before threading the web into the cutter. When the sheeter is in operation, the monitor digitally displays the sheet length to the nearest hundredth of an inch. As a result of these options, Lustro has realized a 25% reduction in waste.

The sheeter is also equipped with a reject gate, which was originally designed to divert unacceptable sheets during setup. However, the firm found another application for this reject gate once the sheeter was in operation. “We use the reject gate far more often to divert good sheets for 1 or 2 sec. while the operate places a clipboard insert at the pile,” Scully said.

Because film is flimsy and difficult to stack, the design of the new sheeter includes a vibratory jogging system at the stacker. The jogging system is reported to have significantly improved the overall quality of the stack. “On our older equipment, our operator would have to flight with the stack before trimming,” Scully said. “The skids off the Maxson are neatly jogged and easier to work with, and we estimate a 10% time savings in not having to restack the material at the trimmer.”

The Maxson sheeter at Lustro runs within a speed range of 225 fpm to 240 fpm, which is twice as fast as the unit it replaced. This speed gain has doubled the company’s production rates. On their old sheeter, a run of 325,000 sheets required more than 200 hr. of machine time. A similar run on the new sheeter is completed within 100 hr.

In terms of throughput, “we’re still faced with a two-week backlog, but the big difference now is what you can do in those two weeks,” Scully said. “Because of the sheeter’s production capabilities, we use the new sheeter to handle long runs. Our operator can set it, and, for the most part, forget it.” Lustro’s remaining sheeters are used primarily for short runs.

Labor costs have also been reduced since the new unit was purchased. Its compact design offers ease of operation. Lustro operates it with one skilled operator is required to operate each of the old sheeters.

The new equipment has also been a motivating factor for Lustro’s employees. “Our operators treat it like a whole new entity, and it has instilled a certain amount of pride among the employees.”

In addition to improving overall productivity, the Maxson sheeter at Lustro has opened up opportunities for growth. “We now have more flexibility to take on certain jobs that we couldn’t do in the, “Scully said. ” For example, we now have the capability to sheet flexible vinyl, and we can do it faster and with less labor requirements.”

Reprinted from Paper Film Foil Converter, December 1989

Sheeter Purchase Allows Converter to Cut Lead Time

A Midwest converter’s commitment to service and quality through upgrading and improving operations has helped the firm achieve an average 60% annual growth rate during the past eight years.

Universal Duramark, Minneapolis, MN, has supplied the graphic-arts industry with pressure-sensitive-film products since 1962. As demand for these products grew, so did the company’s operations. In 1988, it acquired Duramark Films, Cleveland, OH. In October 1990, Universal Duramark was acquired by Ritrama, Milan, Italy, and is now know as Ritrama Duramark.

duramark1The converter’s success is based on its commitment to service and quality. The desire to improve and upgrade the operations whenever possible has led to its healthy growth rate.

Sheet fed products have led the growth in the graphics-arts-products industry, which placed a strain on Ritrama Duramark’s sheeting operations. While sheeting has always been a part of the firm’s manufacturing processes, its sheeting equipment couldn’t keep up with demand.

“We needed to increase the production of our sheeting operation as well as sheet more efficiently,” Daryl Hanzal, general manager of Ritrama Duramark’s Minneapolis facility, said “On our two older sheeters, we had to restack the sheets after sheeting and setup was time consuming.”

After investigating the sheeting equipment available, the firm selected an MSS sheeter from Maxson Automatic Machinery, Westerly, RI.

“The Maxson offered us greater speed and ease of operation,” Hanzal said “The stacking was automated and required less operator attention.”

At Ritrama Duramark, the sheeter operates at speeds up to 250 fpm. This represents a significant speed increase over the company’s earlier equipment.

“With the MSS sheeter we can sheet 1.5 times faster than on the older equipment,” he said. “This means that during an eight-hour shift, we can produce 150,000 sheets on the Maxson versus 100,000 sheets previously.”

The ability to produce more sheets during a shift has allowed the company to cut lead times in half. Turnaround times for sheeted stock have gone from six days to three days. The added capacity has also reduced inventory costs because the company doesn’t have to maintain a large inventory of sheets in stock.

In addition to production gains, the company’s labor costs have dropped. One operator is needed to run the new sheeter compared with two operator required to operate the older machine. The machine’s efficiency is a result of its design. Maxson designed the sheeter to minimize the static buildup that makes film difficult to sheet. Air is used at the stacker to help float the sheets out over the pile. The machine’s jogging system stacks the sheets without the need to restack the material after it’s sheeted.

A shaft-type unwind stand with edge guidance was selected because many of the rolls sheeted at the facility are telescoped. The edge-guidance system aligns the web as it feeds into cutter. Without this feature, the sheeter operator must take an edge trim when slitting telescoped rolls.

“If we didn’t have edge guidance, our operator would have to run the sheeter at half speed to have enough time to adjust the brakes manually,” Hanzal said.

The addition of the MSS sheeter has fit well with the company’s plans for future expansion. “In a mature industry like ours, service is very important,” he said. “The sheeter beefs up the service aspect of our business. We have enough capacity to support our growth rate while giving our customers the quality they expect.”

Reprinted from Paper Film Foil Converter, March 1991

Sheeter Helps Converter Meet Orders, Hike Quality

The purchase of high-speed precision sheeter has helped give an Illinois-based board converter greater flexibility while satisfying the growing demand for its product and opening up market opportunities.

Jarvis Cutting Elk Grove Village, IL, was founded in 1981 to serve as the converting arm for its parent company, Andrews Paperboard. Today, the company employs 12. The majority of its customers are located in the Midwest.

As a job-lot converter, Jarvis’s product line includes folding-carton and bending-chipboard stock for use as pad interleaves and inserts for boxes.

Until two years ago, the company purchased all of its inventory in sheet form. The stock would then be trimmed to a specific order size. This approach worked well in the beginning but in time, the availability of sheets became scarce. The problem of a short supply was compounded by the fact that the converter’s business was growing.

“In this business, the more flexible you are, the better your market position, “Craig Calas, Jarvis president, said. “Rolls were easier to get than sheets so we decided to set up an in-house sheeting operation.”

The company selected a used sheeter to start the operation. Although the unit was slow and inaccurate, it gave the firm greater flexibility. Sheeting proved to a boon to the company’s business.

“At one point, we were so busy that we were forced to give our customers a week’s lead time,” Calas said. “Many of our customers with just-in-time production schedules needed stock faster.”

Within a short time, the company realized that its existing sheeter couldn’t keep up with demand.

“Our business was growing, and we needed to turn orders around more quickly,” he said. “We needed a sheeter that was faster and more accurate than our present equipment.”

With these requirements in mind, the company selected the

MSS-HS sheeter from Maxson Automatic Machinery, Westerly, RI.

At the Illinois converting operation, the machine sheets chipboard calipers from .0009 in. to .03 in. The new sheeter operates at speeds up to 600 fpm. This represents a speed gain of more than 300 fpm over the older unit. Calas estimates the firm has seen production capacity triple with the new unit.

The added capacity means orders can be turned around faster. Lead times have shortened from one week to a couple of days. “Now we can target one-day service for our customers,” he said.

To speed setup during roll changes, the company selected a shaftless, self-loading back stand. The design of the back stand eliminates the need for an overhead hoist when loading rolls. The operator moves the roll into place while the back stand cradles the rolls and lifts it into position. A roll change can be completed in less than 5 min. compared with the 20 min. that are needed with a shaft-type design.

Accuracy also has improved with the new sheeter. The machine has a close-tolerance drive to ensure a sheet-length accuracy of

+/- 0.023 in. On the old sheeter, the converter had to oversize the sheets by 0.5 in. to compensate for any cutoff variation. The excess would then have to be guillotine trimmed.

“Now, we can sheet an order directly off a roll and send it out the door,” Calas said. Sheeting faster and more efficiently places Jarvis in a solid position to explore new markets. Opportunities for growth included first-run orders.

“With the MSS-HS, we can now sheet more consistently,” Calas said. Regarding a recent order the company sheeted for a printer, Calas said the company “didn’t get a single return. Anyone knows that in this business, if it doesn’t look good, you’ve got problems.”

“We know our niche is in the plain-chipboard market, but since buying the Maxson sheeter, we have secured orders we wouldn’t have gotten in the past,” he said. “Reputation-wise, the new sheeter has been a plus. We’ve become know more as a quality operation.”

Reprinted from Paper Film Foil Converter, November 1991

Sheeter Cuts Plant’s Labor and Trimming

With the purchase of a sheeter, one folding carton manufacturer more than doubled the production capability of its sheeting operation and reduced its labor requirements by more than 75%.

Wynalda Litho, Rockford, MI, has manufactured folding cartons for the entertainment, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries for more than 20 years. During that time the company has developed a reputation for producing its product with rapid turnaround time, largely due to its ability to process orders entirely in-house.

litho“Our average lead time on a job is five days,” said Robert Wynalda, president. “Compared to the industry average of four to 12 weeks, that is extremely fast. We wouldn’t be able to service customers this quickly if we had to rely on outside sources for parts of our operation.” The evolution of these in-house abilities and increased customer demand prompted the company to recently expand its existing capabilities by 30%. As part of this expansion program, Wynalda Litho needed to increase the efficiency of its sheeting operation.

“Our old sheeter was much too labor-intensive,” said Wynalda. “We were running it three shifts a day, with three people on each shift. In addition, the sheets coming off the machine weren’t square and needed to be trimmed.”

Minus seven people

The company investigated a number of sheeters, finally deciding on a sheeter from Westerly, RI-based Maxson Automatic Machinery Co. that enabled it to reduce its sheeting operation to one shift a day with two operators. Now sheeted material does not need to be trimmed, and the remaining seven people are utilized on other projects.

The machine came equipped with a sheet-length monitor, an air-foil overlap system and a decurler, as well as a continuous delivery system that made possible a 25% increase in production. Operators can off-load the completed stacks of sheeted material without shutting the machine down. An extended grid system temporarily holds the sheeted material while the stacker is being off-loaded.

One expense saved for Wynalda Litho is the clean cut made by the knife system, reducing dust during operation.

“The sheeter has a two-knife system, with one stationary and one rotating knife. By properly adjusting the knives we are able to obtain a clean cut to minimize dust,” explained Wynalda.

Since sheeting of the SBS board is one of the first steps in producing the company’s printed folding cartons, its relies on its sheeting operation to ensure delivery of quality products to its customers.

“We feel the quality of the sheeted product determines the quality of the end product, so we make sure the sheeter is always running at top efficiency,” said Wynalda.

To further ensure consistent high quality of its end product, the company is in the process of instituting a statistical process control program. Since the sheeter is equipped with a sheet-length monitor, it can easily be integrated into the SPC program.

Wynalda Litho is now able to monitor the number of sheets obtained per roll, the linear footage of each roll and the sheet-length variation for each job. Including this information as part of the SPC program increases the accuracy of the program.

With its expansion program completed, Wynalda Litho is looking toward a future of continued growth. “The next phase of our growth is the complete implementation of the SPC program. The Maxson sheeter with the sheet-length monitor fits very well to this plan,” Wynalda concluded.

Reprinted from Boxboard Containers, September 1989

Service Is The Key to Bok Industries Success

Bok Industries is a company that places service above all else. Whether it means turning around in one day, or providing a customized design service, Bok Industries will do what it takes to satisfy their customers.

For the past 35 years, Bok has been a quality producer of presentation binders, loose leaf products and packaging. Serving a customer base concentrated East of the Rockies, Bok’s customers include Eastman Kodak and Xerox Corporation. The company employs 250 workers at its 100,000 sq. ft. facility in Leroy, NY.

In addition to sheeting, silkscreen printing, stamping, and heat sealing capabilities, Bok Industries has a computerized graphics department complete with an in-house designer. The company’s machinery operates two shifts per day.

Until recently, Bok sheeted its flexible PVC stock on an older sheeter. While this unit had served the company for more than 20 years, it was slow and inaccurate. Operators had to hand stack the material and then cut down to an exact size on a guillotine trimmer, which created an additional labor step.

As Gary Lomber, the company’s operations manager explains, “In order to hold the tight registration on our bindery equipment, we had to trim anywhere, we had to trim anywhere from ¼ to ½ inch off of each sheet. This made sheeting the largest bottleneck in our manufacturing process.”

In an effort to streamline its operation, Bok decided to investigate replacing their older sheeter with a new unit. After a careful review, the company selected the MSS Sheeter from Maxson Automatic Machinery Company (Westerly RI).

Lomber said, “With the Maxson the sheet length and squareness accuracy was dead on.” The ability to automate stacking further increased productivity. He adds, “We no longer need two people dedicated to hand stacking material.”

For Bok operation, the MSS Sheeter handles flexible PVC ranging from 7.5 mil up to 18 mil thickness. As an options, the company selected an air loaded slitter rig which slits the web into several streams across. With this capability, a wider roll can be slit into as many as six piles across the web.

Depending upon the material being sheeted, the MSS operates at speeds between 125 to 200 fpm. These speeds represent a threefold increase over their older unit. In Lomber’s opinion, this has been the greatest savings realized. “In the past, when we had 10,000 piece order we would panic. With the Maxson, this is no longer problem. There’s capacity on this machine that we’re not even using yet.”

The ability to operate more efficiently complements Bok Industries’ customer service philosophy. Lomber explains, “Since the Maxson sheeter came on-line, our lead times have shrunk tremendously. If need be, we now have the capability to turn orders around in one day.

The purchase of a Maxson sheeter has also opened up opportunities for future growth. “We are now in the position to take on new business. We can meet the price crunch or delivery date to secure an order. With the Maxson, we are more competitive. In fact, we’ve been able to reduce our prices and still hold our margins.”

Reprinted from The Sheeting Monitor, June 1996

More than a “Wax Paper Tiger”

Handy Wacks Corp. has been producing wax paper products in Sparta, Mich., since 1935. Forty-five years later, an aggressive marketing program was implemented when specialized manufacturers’ representatives were more strongly emphasized on the sales force, and, subsequently, new marketing territories were opened. By 1980 sales had doubled, and one year later increased another 60 percent. Handy Wacks is one old dog who learned new tricks.

wacks1The company now employs 42 people, including office workers, and runs three shifts per day, five to six days per week. It services the U.S., Canada, Caribbean, and some South American markets by providing industrial paper merchants, commercial and institutional food wholesalers, and grocery wholesalers with wax paper products. While company president H.B. (Hank) Fairchild declines to give actual sales figure, there is evidence that business is good: the largest physical expansion in Handy Wacks’ history is now under construction. Two additions totaling 11,000 sq ft will expand the company’s physical parameters to approximately 44,000 sq ft. The additional space will be used mainly for warehousing. Earlier expansions totaling 10,000 sq ft were completed in 1984 and 1985.

When originally established, the company’s only product was a 12×13 1/2-in. wall carton sold predominantly to consumers. Handy Wacks also was involved for many years with interfolding foil for Reynolds Metal and later Alumax Inc. The product line ha since been expanded to include regular stock interfolded and flat wax paper items as well as many odd-size flat papers. Interfolded HDPE all-purpose wrap was introduced in 1981. Some past and current customers include Dunkin’ Donuts, Hot’ n Now restaurants, Mister Donut, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and White Castle restaurants.

Capabilities expand

One of the results of Handy Wacks tremendous growth was having to come to terms with how to keep it happening. As its market share increased, the company realized that production capabilities needed some upgrading in order to sustain the sheeting operation came under scrutiny. “We had an older sheeter that was very slow,” Fairchild says. “We needed to increase our efficiency in sheeting larger volumes of roll stock.”

Handy Wacks finally selected a Maxson MSS specialty sheeter equipped with a sheet-length monitor, slitter, and jogger table. The sheet-length monitor allows the operator to reduce cut-off changeover time and eliminate set-up waste. The jogger table efficiently handles the sheeted wax paper after slitting.

wacks2Although the old sheeter is still in use, the Maxson sheeter runs at twice its speed and offers greater cut-off accuracy (approximately.02 in.) for faster, smoother production. “While our main consideration in this purchase was precision and speed of the sheeter,” explains Fairchild, “its compact size is another plus as we continue to expand.”

Printing upgrade

In addition to upgrading its sheeting operation, Handy Wacks also added a new 61-in. Wolverine flexo press with two-color capability and 24-in. repeat to its printing department. Although only 10 to 15 percent of its products are printed, “that’s our forte,” says Fairchild.

The company also has one 48-in., one-color Wolverine Model 49-1 flexo press and one 60-in., one-color Model EF-1F60 flexo press from Converters Technical Service. All have 12-in. repeats. Water-based inks from suppliers such as Sinclair and Valentine are used. The one-color presses are typically to print such products as fast food wraps for national and regional retail chains; the additional color capability offered by the new Wolverine will increase Handy Wacks’ ability to perform more complex printing jobs.

Other equipment includes two 64-in. and one 48-in. waxers for both wet and dry waxing on paper ranging from 10 ¾ to 25 lb (paper is supplied by five or six different paper mills.) The company also has two 64-in. Model 63-14 and one 42-in. interfolders from Paper Converting Machine Co.

The plant and equipment expansions implemented by Handy Wacks indicate that the business is thriving. If it really is a jungle out there, Handy Wacks is well equipped for survival.

Reprinted from Converting, September 1989

In-House Sheeter Gives Converter Competitive Edge

A New York envelope has gained a competitive edge by proving prompt service and a quality product in a time of softer markets and intense competition.

Alcor Envelope, Hamburg, NY, a subsidiary of Alling & Cory, is a medium-sized envelope converter, servicing a customer base concentrated in the Northeast. The company produces as many as 3-million envelopes in one day, including proprietary and commodity-grade envelopes in standard sizes as well as booklet, catalog and coin envelopes. Special printed envelopes make up 20% of Alcor business and are value-added, requiring nonstandard sizes or nonstick items.

alling“The market drives prices,” Tom Mann, vice president and general manager of operations, said. “The things we have control over are delivery, flexibility and the efficiency of our operation. By looking for ways to be more competitive, we hope to capture a greater market share.”

Until recently, Alcor Envelope relied on an outside source for sheeted stock. While this approach met the company’s needs, it limited its flexibility. “Our deliveries were dictated by the mill’s ability to sheet paper,” Mann said. “There were times when we had to wait eight weeks for sheeted stock.”

The desire to market its product more competitively was central to Alcor’s decision to consider sheeting in-house. “With a sheeter, the mill’s problems didn’t have to become our problems,” he said “Today tight market this especially important. If you can’t turn an order around in two weeks or less, your customer will go someplace else.”

Alcor selected the MSS-HS sheeter from Maxson Automatic Machinery Co., Westerly, RI. The sheeter handles four rolls of envelope stock and operates at an average of 450fpm. At Alcor, the machine sheets 21,000 lb. of white wove, brown kraft and recycled wove stock during an 8-hr shift.

The envelope converter boosted the sheeter’s efficiency by adding several options, including air shafts, a slitter rig and 61-in. pile height. Air shafts were installed on each of the shaft-type roll stands to reduce downtime during roll changes. The slitter rig slits a parent roll into two pile across. The pile-height option allows more stock to accumulate in the stacker before a pallet change is necessary.

The venture into in-house sheeting appears to be paying off. During 1991, the company realized a savings of $70,000 through the elimination of sheeting up-charges. Waste has also been reduced.

“Before the sheeter was installed, our waste on special orders could easily have been 50%,” Mann said. In addition to the saving in paper costs, the sheeter is increasing efficiency. “Our turnaround times on commodity grades are quicker. The sheeter is also helping us operate more efficiently because our other equipment isn’t idle while waiting for paper.”

In-house sheeting has helped Alcor meet its goal to market its product more competitively. “The sheeter gives us more flexibility,” Mann said. “While flexibility doesn’t have a dollar value, we can serve our customer better with it.”

Reprinted from Paper Film Foil Converter, October 1992

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