Managing director Uwe Bögl is looking forward to being able to offer a broad selection of servo-driven slitter-rewinders from the entry-level PRIMASLIT series rated 600m/min to the top-of-the-range, fully automated ROBOSLIT plus series dual turret slitter-rewinders that can run up to 1 000m/min.
According to Uwe, SP Ultraflex Systems has played a vital role in the evolution of converting slitter-rewinders in Southeast Asia since its inception in 1985. Traditionally considered as mere ancillaries, slitter-rewinders are now sourced with the same due diligence by companies that purchase higher value equipment such as printing presses and lamination equipment. Deservedly so, since slitting-rewinding is the final converting process and the finish of slit reels is the proverbial ‘first impression’ given to the customer.
Keeping pace with developments in related equipment such as printing, lamination and packing machines, there has been a constant metamorphosis in the design of converting slitters, particularly with respect to the speeds, drives, changeover mechanisms and material handling options.
According to managing director Biku Kohli, SP Ultraflex has one of the widest ranges of slitter-rewinders in the world, differentiated in respect of speeds, layouts, diameter handling capacities, material handling options and automation levels. ‘We’ve always found a reason to develop a new model by identifying and improving on the shortcomings of previous models. The company boasts nine models of slitter-rewinder machines, having just added a tenth model which was soft launched during a high-profile flexible packaging summit in Mumbai earlier this year.
SP Ultraflex’s PRIMASLIT series features two models of Duplex compact slitter-rewinders, the PRIMASLIT FL and PRIMASLIT RL, both capable of operating at 600m/min. In the separate unwind model range, the ULTRASLIT OHP and FSU both run at 700m/min. The ROBOSLIT RL, OHP and FSU form part of SP Ultraflex’s dual turret slitter-rewinder model range and run at 800m/min. The top-end ROBOSLIT plus series dual turret slitter-rewinder is specified to run at 1 000m/min. Other machines in the SP Ultraflex arsenal include web inspection rewinders, doctoring rewinding machines and trim winders.
‘However, high speeds are way down on the list of what’s important when working with slitter-rewinders,’ Biku emphasises. ‘What’s even more important is the machine’s performance. With the speeds and sensitivities of downstream packing machines ever on the rise, customers’ expectations and demands for precision are increasing in terms of all the quality aspects. You need winding to be flush and the surface to be flat. You don’t want any residual static. You need the reels to be wound to the correct level of tightness, and you need the tightness to be uniform from the core to the finished diameter. These are just a few of the quality parameters, and all the features built into our machines ensure these,’ he remarks.
Biku also believes that productivity is far more important than speed. Due attention is paid to the machine’s ramp-up and downtime – the time it takes to go from zero to full speed and vice versa – is important because this determines how long the machine will actually run at its regular speed. ‘You can have a machine that runs at 1 000m/min, but if most of that time is spent ramping up and ramping down, it doesn’t make much sense from a productivity perspective,’ he states.
Another important aspect of any slitter-rewinder is efficient changeover time. According to Biku, the dual turret rewind section of the ROBOSLIT models enables much higher outputs than their respective duplex counterparts, on account of their 26 second changeover sequence. ‘This increases productivity by between 60 and 80%,’ he comments.
Biku regards job setup time as an all-important aspect of any slitter-rewinder. ‘With the number of SKUs increasing, job lengths are becoming shorter. Converters might do five or six jobs a day and if operators are spending 45 minutes in changing over from one job to the other, they’re losing a good 20% of the day.’ Job setup on a converting slitter-rewinder is about aligning multiple cutters and cores to the packaging design. Biku emphasises that the Roboslit Plus features an automatic job setup which carries out this repetitive task swiftly, flawlessly and with minimum passage of substrates, allowing the operator to slit and rewind ‘in register’ within the first few metres of a new job. ‘Advantages include operator friendliness, faster setup and reduced wastage, all of which add up to significant savings and a fast ROI on the additional investment that this feature entails.’
While SP Ultraflex produces some of the most advanced range of slitter-rewinders in the world, Uwe says the standout aspect is the reliability and robust build of the machines.
‘Besides the high level of attention to detail, SP Ultraflex can offer customers a portfolio of equipment where they can select the most suitable machine for their applications,’ he comments.
‘With SP Ultraflex, each machine offers a suitable solution in unwind technology. The unwinder can be attached to the machine or it can be standalone for heavier rolls such as self-adhesives or laminates. Converters can choose between an overhead or underpass path where the material comes into the machine. With SP Ultraflex, they can hand-select the right type of machine best suited for their business.’
Uwe’s convinced that together with Biku and his team – represented by Gatik Arora who is responsible for the African continent – packwise-africa will continue to grow and serve SP Ultraflex’s satisfied customer base here in South Africa and the SADC region.