Training cracks the die-cutting code
As part of its ongoing quest to provide customers in the labelling and narrow-web sector with excellent service, support and education, ROTOCON offers training for tooling purchase or sales staff, press operators, and assistants. The training module addresses the ordering, manufacturing, shipping, and delivery of flexible and rotary dies plus magnetic cylinders; the role of cutting angles and materials; as well as care instructions and fault analysis.
EARLIER this month, Lebone Paarl Labels’ management team requested ROTOCON to assist with a die-cut training module to ensure that all its highly qualified operators – who have worked at various printing companies over the years – are on the same level of understanding in the highly technical process of die-cutting a wide range of specialised materials.
Operations manager, Arrie van Wyk, attended the first of four training sessions to gauge the level of information and the way it was being explained by Allan Musakwa. Arrie was impressed with Allan’s knowledge and ability to answer technical questions. ‘The feedback after this session was positive, with everybody learning something or at least refreshing their memories,’ Arrie reports.
Lebone Paarl Labels also scheduled training sessions for the operators’ assistants on each of the four shifts, the estimators, those responsible for ordering the dies, and the sales team. ‘When ordering the dies, the team must ensure that they provide ROTOCON with all the relevant information to obtain the correct dies, while the sales representatives need to be able to provide customers with the best technical assistance when choosing the correct die for a specified material,’ adds quality officer, Hettie van Wyk.
She also agrees with Arrie that a refresher training, every few years, is vital in reminding the team about aspects they may have forgotten about, receiving updates on the latest technological developments, knowing what’s currently available in the market, and how all this can be applied in the production environment. ‘This type of knowledge improvement, which goes beyond the basics that they usually receive, is crucial in terms of the full picture of what dies to recommend to customers (depending on their material needs); die maintenance and replacement; usage tips and how to test for problems,’ Hettie states.
‘We’d like to thank ROTOCON for its ongoing service and assistance as a value-adding supplier,’ Arrie concludes.
Allan Musakwa explains that this course covered four key aspects. The first aspect was rotary die, magnetic cylinder, and flexible die handling (care and storage instructions) to maximise tool-life value and ensure the best cutting results. The second aspect provided insights into the different die finishes for specialised materials. The third aspect identified the types of dies that work most efficiently for specific jobs; and the final aspect unpacked how to troubleshoot die-cutting problems.
Allan notes that in most cases, cutting problems are caused by issues with the cutting unit, cutting tool, or material. Cutting unit problems can range from dirt, worn bearers, improper pressure to the wrong gap between the magnetic cylinder and anvil, or incorrect width-circumference ratio (flexing). Cutting tool issues are also related to dirt and wear, and occasionally, a manufacturing fault that is caused by unclear or imperfect order data. Material faults, on the other hand, relate to the type of material film/paper; liner thickness and types of cuts (kiss-cut, cut through, multi-layer, etc.) being used.
Although Allan is based at ROTOCON’s Cape Town branch, he travels countrywide to label printing operations requiring this in-depth, value-added die-cut training module.
NC grinder investment enhances quality precision
IN February, ROTOCON’s Johannesburg manufacturing facility took delivery of a high-precision cylindrical grinder to replace two old machines, which had reached the end of their working lifespans, and to help the toolroom keep up with an increase in workload.
‘We were looking for a well-priced, quality machine that could deliver the high tolerance and accuracy levels required to grind print cylinders, anvil rollers and rotary dies, as well as refurbish magnetic cylinders,’ explains director Patrick Aengenvoort. ‘The other decisive factor in choosing our technology partner was that the company had to match ROTOCON’s customer service philosophy of providing excellent local market technical support, training infrastructure and spares availability.’
After comparing a few quotes and the after-sales checklist, Patrick reports that the toolroom team chose a Taiwanese manufactured NC grinder, which was installed by the local market representative’s technicians.
The operator, Mishak Sakhonekga, who has extensive grinding industry experience, was comfortable with the new model’s features after a day’s training. Mishak is very satisfied with its ease of use, high tolerance and efficiency levels. For instance, after setting the measurements, the job setting feature saves them for future recall, and the grinder’s operating system automatically carries out the remainder of the functions.
So what features has ROTOCON acquired to ensure the highest quality grinding standards?
Operations manager, Lars Jöris rates the NC grinder’s versatility – it enables precision straight plunge, shoulder, traverse, taper, end-face, and internal grinding functions.
He also notes that the grinding wheel spindle, run by a special hydrostatic bearing, ensures deformation free, high-speed operation, stability and accuracy, without friction between metals or heat generation. Additionally, this wheel spindle is machined from high-quality alloy steel, which is tempered, carburised, sub-zero treated, precision ground and mirror-effect treated. ‘Carburising is a thermochemical process during which carbon is diffused into the surface of low-carbon steels so that the surface responds to heat treatment and can produce a hard, wear-resistant layer,’ Lars explains.
These grinding capabilities complement ROTOCON’s ISO 9001:2015 certification for manufacturing precision solid rotary dies, print cylinders and accessories for the label printing industry (PPM Festive 2020).
Patrick emphasises that meeting the ISO quality management system standards provides customers with confidence in ROTOCON’s ability to consistently provide products and services that conform to their requirements.