Don & Low are an international supplier of innovative polyolefin based woven and non-woven materials for a range of specialist applications. As their business has grown over the past few years, they found their existing slitting capacity could not keep up, so they took the decision to invest in a Universal X6 slitting machine.
The investment followed extensive research by Don & Low into the machines available. The range of non-woven materials produced by Don & Low have very specific handling requirements. Their prefered slitting method is shear slitting, but they needed to reduce set-up times. It was essential that the chosen slitter had the ability to automate as many processes as possible. The machine needed to produce slit rolls up to 1000mm in diameter with precise control of tension.
The Universal X6 slitting machine was able to meet all of the requirements of Don & Low and more. The key aspects for Don & Low were:
- Automatic setting of shear knives and anvils.
A 20 knife set-up can be completed in under two minutes with no operator involvement. The precision of the system ensures the knives are in the correct position, with the required knife depth and the specified side load. Micrometer feedback confirms the position of the knives to the operator.
- Closed loop tension control.
The load cells are part of the control algorithm for rewind tension control, ensuring that the exact tensions requested are being achieved. Trend graphs are available to show actual vs set tensions through all the rolls produced. In simple terms, you always achieve the tension profile required per product.
- Comprehensive diagnostic system.
The 22 inch operator interface provides easy to read diagnostic information on the machine including Dynamic Circuit Diagrams. Using a secure Internet connection, all aspects of the machine performance can be seen remotely by Universal engineers when required. Universal also offer FREE telephone and Internet support for the life of the machine.
- Fast loading and unloading.
Although the machine can handle large diameter rolls, the high speed of the machine dictates that frequent unwind and rewind roll changes are required. The vertical raise/lower unwind (with remote control) is extremely quick to load parent rolls. On the rewind, the machine was supplied with a finished roll pusher and laser core alignment to minimise time the machine is standing still.
- Small Footprint.
The compact design and short web path of the Universal X6 was ideal for the preferred factory location.
Commenting on the investment, Keith Galloway, General Manager of Don & Low Nonwovens said “Don & Low is undertaking a major investment in new production equipment to expand capacity and increase the range of products we can manufacture. The Universal X6 slitting machine was one part of this investment. We talked to many companies about our requirements and Universal stood out as a company that could meet our technical requirements while still staying within our budget limits. Although the initial discussions focussed on the specification, what became clear was the commitment of Universal Converting Equipment to the ongoing support of their equipment. We are based in Forfar, Scotland and sometimes we can struggle for a fast response from our machine suppliers. Universal have invested heavily in developing their diagnostic systems so we have the comfort that if a problem occurs, we have the information available to solve it ourselves. The free lifetime support is a statement in the confidence Universal have in their equipment.
It is great to have a machine that can almost set itself, leaving the operator to focus on other tasks. The automatic knife setting system is a massive time and cost saver. Most knife set ups take just over a minute. Likewise, the closed loop tension control and gap winding capability ensures that we always produce high quality slit rolls.”
Alan Jones, MD, Universal Converting Equipment added “Don & Low have high expectations and they pushed us hard to achieve their objectives. Very quickly, they identified the benefits of having a fast changeover machine with automated set-up. However, with automation comes additional complexity so the diagnostic and support package ensures the high performance of the machine can be maintained. As a company, we have tried to look beyond just selling machines. The ongoing support offered to customers combined with the quality of machine supplied, is the best way to secure future orders. Does it work? We think so. Since supplying the Universal X6 to Don & Low, they have ordered two further machines for other operations within their factory to gain the same production benefits.”