Mar 14, 2023

Considering and evaluating slitter

Introducing a checklist for flexible packaging converters

Slitting and rewinding is almost the final process before finished reels and before pouching or form, fill, and sealing operations. Following a series of converting operations on flexible packaging material, it is the last step for the converter before shipping the reels to the customer for forming, filling, and sealing. In some cases, the converter uses these reels for pouching to provide these to customer specifications.

The performance of the slitter rewinders is directly related to the quality and visual appeal of the finished reels or pouches. Being at the end of the converting processes, any interruption during the slitting operation would result in the pile-up of expensive inventory into which all the material and previous processes have contributed costs and time.

The slitting process is critical from the perspective of quality, throughput, delivery, and the customer's time to market. Therefore, the technology required to support this process is no less demanding than the printing and lamination operations. The inherent challenges of slitting and rewinding can challenge the design and testing abilities of the best converters and equipment manufacturers.

A combination of higher speeds, thicker substrates, and smaller rewind reel diameters result in shorter production cycles and more frequent reel changeovers, often just a few minutes apart. The machine or system is required to ramp up to full speed and down to zero quickly and repeatedly, subjecting the machine components to high stress.

Like any other web-fed machine, maintaining the tension levels and stability of the substrate is crucial for the smooth operation of a slitter-rewinder. The difficulty goes up by several notches because the web may have significant calliper variations across the web at the infeed side, and after slitting – the multiple reels on the output side cannot be of a uniform standard without differential rewinding.

The high frequency of rewind reel changeovers, coupled with the fact that multiple reels are to be changed each time, reduces the productive time of the machine to less than 50% of the total time consumed. Unless these changeovers are quicker, the incremental output or throughput resulting from the higher speeds of the slitting operation would be far below pro rata. This less-than-linear production can put a big question mark on the wisdom of opting for higher-speed machines and investing in their underlying technology.

As the co-founder of a company that has focused exclusively on slitter-rewinders for the past two decades, it is refreshing to see buyers in recent years exercising the same, if not more diligence while selecting this equipment as they have been doing in case of co-extrusion, printing, and lamination equipment.

This series of articles is committed to pointing out the critical criteria that a flexible packaging converter or buyer of slitting and rewinding machines should keep in mind while evaluating and zeroing in on the equipment. Subsequent monthly issues of Packaging South Asia will continue the conversation by discussing each of the 12 important considerations in this process.

The impact, resilience, and growth of responsible packaging in a wide region are daily chronicled by Packaging South Asia.

A multi-channel B2B publication and digital platform such as Packaging South Asia is always aware of the prospect of new beginnings and renewal. Its 16-year-old print monthly, based in New Delhi, India hasdemonstrated its commitment to progress and growth. The Indian and Asian packaging industries have shown resilience in the face of ongoing challenges over the past three years.

As we present our publishing plan for 2023, India's real GDP growth for the financial year ending 31 March 2023 will reach 6.3%. Packaging industry growth has exceeded GDP growth even when allowing for inflation in the past three years.

The capacity for flexible film manufacturing in India increased by 33% over the past three years. With orders in place, we expect another 33% capacity addition from 2023 to 2025. Capacities in monocartons, corrugation, aseptic liquid packaging, and labels have grown similarly. The numbers are positive for most of the economies in the region – our platform increasingly reaches and influences these.

Even given the disruptions of supply chains, raw material prices, and the challenge of responsible and sustainable packaging, packaging in all its creative forms and purposes has significant headroom to grow in India and Asia. Our context and coverage engulf the entire packaging supply chain – from concept to shelf and further – to waste collection and recycling. We target brand owners, product managers, raw material suppliers, packaging designers and converters, and recyclers.

In an admittedly fragmented and textured terrain, this is the right time to plan your participation and marketing support communication – in our impactful and highly targeted business platform. Tell us whatyou need. Speak and write to our editorial and advertising teams!For advertisement [email protected] , for editorial [email protected] and for subscriptions [email protected]

– Naresh Khanna

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Check your inbox or spam folder to confirm your subscription.

What lies in store for the packaging industry in India and South Asia this coming year? Inflation, disruption of supply chains or environmental regulation? Or the resumption of high rural demand, continued investment and industry consolidation? Whatever happens, Packaging South Asia will be there, providing clarity and independent technical and business information in India and South Asia and around the world. We are a compact Indian organization bringing a window of fair and rigorous technical and business information that the industry can access this year and beyond. Please support us with your advertising and subscriptions, to keep us going and growing.

Thank you.

Check your inbox or spam folder to confirm your subscription.

NEWSLETTER As 2023 begins and FY 23-24 unfolds, will you support us?