Uteco's DAB is installed at TCL to serve demands of fresh food packaging

TCL Packaging, of Telford, UK, has recently taken delivery of a second slitter supplied by Uteco Usimeca through the Italian company’s UK and Eire sales and service agency, Eurograv.

The latest machine is a Model DAB automatic turret slitter. Owing to its special rewind features, it is claimed to offer increased output of slit film and laminates, thus enabling TCL to offer further improvements to its reaction time for urgent orders. Operating in the niche fresh food sector, the converter is often called upon to produce slit film to short lead times, to meet the changing needs of the supermarkets, which are on occasion driven by the vagaries of the British weather.

Improved throughput

TCL installed a Model DAS duplex slitter 15 months ago alongside a competitor’s machine, which is to be retired once the DAB is fully commissioned, reports Uteco. The DAS machine, whilst operating at an average speed of 350m/min, only operates for just over 50 per cent of the time due to the cycle of operation involving the finished reel handling.

The DAB has an automatic turret rewind feature, which means that the complete sequence from deceleration from normal running speed to the start of the next cycle takes only 30s and it is only for that period that the machine is stationary – thus radically improving throughput, reports Eurograv.

Managing director of TCL Tim Crow explains how this works. “The operator sets the cycle of operation based on the rewind diameter or length in metres. At the set point, the machine will automatically decelerate under controlled speed and tension and then stop. The duplex turrets will rotate through 180 degrees allowing for the finished rewind shafts to be released from their pneumatic supports and become cantilevered whilst the new rewind shafts are engaged for the next rewind operation.”

He continues: “The two full width lay-on rollers, which have been raised to allow the turret procedure to take place, now lower and load the slit webs onto the pre-taped cores. The slit webs are then cut automatically by a cross-cut knife. The return of this knife activates the machine to restart and accelerate to the pre-set running speed. This complete sequence takes 30s, a considerable saving on the stationary time of most other slitters.”

Tim Crow concludes: “This investment is aimed at ensuring that TCL can continue to offer the best possible service to the fresh food sector and react where necessary to very short turnaround times.

Tom Beardsell, from UK agent Eurograv, says the range of materials laminated and converted at TCL means that both razor and rotary shear techniques are used. The change for slit widths is aided by the cantilevered top and bottom knife shafts, without the need to remove shafts from the machine.

The DAB is three-drive motor AC or DC controlled, has a full plc screen interface for all machine functions and memory storage data, and an integrated unwind stand with line/edge guiding and reel lift arms.


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