USA company Progressive Converting has invested in Maxson equipment designed to sheet a wide range of substrates and gauges
In 1990, Progressive Converting was established to fill a need for quick turnround, high quality sheeting in the Wisconsin, USA, market. Armed with a business plan and a Maxson sheeter, it began offering its services to the paper industry as a contract converter. Within a year, a second sheeter was installed.
Five years later it opened an eastern converting and distribution centre near Hazelton, Pennsylvania, and continued growth led to a western USA presence in 1998 with the launch of the Sparks, Nevada, facility. The company is able to sheet a wide substrate range and has developed expertise in niche markets like synthetic paper and cut to registration of watermark and preprinted materials.
Quick to respond to emerging trends, it helped major paper companies service the digital press size and small office/home office markets. On the digital sheet market, vice president Norb Schreiber notes: “It’s a tough market because the tolerances are more critical and there are lots of size changes and different substrates. Pro Con has done pretty well and we believe that market will continue to grow.”
The company has five sheeters and a rewinder in Appleton, Wisconsin, three sheeters and a rewinder in Hazelton, and two sheeters in Sparks.
During 2002, the Wisconsin facility was operating at full capacity and finding it difficult to schedule more business. “We were running seven days a week, 24 hours a day and working our employees very hard. Based on that we decided to purchase a new sheeter,” recalls Norb Schreiber.
Consistent with the company’s philosophy, an investment in sheeting equipment required that it be state of the art, but with a reliance on the operator to maintain strict quality control. “Automation is wonderful,” observes Schreiber, “but it costs money. Although it takes one less human factor out of the equation, by the same token we rely on our operators to maintain a level of quality. Some automation we don’t feel is necessary and we elect not to put it on the machinery.”
The process of selecting a sheeter involved soliciting bids from equipment manufacturers. The primary consideration was ensuring that the machinery could convert the wide range of materials that Progressive Converting needed to sheet. Says Schreiber: “We run 24 Bible paper up to 36 point board, and we are not bashful or shy about running any of it.” After visiting other sites, the company chose a Maxson DFK Sheeter.
The equipment was fitted with five shaftless roll stands, each with individual tension control and motorized decurlers capable of handling rolls up to 72in diameter. A splice detector, programmed to divert splices at the sheeter’s reject gate, ensured no bad sheets reached the pile.
Progressive Converting elected to have a dual slitting rig with digital read-out positioning. Says Schreiber: “I think when it comes to a dual slitting station, that’s a feature we really like, because when we are running certain grades up to 0.014in thick, we can put a web through each slitter. If you are 60 label paper, we can run three webs through one set of slitters and two webs through the other, which results in better quality.”
The cutting section uses a dual rotary knife design and is equipped with dual AC motors. “The machine is very accurate and sheet length is very important. You also get a good quality cut,” declares Schreiber. “It has to cut accurate and clean.”
The sheeter is also fitted with a non stop, rapid pallet discharge system that allows continuous operation without the loss of any sheets during pallet changes. At a preset count, the full pallet is lowered and moved off line while an empty skid is raised into place. “The shuttle discharge is important because we get paid for the material we produce, so there is less waste when there is no dumping material on the floor. The discharge system is efficient and works well for us,” reports Schreiber.
“The sheeter was shipped between Christmas and New Year’s Day. By the end of January it was in production. The user friendly design provides us with the ability to set up the sheeter on most grades in an acceptable time and change-over times meet our schedules, while maintaining our quality standards. This machine keeps it simple and straightforward.”
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