Date ArticleType
4/16/2020 Member News
Splicing Development Takes 2020 AIMCAL Technology Of The Year For New Era Converting Machinery

Splicing Development Takes 2020 AIMCAL Technology Of The Year For New Era Converting Machinery

New Era Converting Machinery (Hawthorne, NJ) has won the 2020 Assn. of International Metallizers, Coaters and Laminators (AIMCAL) Technology of the Year Award for its new patent-pending LLS (lap-less splice) unwind. The broad-based converting-machinery maker was recognized April 16 during a special Virtual Awards presentation. The AIMCAL Awards Webinar replaced the traditional Awards Ceremony, planned for the trade group’s Executive Leadership Conference in March, which was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The LLS unwind features a specially designed splicer roll on a turret unwind that forms a lap- and tail-free splice on the fly so there’s no need to stop the ends of the webs to form a butt splice. The LLS unwind also negates the need for a web-accumulation (festooning) device and forms the splice without exposing any adhesive that could cause problems as the web moves through the process or blocking in wound rolls. Operating in excess of 1,000 fpm, the result is higher productivity, improved quality, and reduced waste because there is no need to jump lap splices, and damage from wound-in lap splices is eliminated.

The judging panel appreciated the importance of the “on-the-fly” nature of the splicing process, its potential impact on the marketplace, and the elimination of awkward lap splices. “If it runs reliably at full speed, that would be a lot of uptime and film saved,” commented one judge. “It could enjoy widespread use,” noted another panelist.

The judging teleconference was moderated by AIMCAL Executive Director Chris Kerscher. The panel consisted of well-known experts in the converting field: Dr. Charles A. Bishop of C.A. Bishop Consulting Ltd. (Loughborough, UK); Dr. Edward D. Cohen of Edward D. Cohen Consulting, Inc. (Fountain Hills, AZ); and Dr. Eldridge M. Mount of EMMOUNT Technologies, LLC (Canandaigua, NY).

The AIMCAL Technology of the Year is part of the annual AIMCAL Awards program, which also includes Product of the Year and Sustainability Award competitions and the new AIMCAL Hall of Honor.

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Technical Excellence Awards

Judges also recognized four entries with Technical Excellence Awards. Two went to Flex Films (USA), Inc. (Elizabethtown, KY), a subsidiary of Uflex Limited’s Films Business (Noida, India), one to Advanced Energy Industries (Denver, CO), and one to Dow Chemical Co. (Lake Jackson, TX). ?

Flex Film’s first Technical Excellence Award also earned the 2020 AIMCAL Sustainability Award. The Primark Gently Does It facial-cleansing wipes, flexible end-sealed pouch was recognized for sustainability with its completely recyclable asymmetric nylon-polyethylene (5-micron nylon in 20-micron PE)/ reverse-printed/adhesive/60-micron special PE structure. This innovation also earned a Technology Excellence Award. The nylon/PE layers reportedly ensure good label adherence through repeated peel/reseal usage and eliminate leaks while the inner sealant layer minimizes evaporation and bonds strongly at lower sealing temperatures. Designed as a replacement for a polyester/PE structure, the nylon/PE/PE film runs on existing equipment.

The judges noted that it’s difficult to achieve sufficient barrier properties in a structure that recycles in the PE waste stream. As a result, they believe this recyclable material has the potential for substantial growth. “Everyone has been working on recyclable PE barrier materials,” said one judge. “This is an especially important development for India where foil laminations have been outlawed,” reported another panel member.

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Flex Film’s second Technical Excellence Award was bestowed on a 4D handled bag for Royal Gold tea and Rice King rice. The brick-shaped bag features six registered panels and can be merchandised standing up or flat. Designed to replace cartons, the 2-kg bag features an integrated handle and zipper reclosure. Gravure printing and high-gloss transparent inks contribute to shelf impact.

The judges liked the convenience and appearance of the 4D bags and the potential for using different materials for different panels. “The handle and zipper add value,” said one judge. “There’s a lot of innovation, and it’s quite a nice engineering feat,” observed another panel member. 

The third Technical Excellence Award went to Advanced Energy Industries for its patented and patent-pending Dynamic Reverse Pulsing 2.5 rate-enhanced pulsed DC co-sputtering system. The magnetron sputtering power configuration switches anode and cathode roles every half cycle and can apply two or more target materials. Benefits include a higher deposition rate, lower substrate heating, and reduced plasma arcing, thus less particle generation. Lower substrate heating is especially critical for coating heat-sensitive web materials such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Other applications include flat-panel display coating, jumbo glass coating, micro-electrical mechanical systems, and sensors.

Judging panelists characterized the DRP 2.5 system as a significant advancement and a boost to efficiency and equipment longevity. “Time is saved when you can put down a thicker coating without exceeding temperature,” commented one judge.

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Water-based Opulux™ matte-finish coating from Dow Chemical took the final Technical Excellence Award, in addition to earning a Product Excellence Award in this year’s AIMCAL competition. The low-gloss, soft-touch matte finish is imparted by acrylic beads with a designed gradient refractive index and controlled particle size distribution. It enhances the recyclability of polyolefin and paper structures and is designed to replace traditional overprinting varnishes and toxic polyaziridine chemistry. Other benefits include excellent color fidelity, contact transparency, anti-seal/thermal resistance, and abrasion resistance. It may be applied on conventional coating/printing equipment to a wide range of film and paper substrates and is compatible with food-contact requirements.

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