The trend toward high performance presses among the larger European converters has seen a corresponding increase in nonstop roll handling. Martin Automatic in particular has carved out a useful niche in the labeling sector for its MBSF butt splicers and LRD transfer rewind units. The most recent order for these units was for a 10-color Gallus RCS 330 flexo/screen combination line, operated by Permapack AG, in Rorschach, Switzerland. The Martin units will handle 40" rolls at 500 feet per minute with the dual aim of reducing waste and expensive machine downtime. Mark Lehmann, head of Permapack’s Packaging Division, says, “One machine length of material can easily represent 8 percent of the entire roll, so any saving is valuable.”
Permapack was one of the first companies to install the servo driven Gallus RCS 330 presses in 2001. Its fourth was installed in August, joining two Gallus EM 410 UV flexo presses and other narrow web equipment. Lehmann says the third RCS 330 — also with 10-color units — generates appreciably more turnover than the number two machine, partly because of the Martin equipment, but also because of the different job structure that Permapack uses on it. “Even when you take into account the more expensive substrates we are using on the number three machine, the improvement is still better than 50 percent.” Basing his calculations on triple shift working, he says the company saved the equivalent of around US$150,000 annually in reducing substrate waste alone. Avoiding press stoppages to change reels manually brought additional savings on machine downtime.
Six years ago Permapack handled around 12,000 jobs every year. This number has since fallen to 9,000, but