Product Reviews

Slitter Rewinders - AB Graphic International

October 7, 2009

Machinery manufacturers have developed a wide range of equipment, with an assortment of standard features and options, to meet the needs of the label converting industry.

Slitter Rewinders

Machinery manufacturers have developed a wide range of equipment, with an assortment of standard features and options, to meet the needs of the label converting industry.

By Steve Katz

AB Graphic’s VSR was launched at Labelexpo Europe 2009. The design has the operator sitting as shown as opposed to the side of the machine.

AB Graphic International

East Yorkshire, UK, based AB Graphic International recently announced the addition of its VSR vertical slitter inspection rewinder to its Omega range of equipment. The company says it offers new levels of production at speeds up to 400m/min (1,312 fpm). The system is designed to meet the demands of inspecting, slitting and rewinding a wide range of label substrates and is available in standard and servo driven versions.

“The vertical design of the VSR provides an ergonomic alternative for operator location,” says Tony Bell, sales manager. “We believe its speed is unrivaled at 400m/min. The missing label, flag or splice detection system is capable of stopping the error incident in a precise location at speeds up to 300m/min.”

The VSR inspection rewinder is available in 330mm (12.9"), 430mm (16.9") and 530mm (20.8") widths to comply with modern press width trends. The standard machine comes complete and ready to slit, rewind and count self-adhesive labels and many other substrates. A full range of options is available and include motorized roll lift, razor and crush slitting, missing label, splice or flag detection and 100 percent print face inspection through a PC based camera system.

“With the increased use of servo driven printing presses,many of our customer are now required to convert a wider range of delicate substrates,” adds Bell. “The VSR servo driven version provides precise material handling throughout the machine and includes closed loop tension control and servo driven unwind.”

Aztech Converting Systems

Aztech Converting Systems, Tempe, AZ, USA, manufactures an assortment of converting equipment and accessories for the labeling industry, and counts slitter rewinders among their products particularly popular among their label printing customers. Aztech’s Rapid Engineering Development Team makes custom modifications to its products to meet specific requirements. The company’s in-house CNC controlled, multi-axis machining centers produce the tight tolerance, precision machined parts and components that go into the company’s products.

Aztech’s ISR series comes standard with a clutchless drive and reversible rewind.
Aztech offers label converters two lines of the slitter rewinders, the ISR series and the BSR series. Both models come with a host of standard features as well as options. The company touts the ISR series as being the most productive, versatile, and affordable line of high speed slitter rewinders on the market today. Standard features include clutchless drive, bowed spread for separating finished rolls at rewind, reversible rewind for over or under winding, and Aztech’s modular “E-Z” change slitting station available with rotary shear or razor. It’s available in up to 30" maximum diameter large roll unwind and 18" maximum diameter finished roll rewind. Options available on the ISR include PLC controlled “set and forget” web tension, 26" maximum waste windup, electronic missing label detection, 100 percent inspection with automatic shutdown, and an inkjet printing module.

In addition to having a clutchless drive, electronic tension control, and reversible rewinds, the BSR series’ standard features include 750 fpm maximum web speed, a programmable incremental counter, and an ultrasonic web guide for processing both clear and opaque substrates. The dual spindle BSR2X version is available with an optional inspection tower.

The LRD automatic transfer rewind from Martin Automatic

Martin Automatic

Martin Automatic, headquartered in Rockford, IL, USA, is a designer and manufacturer of web handling equipment for the printing, packaging and converting industries. For its label customers, the company features its LRD automatic transfer rewind.

The LRD rewind has a moving cantilevered spindle arrangement that allows rewinding and automatic doffing of rolls as small as 8" in diameter with only two spindles. Standard features include AC Vector drives and motors, air-loaded dancer tension control, selectable linear, parabolic, and hyperbolic taper tension curves, center core winding, rewind sequencing through PLC control, and pre-wired, integrated drives and controls are panel mounted on the machine.

According to Kelly Hart, marketing manager, theLRD provides maximum slitting and rewinding flexibility for a variety of applications. She says, “The two-spindle automatic winder is ideal for label, flexible packaging and narrow to mid-web processes. It’s capable of slitting up to 16 ribbons on a 34" wide web at a high rate of speed and has automatic roll unloading. Martin also has numerous other slitting and rewinding machines available for wider web and larger roll diameter options.”


Rotoflex, headquartered in Mississauga, ON, Canada, has wide portfolio of products with over 4,500 installations in more than 70 countries.For more than 35 years, the company has manufactured inspection and rewinding systems to the narrow and mid-web converting industries. It is now a division of Mark Andy.

The Rotoflex VSI series
For vertical inspection/slitting/rewinding, Rotoflex hastwo popular models, the VSI and VLI, designed for flexible packaging, label and film label applications primarily, but have been used for a variety of other applications. These models are available in up to 28" (700mm) wide and all feature the company’s eDrive web transportation technology.

For the growing pharmaceutical and security market segments, Rotoflex offers its dual-pass DPI and the single-pass SPI machines. Each 100 percent inspects the product, removes defects, then re-inspects the web to ensure 100 percent accurate and acceptable products to the end user.

This year, Rotoflex introduced several new technologies.At Labelexpo Europe, two new models, the HSR and HLR debuted. The new models feature user friendly inspection/slitting/rewinding for converters who prefer an ergonomic, low profile of a horizontal inspection platform. The HLR also has the ability to diecut and run flexible packaging applications.

Also, Rotoflex is completing a new generation ofsystem controllers that allows seamless integration with all the functions of any of their rewinders – including single screen integration of the machine controls, the counters, and even 100 inspection. The company says this next generation control system makes it much easier to operate when all the systems work together in a fully integrated design. Additionally, this new controller maximizes the accuracy of placing the defect at an exact stop point, so it can be reviewed or removed.


Headquartered in Ahrensburg, Germany, Rotocontrol designs and manufactures edge inspection, slitting, rewinding and diecutting finishing machines for the narrow web industry. The company offers two series of inspection slitter/rewinder machines along with its RSD diecutting and digital finishing line.

According to Marco Aengenvoort, managing director,Rotocontrol offers slitter rewinders that ensure a balanced combination of high quality design with uncomplicated integration and ease of use.“Machines that are easy to use and offer a high degree of automation help convertors achieve greater productivity while minimizing downtime,” says Aengenvoort.

The RSI series from Rotocontrol is available with 100 percent inspection, inkjet marking and high capacity servo unwind.
All Rotocontrol machines provide operator interface through graphical input and display, with access to all web viewing and handling areas. Tension control through the S-Drive servo/software system supports a wide variety of materials without mechanical reconfiguration. The RSC machines are available in 340mm and 440mm widths and include as standard all the features necessary for immediate operation: servo rewind and draw station, acartridge slitting system for both shear and razor, web clamp, vertical inspection, unwind splice table and counting, including butt cut. A complete film package and fully integrated 100 percent vision inspection systems are available as options.

The RSI series of inspection machines are fully modular and offer standard features as well as a number of options. Along with 100 percent vision inspection systems, options include: web widths up to 610mm, single pass security inspection/re-inspection, inkjet marking, high capacity servo unwind with roll-lift, diecutting stations, and turret rewinders.


Menzel, Spartanburg, SC, USA, specializes in web handling and processing equipment for a variety of industries including the label industry. The company has developed the Menzel Polyband Expander, a product the company says has proven to be a valuable addition to a converter’s existing slitting and rewinding machinery.

The Polyband Expander is designed to be an effective wrinkle removal device for film and related webs. This spreading roller is frequently used to spread webs prior to slitting and/or prior to winding. It also is beneficial for spreading after slitting to facilitate package build and prevent interleaving of adjacent strands.

Menzel’s Polyband Expander, designed to remove wrinkles, serves as an addition to a converter’s existing slitter rewinder.
Kent Bolick, general manager, says “Many of our customers have confirmed the advantages of the Menzel Polyband Expander over bow rolls and alternative spreading devices.” These advantages, he says, include the ability to adjust the amount of spreading, spreading more on one side or in one direction, and the ability to spread proportionally across the web.

The rolls can be designed for high speed applications up to 1,500 fpm. A torque “helper drive” to overcome bearing friction for very tension-sensitive webs is offered depending upon the specific application.

The Polyband design includes round elastic bands fitted through grooves in an aluminum extrusion. These bands are fixed to adjustable end caps. The unit includes internal bearings and rotates about a fixed sturdy shaft. The end caps are adjusted independently to achieve the necessary spreading effect. The roll can be added to an existing slitter/rewinder. It can be mounted between side frames or on top of existing framework with split pillow block brackets.

Converting Equipment International

Converting Equipment International (CEI), Lewiston, CA, USA, supplies converters with inspection and slitting rewinding equipment for the roll to roll industry. The company prides itself on manufacturing machinery that’s simple and easy to operate, yet is equipped with many standard features including an automatic engaging nip roller, servo drives and atouch screen interface.

The company says its CEI SS is the perfect machine for the label converter. Ideal for either paper or film backing,the SS is servo driven and includes a strobe light, touch screen, label and length counters, web advance, electronic web guide with ultrasonic sensor and two splice tables. The CEI SS runs at 1,200 fpm.

CEI’s most popular line is their EX slitter.The EX model comesstandard with slip differential rewind shafts. These shafts allow the converter to slit anything from the thinnest films and foils, paper stocks, shrink materials, paper towels to tag stocks. Differential shafts eliminate gauge bands in a moving web which allows the converter to get good labels out of each row. Simon Gross, CEO of CEI explains, “When you have multiple slits on a single rewind, there are many factors that can allow for one of the lanes of that shaft to become loose. When this happens, thelane will eventually fall off the roll and wipe out the rest of the lanes on the shaft, thus a lot of work is required to be done on a finishing table.

“Using differential rewinds, the loose lane will never become loose as the core of the shaft is slightly over sped and the independent slip rings do the rest of the work keeping all lanes and tensions equal. We have customers running 15 lanes, at 5⁄8 inch wide to 23" OD’s every day, differential shafts help them immensely allowing for more production to come out of a rewinder than any other machine on the market,” says Gross.