Every few years, Delta ModTech invites clients and partners to a showcase at its facility in Minneapolis, MN, USA. This year’s event, held September 11-12, included a morning of guest-speaker presentations followed by an afternoon of facility-wide machine demonstrations.
Branding: Your most valuable asset
Attorney Michael Lasky kicked off the morning presentations with a topic typically not broached by converters – branding. "While it’s easy for us to get caught up in our products and services," Lasky pointed out, "it’s the brand that truly propels your success."
Lasky added,“For highly successful companies, branding is the most valuable asset,” he said. In example after example, Lasky showed that companies that build their brand, such as Apple, Louis Vuitton, Owens Corning, to name a few, enjoy higher margins and long-term success.
He stressed that branding is more than just advertising. “Do you have the guts to make something about your product memorable?” he asked, bringing up Louis Vuitton’s red-soled shoes, or the blue knobs on Delta ModTech’s equipment.
Lasky also integrated his work as a patent attorney into the presentation, discussing some of the strategies required when building a brand. For example, he said, avoid using generic names when naming a company. He discussed how the e-commerce company Books.com ran into problems because it doesn’t own the word “books.”
“If you don’t have clear title, you are building a brand for someone else,” Lasky said.
Products, services and processes: Partners step up
The showcase next switched gears to more tangible topics: Machine technologies and manufacturing processes. Joel Oakes, Chief Technology Officer for Delta ModTech, introduced a series of speakers that helped explain the importance of "closing the loop" during the converting process.
He began with Mohammad Azim of RotoMetrics, who explained that the tooling on a converter's rotary dies is what takes one from good to great. “If you have very precise dies and equipment, your part will be just as precise,” Azim said. "This precision is becoming increasingly important at tighter tolerances are demanded."
Billy Evers, District Sales Manager, Midwest Region, for Cognex Vision, expanded on the “Closing the Loop” theme, explaining how advancements in machine vision technology is helping with scrap reduction and product improvement. "New vision technology and more competitive prices are making the use of machine vision systems more widespread. Twelve megapixel cameras and HDR+ are capturing larger images with improved clarity and helping detect defects," Evers explained.
Next up was Paul Hammond, Sector Manager - Life Sciences for Domino NA, who explained how advancements in serialization are creating changes for converters. Regulations, such as the Food Safety Modernization Act, have increased the need for improved tracking, he pointed out, adding, “We need to think about how we are marketing and coding. A holistic approach is needed. As we begin coding on new substrates, we’re wandering into new territory, and sampling will become critical."
Then came the introduction of coating and drying. led by Scott Zwierlein, Lab/Manager and Coating Engineer for Frontier, who touched on some of the critical components of coating, providing a complete overview of the process. Zwierlein would later demonstrate a Fronter coating machine during the afternoon tours.
Finally, Rob Hattling of Delta ModTech shared some significant control system advancements. He said, "Because Delta control systems use digital drives and proprietary tuning techniques, the most recent control system release has improved electronic accuracies to 0.006 microns. This allows diecutting registration accuracies by up to 100x and increased speeds with the same repeatability. This also results in superior tension control with stability down to 0.5 lbs (0.23kg), reducing spikes and ripples. Another benefit to this is the improved accuracies for closed-loop registration control with their MOD-Track Vision System."
Hands-on demonstrations and applications
In the afternoon session, showcase participants toured the Delta ModTech facility, where machines were on display to demonstrate new advancements.
The buzz on the floor focused on:
New inline coater/dryer capabilities. The fact that Delta ModTech now allows you to bring coating capabilities in-house got a lot of people thinking, especially when they saw a large coater/dryer connected to a converter/packager. The demonstration showed how the complete process can be run inline. This machine also featured the MOD-Track Vision Inspection system performing both closed loop registration control and product conformance inspection. Frontier’s DynaCoat compact slot die coater/dryer also turned heads.
Laser Die Cutting keeps getting better. A microfluidic part was produced using laser cutting, conventional rotary die tools and the MOD-Track vision system. Multiple layer lamination of registered materials that were both die cut by laser and rotary dies using various slug removal techniques showcased Delta ModTech’s closed loop technology.
Cuts done on a flatbed press now have rotary application. Cutting previously restricted to flat presses can now be done on a Delta ModTech press, improving flexibility for difficult to handle materials.
Low tension relief. Customers struggling to get their web tension less than a pound were happy to see how our new software and modern servo control now reduce web tension to fractions of a pound.
What will be unveiled at the next Technology Showcase?
Delta ModTech’s Tehcnology showcase requires an extensive amount of staff time and facility space to put together. But according to the company, it has proven to be a worthwhile investment, as it brings converting industry thought leaders together to share ideas and explore new technologies.
“It’s really an amazing opportunity to share the new technologies that are pushing the envelope in web converting,” concluded David Schiebout, president and founder of Delta ModTech. "With all the advancements since the last show, it’s hard to imagine what improvements in camera resolution, AI and other technologies will allow our industry to accomplish in the next few years. You can be sure the showcase then will be as jaw-dropping as the 2018 version."