Finland’s Suominen Flexible Packaging, a major flexible packaging material supplier in northern Europe, installed a second Proslit slitter at its Grodzisk Mazowiecki factory in Poland in May 2005. The new slitter was undergoing commissioning trials by September 2005.

An arm of Suominen Corporation, Suominen Flexible Packaging produces laminated film packaging flexo used for food and other hygiene products. The facility in Poland was a greenfield plant, built in 1999–2000. The printing capacity of the plant was expanded to include two rotogravure presses in 2002. Sales increased rapidly in 2002 and new capacity for expansion was required.

Suominen Flexible Packaging started expansion of the factory in July 2003 with a view to capturing a larger market share across Eastern and Central Europe, Russia and the Baltic countries, which are targeted as growth areas for the packaging industry.

“The Polish factory’s production has doubled with the expansion.”

The Polish factory’s production has doubled with the expansion, amounting to a 2,600m² area of floor space with a concomitant increase of capacity in printing, converting and lamination. The investment for this project was around €7m and was completed in May 2004.

SLITTING AND REWINDING MACHINERY

Suominen Flexible Packaging bought its second slitter also from Proslit of Spain, a joint venture between the Comexi Group, Kontrelmec and Girona, which supplied the first slitter in 2003. Proslit designs and manufactures slitting and rewinding machinery in the medium to high range for the converting and flexible packaging markets. Suominen chose Proslit’s Eikon model for its plant.

Ari Olkinuora, the production director for Suominen in Poland, said: “Proslit was our chosen supplier for the new machine since we have a long-term relationship with Prolsit’s parent company, Comexi. It also made economic sense because the price was right, the quality had been established because of previous installation and the time of delivery met our schedule.”

MACHINERY AND OPERATION

At Suominen, the slitters are used for the production of laminated films and the slitting of other multilayer films used in packaging of food and hygiene products. This type of production work is suited to the Eikon, which uses a turreting rewind system for faster productivity as compared to other rewinding systems. The totally automatic operational cycle minimises operator contact with the finished product and allows continuous production, resulting in increased productivity.

Standard features of the Eikon slitter include a motor-driven, shaftless unwinder with automatic hydraulic roll loading, pick-up from floor, shear and razor slitting options, independent tension control for each rewind shaft, automatic stop for diameter, and length or printed indicators.

The package includes the automatic extraction of finished rolls and a motorised arm with double articulation for unloading them onto a pallet. In addition, a new design of automatic blade positioning system is also incorporated. Tension control features include a peripheral unit for toughness and uniformity of the roll and expandable friction shafts to control the taper tension.

The Eikon has web widths of 1,350mm and 1,650mm, with maximum finished roll diameters of 600mm and 800mm respectively. Maximum master roll diameters are 1,000mm and 1,250mm. The machine can run at a speed of 600m/min, according to the material being slit, while minimum slit widths are 40mm and 25mm.

BENEFITS

Suominen Flexible Packaging planned the expansion of its Polish factory to increase its capacity in printing, converting and lamination, especially to strengthen its operations in Eastern and Central Europe, Russia and the Baltic countries, which are considered as growth areas for the packaging industry. The capacity of the factory has now been doubled after the installation of the Eikon slitter.

As for the machinery, the Eikon slitter offers a high degree of flexibility. Web tension controls, which include compensators and load cells, make the Eikon suitable for the production of films and laminates. The turret rewind system significantly increases productivity, compared to other rewinding systems.

The inclusion of a differential friction shaft system allows quick and safe unloading of the finished rolls. Continuous production enables Suominen to make the best use of its investment, and also immensely increase its productivity.

“Both slitters can work with a wide variety of materials and substrates.”

Quality control feature is an essential part of Eikon slitter. Tension control during slitting is a vital aspect, and includes a lineal track system for toughness and uniformity of the roll, and expandable friction shafts for the best final product.

The totally automatic operational cycle of Eikon minimises contact with the operator and the finished product.

Both slitters can work with a wide variety of materials and substrates. Some of these materials are small experimental product runs and the different materials could include polyethylene, cast polypropylene and oriented polypropylene. There are also many different variations of laminated film products such as polyethylene or polypropylene film combined with paper or aluminised layers.