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Jade Slitter Q&A

27/01/2010

1. Can you explain what the principles are behind the operation of the Jade?

The Jade machine has been designed to operate in several different winding principles, making the machine extremely versatile.

The principal methods of operation are, centre wind, surface wind, and centre surface winding combined. The jade achieves this using an unconventional style of rewind arm that replicates the winding conditions from conventional machines onto the Jade without the cumbersome lay on rollers needed for all the other styles of machines. a vacuum drive roller isolates the unwind tension and twin, individually driven surface drive rollers transport the tension controlled web directly to the rewind stations.

2. What are the most important aspects of film slitting?

When everything is all said and done the machine is a slitter, and the most important part is the slitting. Knife type, quality, geometry and ease of adjustment are the major contributors to the slitting process. Many times the quality of the razor or male knife is overlooked in favour of cost, to the detriment of the product slit edge quality. The whole structure, web path, tension control and rewind process is designed around the slitting process and it helps to think of the whole machine as a giant knife holder for slitting the product. The next most important aspect is the tension control. This effects slitting, rewind quality, web tracking through the machine and lots of other dynamic effects. Consider that when the machine accelerates, all the rollers, mother roll and slit rewind rolls are effecting the tension, imagine that the rollers are not driven and try to accelerate several hundred kilos of rollers up to a thousand RPM, the issue is just as important during the slowing down process, all the time we are controlling this to rewind the materials at low tensions, removal of air entrainment, and edge profiles accurate to within tens of microns.

2. What are the advantages of this machine over other comparable products? What are you trying to achieve and what does the Jade do better than any other?

There are many operational, reliability and performance gains with the Jade style of machine, a numerical list can explain some.

a) No requirement for individual width lay on rollers, or the need to adjust them into position.
b) Full individual lay on pressure control with speed and diameter profiling.
c) Very simple and quick slit width changes with rewind arms pneumatically failsafe unlocking using a switch, positioning of the arms that move on linear bearings is light and easy to align with the slit positions.
d) No trailing cables or pneumatics, each arm is connected using bus system and each arm has its own drive and control system built in. Each arm has its own diameter and torque calculations.
e) Ability to rewind rolls of different diameters and core sizes, without the need to program or set the diameters, it is fully automatic.
f) Unloading of different roll diameters, and same diameter rolls does not effect the easy roll unloading. because the arms are individually controlled, the unloading is not effected by the level of the surface. This is a problem with fixed beam rewind arms when the rolls are lightly different diameter as all the force is loaded onto the largest roll.
g) Full diameter bearings and Kevlar drive belts for rewind head durability, conventional designs require the heads to retract to release the rolls, this forces the designer to use smaller bearings with less space for the drive belts. The Jade machines have full diameter, high load bearings and full capacity drive belts.
h) Installation space is very small. Integral arm drives and control equipment means there are no additional control cubicles to install. Only on the largest 6000mm wide and above machines are there control cabinets, 3 meters wide adjacent to the machine. This dramatically reduces the installation cost and space.
i) Versatility : we have a Jade machine slitting 1500 micron PVC, and 30 micron stretch film, on the same machine !

3. What companies would use this product and for what types of job? Examples of usage?

Primary film producers are typical of the user for this type of machine. Although we do have converters using Jade machines for processing printed and laminated products, and in one recently produced case, actually laminating slit products together with five different pre slit laminating materials. The majority are producing films for the printer or converter for processing, directly from the film producing lines. Many are producing BOPP for internal metalizing before supply, or others are just supplying base products.
The Jade diversity is so wide it is easier to give the two extremes and assume everything inbetween is catered for, 2500 micron PVC down to 3 micron capacitor film, and 400 GSM coated paper down to 20 GSM plain paper is processed, with plain, printed, and laminating going on between these ranges.

4. Is the Jade available in various sizes for different size companies? what do you advise about size of slitter when a customer needs advice about new installations for their operation?

The Jade machine has been produced from 1100 mm wide (high duty laminated product) up to 6500 mm wide (films), the speeds vary from 300 MPM to 1200 MPM with greater speeds currently being developed. The rewind diameter capacity is generally no less than 1000 mm and has been up to 1520mm (heavy duty Paper), and the parent rolls are equally diverse, the customer is King, and Ashe pride themselves in being able to provide the customer with a machine to his requirements, whatever they are.

5. Is the Jade able to handle film substrates produced from biodegradable polymers (PLA, corn starch etc)? What are the most popular film substrates handled and does the Jade need any modification/retooling to handle different types?

The Jade machine will handle all types of processed materials, we have to change certain aspects of the machine to suit the different products but these are generally.

a) Roll coverings
b) Roller strengths and speed rating
c) Rewind motors for tension and speed requirements
d) Type of slitting
The most popular materials are the variants of Polypropylene, many with up to eight layer co-extrusion ( different materials being extruded on top of each other in one operation.)

6. If a company came to you looking for a machine of this type what would be your three most important selling points for it?

a) Quality of rewind rolls produced.
b) Ease of use
c) Low capital outlay

7. What new technology does the Jade use that gives it an edge on the competition?

This is a difficult one to answer, but I think the reply has to be the overall package of the Jade has so much to offer. During the initial development phase of the Jade design we approached as many different people as we could and asked them what are the main problems of the existing type of machine. The results were commonly setup time, reliability of different parts of the machine and initial costs. We set about eliminating all the issues the customers were unhappy with and produced the new concepts in the Jade series.

As an example, the existing equipment uses plugs and sockets and trailing electrical leads to connect the rewind arms to the control system, this mean that the connections have to include all of the switches, power, signal and control circuits for each arm, with some machines having twenty arm assemblies you can see the issues with reliability are easy to imagine. These cables are trailing so have to move with the arms and get stood on and pulled in not disconnected. The pneumatics are the same with multiple connection being required. And the drives are mounted in cabinets external from the machines.
The Jade machine has on board drive, built in PLC processing for each arm with switches and inputs being connected into an applications module on board the drive.

The supply for the arms are by linear bus rails, permanently connected with no trailing leads. So the whole assembly is self contained and eliminates the durability issues with other designs.

8. What bespoke features can you offer on the Jade?

We have added finished roll wrapping, finished roll weighing and roll handling conveyors, Laminating equipment, Trim winders, Splice tables, Full width waste roll winders, automatic parent roll storage and loading for in line extruders, automatic knife setting, web cleaners, this is just a selection of some of the features we have added in the past.
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