Roll Handling | API Foils Finds Custom Roll Cradle Solution

Rollguard Dura-Last's reusability and durability mean fewer cradles and zero damage

In a sea of competitive products, finding the right combination of innovation, efficiency, and reliability that will offer differentiation and increase customer purchasing confidence is key to success.

All these factors were taken into consideration when API Foils Inc., a global manufacturer of stamping foils with production facilities in the US and Europe, needed a better protection system for transferring factory rolls from its New Jersey location to sister plants in Kansas and California, where the rolls are converted to widths and lengths per customer specification.

The challenge API Foils encountered was retaining the rolls pristine condition during shipping by preventing impressions being made on the foil. The solution—Dura-Last roll cradles by Rollguard.

Rollguard Dura-Last roll cradlesAPI Foils is using Rollguard's Dura-Last roll cradles for foil rolls the company ships weekly from New Jersey to California and Kansas.

At the heart of the business, the foils line is used to visually enhance a large and diverse range of products worldwide from wine bottle labels, beauty care packaging, and greeting cards. The company offers a broad variety with a wide choice of functionality, colors, and patterns with consistently high quality. The foils are developed with workability in mind giving it a means to operate across a series of different applications including holographic stamping for duty and heritage stamps along with document security of bank notes and identity cards.

Protecting the foil rolls used to mean suspending them between boards that were strapped to both ends of the rolls. These end-boards were then strapped to pallets for shipping and storage. The suspension/strapping process took about 10 minutes per roll with API Foils preparing 25 to 40 rolls a day.

“Then I found a company that made roll protectors out of recycled material, and it seemed like a great idea,” said Jeff Pendleton, finishing and distribution manager for API Foils. “We could lay two rolls side by side on a pallet, put two more protectors on top, and finally lay two more rolls on top of that. It took five minutes to strap, and we would have four rolls done in the time it previously took us to prepare one roll. The only problem was, after using these roll protectors three or four times, they needed to be replaced.”

Wanting to find a more economical and recyclable solution, Pendleton contacted Rollguard via its website and inquired about their Dura-Last reusable roll cradles.

“We wanted to see if we could achieve the same ease and results, but with a longer product life,” Pendleton said.

Rollguard Offers Customizable Solutions

Based in Appleton, WI, and part of Great Northern Corp., Rollguard is the industry leader in providing recycled fiber cradles and the only one to offer protective cradle solutions in recycled fiber, foam, and plastic. According to Rollguard Account Manger John Laura, API Foils needed a solution that was customizable to fit a variety of sizes and be an ideal product for sensitive materials.

“He would have needed as many as five different sized fiber cradles and he would have been recycling them after a few uses, which wouldn’t have been very cost-effective for him,” Laura said. “Also, the recycled fiber cradles can leave some impressions on the outer layers of the foil rolls, and he wanted to eliminate that problem.”

Because the cradles would be used in a closed-loop system, Laura suggested Rollguard’s Dura-Last foam cradle.

Dura-Last cradles are produced from high-density, highly durable foam material for long-lasting, repeated cradle usage with less waste. They are ideal for closed-loop systems in which the cradles can be used over and over in shipping or storage situations.

“Dura-Last is completely customizable to work with any application,” said Rob Swannell, general manager, Rollguard. “With its superior product protection capabilities and reusability, Dura-Last is ideal for operations that require durable applications for internal storage and handling of materials or in closed-loop shipping operations for extended periods of repeated use.”

While the cost per unit exceeds that of recycled fiber cradles, the long lasting durability of the Dura-Last cradles make them a cost-effective option for operations such as API Foils. In addition to preventing impressions, the Dura-Last cradles eliminate the need to keep buying new cradles and provide a one-size-fits-all product to accommodate a wide variety of radiuses.

The lightweight cradles reduce shipping costs without compromising protection of products and delicate finishes. It can be ordered in lower quantities with no minimums required, and its slightly textured surface resists beading and prevents slippage.

API Foils began testing Dura-Last cradles in April 2012 with a partial order. “After six weeks of use there was no sign of wear, so in June we ordered the balance,” Pendleton said. “After more than six months, the cradles still look good and we have not had any loss.”

The foil rolls the company ships weekly from New Jersey to California and Kansas range in weight from 250–450 lbs.

“Fortunately the foam cradles are light enough to keep shipping costs to a minimum while also proving as durable as promised,” Pendleton added. “The original rolls were delivered on or before the date on the original agreement and it has been a good experience working with Rollguard.”

The API Foils situation is an example of the kind of solutions expertise Rollguard offers. “While other roll cradle providers have only one option to offer, such as recycled fiber, foam, or plastic cradles, Rollguard has expertise in all three materials,” said Laura. “We can deliver the solution that best fits the challenge, not the other way around.”

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