The Digital Advantage... More Than Just Printing

This year you've heard the term "digital" all over the industry, usually in regard to printing. But digital drops in on other converting areas as well.

What does "digital" really mean to you? Well, to the attendees of three of the industry's prime events in the last few months—Drupa 2000, Labelexpo USA, and Graph Expo/Converting Expo—it seemed to mean digital printing. The shows' digital emphases revealed how rapidly digital printing is moving toward the mainstream, in commercial applications and in package printing applications.

But digital technology is something that can make other converting processes more efficient and accurate as well. Genesis Converting Corp.'s recent investment in two Erhardt + Leimer FE 5001 digital color line sensors on its two newly acquired Dusenbery slitter/rewinders provides testimony of that. Yet the Itasca, IL-based company's president, Stan Budzinski, is compelled to attest verbally as well: "[These digital] systems really provide a unique feature for us. They've increased our accuracy and even our efficiency; because they are so easy to run, it only takes the operator a minute or two to set up. They really have improved our quality and efficiency drastically."

For Genesis Converting, accuracy and efficiency are very important; a majority of the company's product is made for the medical industry - products that need to maintain strict sanitary and quality specs. "We produce either rollstock or pre-made pouches, both printed and non-printed," says Budzinski. "Our pouches are all laminations—anything from something as simple as a paper/poly up to multi-plied film/foil lamination. We do a variety of different structures." Most of Genesis Converting's substrates are proprietary in nature.

Growing Like Gangbusters
Six years ago Budzinski created Genesis as an offshoot of a former business venture, and, he says proudly, "It has been growing ever since. We've been growing at a steady rate every year."

Genesis is growing in more ways than one. "We try and stay ahead of the technologies," Budzinski states. "We've very heavily invested in new equipment in the last few years—adding one to two pieces of equipment every year to our existing arsenal. People ask me why I don't have a Ferrari or a Lamborghini, and I say, `I do. One is slitting the film; the other one is printing for me,'" he laughs.

Other growth at Genesis is pending, but plans are set for more physical space and more physical help. "We're adding onto our existing 30,000-square-foot building; we hope another 20,000 will be added by the first of the year," says Budzinski. "Right now we have just one shift. We do four ten-hour days, using Fridays for maintenance or catch-up work, and lately, because of the amount of business we've had, it's been more of the catch-up then the maintenance. So, we've been using Saturdays for maintenance. I'm guessing we'll add a second shift in the next six months, because the volume is getting to the point where we're just not able to handle everything in one shift and still keep the customer happy. In other people's areas, they may say they can deliver in six to eight weeks. If I was to tell my customers that, they'd say, `See you later.' We need to be able to deliver in 3 to 4 weeks maximum," he adds.

Deliver is what Genesis Converting does, and it does it with the "arsenal" of equipment to which Budzinski refers. The operation houses a brand new nine-color Aquaflex flexo press capable of running web widths to 26 in. at 550 fpm, and a seven-color Aquaflex flexo press capable of running web widths to 26 in. at 550 fpm. All the company's inks are supplied by Arcar. Genesis corona treats its substrates with QC Electronics treaters on both of its press lines.

Genesis also is armed with ten pouch machines, two new ones made by HCI, states Budzinski. "We've also got two stand-up zipper-pouch machines that are manufactured by Prototech. The other six encompass a variety of proprietary machines we've assembled over the years."

Digital Directions
Genesis Converting's investment in the E+L digital sensors began with the operation's purchase of its first of two Dusenbery 835 slitter/rewinders about a year-and-a-half ago. Explains Budzinski: "The first [Dusenbery 835] we got didn't have the E+L system; it had the regular edge-sensing system. We ran across a specific application in which we needed to get tighter slitting tolerances, so we asked Dusenbery for some help. They showed us the E+L system, and it has been phenomenal. We can do edge or line sensing."

So, when Genesis went to buy its second Dusenbery 835 earlier this year, Budzinski requested the E+L system be installed before it was shipped to Itasca. "They told me there would be an upcharge for it, but I said, `I don't care. I want the E+L system on there.'" Training for the digital sensor system came with the E+L retrofit to the first Dusenbery machine, and Budzinski reports it was a breeze. "It lasted, I think, an hour or so. It literally was that fast for our people to pick up. We brought the system in, and the machine was retrofitted. The trainer came in and spent some time showing the operators what to do, and that was it."

According to Budzinski, the FE 5001 sensor and the actuator are fully digital, and the sensor can guide from lines, intermittent lines, or color repeats. He says it can guide from the edge (as close to 0.02 in. from the edge or print) or from the center of the web.

The precision of Genesis Converting's E+L digital line/edge-sensing systems has been a boon for the operation. Declares Budzinski, "The versatility of the FE 5001 is [what convinced us to buy the systems]. The bottom line is that these systems make Genesis Converting a company that can provide leading-edge digital capabilities to our customers, while maintaining the value of product and services."

At least for now, that's what "digital" means to Genesis.

Supplier Info.
Erhardt + Leimer Inc.
, Spartanburg, SC; 864/486-3000; erhardt-leimer-us.com

John Dusenbery Co., Randolph, NJ; 973/366-7500; dusenbery.com

Aquaflex, a div. of Chromas Technologies, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; 450/449-0494; chromas.com

Arcar Graphics LLC, West Chicago, IL; 630/231-7313; arcarusa.com

QC Electronics, Portage, WI; 608/742-1661; 800/366-1988; qcelectronics.com

HCI Converting Equipment Co., Taichung, Taiwan; +886 4 359 0632

Prototech Mfg., Manchester, NY; 716/289-4709


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