Corona Collaboration

Label Technology provides input to Corotec Corp. to improve its corona treater design and its productivity.

Vince Lombardi once said, “Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” Label Technology Inc. and Corotec Corp. gave credence to Lombardi's belief when they teamed up to resolve a maintenance challenge encountered when a Corotec Uni-Dyne narrow web corona treating system was installed in the controlled, high-humidity environment at Label Technology.

The result of their collaboration was a newly designed product that not only eliminated Label Technology's concerns but, according to Albert Gabriel, maintenance/facilities manager of Label Technology, also will benefit all users of corona treating systems that operate in a controlled, high-humidity environment or any installation where frequent cleaning of the treating system is made necessary by the nature of the operating environment.

The result, Gabriel reports, is a pull-out removable electrode cartridge that allows for fast and simple removal, cleaning, and replacement of electrode assemblies, significantly minimizing maintenance, routine cleaning, and downtime.

Uncovering a Problem
Label Technology offers high quality, high volume label solutions to many of the most recognized corporations in the US and is the winner of the Tag and Label Manufacturers Institute 2001 Converter of the Year Award. The company has a fully climate-controlled press room with six Nilpeter, Roto Press, and Mark Andy presses up to 20 in. wide and nine-color printing capability.

Label Technology's commitment to customer service and satisfaction can be seen through its proactive approach to maintenance within its facility. By scheduling regular equipment maintenance and logging and documenting all maintenance activities, the converter is able to anticipate any potential problems before they affect customer deliveries. Shortly after purchasing a new 20-in., nine-color Mark Andy 4150 film printing press equipped with a Corotec Uni-Dyne narrow web corona treater, Label Technology noted the need for frequent cleaning of the corona treater.

The corona treatment process, by its very nature, creates an acid by-product known in the industry as “treater juice.” This by-product is produced when moisture-laden air is pulled through the corona discharge field. The result is a brown sludge-like substance that can build up on the internal components of the treating station, including the electrode insulator surfaces, and requires routine cleaning from time to time to prevent degradation due to arc-tracking.

At Label Technology a humidification system is used to improve process/production efficiency and reduce static electricity. Because “treater juice” buildup can be significant in high-humidity environments, it became necessary to clean the electrodes in the Uni-Dyne system quite frequently, which was time-consuming. If the equipment wasn't cleaned often enough, it would eventually arc track, creating a path to ground through the assembly screws and components causing the equipment to shut itself down automatically. Of course, once the system was cleaned, the Uni-Dyne could be restarted and production could continue, but the frequency of the required cleaning became somewhat of a headache.

Beginning a Partnership
Label Technology wanted to work through these challenges with Corotec. When asked why, Gabriel replied, “We always gave Corotec a big plus on the design of their power supply. We have never had a problem with it. Their electronic system was awesome, so we felt they would have the know-how to enhance the system to work better in our environment.”

Gabriel continued, “Corotec was very committed to finding solutions to the problem and enhancing the product. They took the initiative to come across the country to visit our facility as soon as they heard of the issues we were experiencing. They spent an entire day here gathering information to return to their design team. After analyzing the problems and working closely with us to receive feedback about potential design changes, Corotec developed a brand new design that exceeded everyone's expectations.”

Once the design was completed, Label Technology shipped the old system to Corotec. The newly enhanced system was returned to the converter three days later.

The New Corona Treater
Label Technology is up and running smoothly with its new Uni-Dyne treater The new design addresses all of the converter's maintenance concerns, Gabriel says. By incorporating the latest feature of the treater — the removable electrode cartridge drawer — issues regarding accessibility, cleaning, arc tracking, and maintenance were all addressed and resolved. Now the entire electrode assembly can be removed for cleaning in seconds.

The open design of the cartridge itself allows excellent access for thorough cleaning, Gabriel reports. Spare cartridges can be kept on hand as well as different electrode configurations for different treating applications. This feature dramatically reduces downtime, Gabriel says. When the cartridge in the treater needs cleaning, it is out with the old and in with the new.

The treater at Label Technology incorporates a single fixed-width bare roll electrode assembly for both conductive and non-conductive treatment. An added bonus to the new electrode cartridge design is it allows for better cooling of the electrodes, Gabriel reports, and because more power can be applied into the same treatment width, a higher power density can be achieved or higher line press speeds can be realized, thereby increasing productivity.

CONVERTER INFO
Label Technology Inc.

2050 Wardrobe Ave.
Merced, CA 95340
209/384-1000; labeltech.com


SUPPLIER INFO
Corotec Corp.—PFFC-ASAP 301.
Farmington, CT; 860/678-0038; corotec.com

Mark Andy Inc.—PFFC-ASAP 302. Chesterfield, MO; 636/532-4433; markandy.com

Nilpeter Inc.—PFFC-ASAP 303. Davie, FL; 954/385-8835; nilpeter.com

Roto Press Intl.—PFFC-ASAP 304. Cincinnati, OH; 513/489-4400; nilpeter.com



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