- December 01, 2003, Nsenga Byrd Thompson, Associate Editor
Your furnace's air filters, the alternator belt in your car, the track ball in your computer mouse — small, yet critical features that are necessary for their bigger components to operate properly. Converters must add trim removal systems to that list. To some, it may be presumptuous to regard trim removal systems as critical, but industry experts agree these systems are the unsung heroes of any converting operation.
“Conveying trim or waste in an operation typically gets less attention than is merited by its potential effect on profits. Indeed, it is not unusual for multi-million-dollar pieces of equipment to be shut down or to operate at rates below their design intention because of poorly designed and malfunctioning trim or waste conveying systems,” explains Bill Titus, sales manager at Air Trim Inc., Springfield, OH (airtrim.com). “Through experience, converters have learned the lesson of how important it is to purchase a reliable trim system.”
Thomas Embley, CEO of Precision AirConvey Corp., Newark, DE (precisionairconvey.com), agrees, “Operators now realize a poorly designed trim system may actually be the reason their expensive converting equipment is not operating at full potential.” With that in mind, Embley encourages converters to consider the “return on investment” before purchasing a trim removal system. “Once the converter has justified the expense, they must look at the issues that relate to their specific application. These specifics include line speed, trim width, web width, trim stiffness, conveying distance, number of trims/machines, and lastly, plant utility consumption. When evaluating a trim system, the end-user must compare how the system in question will handle each of these parameters.”
Embley maintains today's converters are challenged to produce a greater variety of products at a lower cost. “This means the trim handling solution needs to handle a variety of substrates, widths, and speeds and be priced for a quick return on investment….Today's solutions need to be more holistic, including installation and start-up services as well as electrical controls.”
Another important aspect of trim removal systems, and one that has been at the center of many of the improvements made to trim control in recent years, is static control. Jay Perry, marketing manager — products, Simco Industrial Static Control, Hatfield, PA (simco.biz), explains, “As bulk materials move through pneumatic conveying systems, they collide with one another and the sides of the conveyor ducts. This fractioning results in the materials becoming electrostatically charged — and charges ranging from 5,000 to 25,000 volts are not uncommon! Once charges build up on the materials, serious problems like clogs, de-mixing, and clumping can develop within the conveying system. This always results in costly downtime and/or increased maintenance costs.”
Along with static control, Embley says improvements also have been made in material-air separators, noise attenuation, and dust control. Another significant improvement has been in the ability to convey tremendous distances and take the trim directly to the end-user's compactor, baler, or waste container, which he says eliminates the need to add costly labor to the process.
Adds Titus, “New types of conveying equipment, support equipment, electrical and pneumatic controls, and innovative designs that have become standard in the industry have advanced trim and waste removal to the status of other capital expenditures rather than as an afterthought for today's projects.”
Restrictions of time and space limit the number of companies, products, and trends that we can discuss in these reports.For additional information, see
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