Digital Magazine

New Era Wins Velcro Business with Lab Trials

PATERSON, NJ | Velcro Industries is the original and premier global manufacturer and innovator of hook and loop fasteners. What began as a novel invention in the 1940s has grown into a household name with more than 400 active patents and 200-plus trademark registrations in over 150 countries worldwide. Their products are used for applications across an extensive variety of industries including packaging, medical, apparel, agriculture, industrial cleaning, transportation, athletics, and military.

For a new application, Velcro Industries was presented with a challenge and needed to identify a converter that could meet their needs. “The foremost challenge we faced with this project was identifying converting specialists with specialized coating experience,” says Joe Anderson, senior mechanical engineer at Velcro Industries. “Our product is like no other due to its loose woven nature, narrow web widths, and the requirement to coat multiple adhesive varieties in a single line.” To find a converting company that could meet their needs, they attended the ICE USA 2013 show. It was there that the project group first connected with New Era Converting.

After connecting at the show, the two companies began the quotation and proposal phase of the process, which allowed New Era’s exceptional customer service to shine. “The proposal involved innovative thinking to overcome the challenges in multiple areas of the machine, the two greatest being automated material unwinding and flexibility in coating methods,” says Anderson. “New Era had rapid responses to our requests for information related to machine concepts and cost.”

Once a conceptual design was developed, the testing phase began. New Era ran three multi-day trials utilizing a variety of coating methods, and the trials paid off: they resulted in a 30% reduction of the required coating weight for their existing products. “New Era has a great deal of process and web handling knowledge,” says Paul Lembo, VP at New Era. “The combination of these enabled Velcro Industries to try a variety of new coating techniques, including some hybrids which we felt could be a nice fit given their unique application.”

The end result was a narrow web coating/drying line, fed by a custom multi-spindle unwind system designed to automatically splice unwind rolls every 2-3 minutes. The trials led directly to the choice of coating method, which is modular in design to allow future flexibility given the customer’s wide range of substrates and coatings. The new system had been proven out through New Era’s extensive tests, and the equipment is currently on order with Velcro Industries’ approval for the design. Fabrication of the new equipment will commence in the coming weeks.

“It’s been a great process from start to finish,” says Lembo. “From connecting with them at a trade show, to our people doing a wonderful job being responsive and competitive, to our engineers proving once again that we are at the cutting edge of the converting industry through extensive lab trials, we are really proud of this entire project and pleased to be working with a well respected company like Velcro Industries.”


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