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ITW Foils is a global leader in the manufacturing and distribution of technically superior foils, films and foil laminates for the graphics industry.  Its high quality products are used for the most demanding applications such as packaging and labels for some of the world’s most prestigious brands.  

The company is at the leading edge of the coating industry with an excellent track record of innovation and research in the manufacture of the best performing foils, films and foil laminates in the graphic industry.  As part of the global $15 billion Illinois Tool Works (ITW) group the company has the financial backing and R&D resources to lead the field in areas such as holographic film and cold foil technologies.

Getting the product right first time every time is what drives Operations Director of the Blaenavon plant in Wales, John Dick.

A key issue, which was compromising quality, was contamination.  The company operates a number of direct and reverse gravure Kroenert coating machines, which apply a very thin coating of between 1 and 2 um thick.   John explains: “If a particle of dust, insect or other foreign body is attached to the impression roll it leaves a coating void every revolution of the impression roll.  At speeds of up to 350 metres per minute it is virtually impossible for an operator to visibly identify the defect.  As a result a lot of expensive material was being scrapped.”

John looked to fellow ITW group company Teknek for a solution.  During the course of 2012 the company installed a total of six Teknek contact cleaning machines on its presses.  These machines use a specially formulated elastomer roller to make direct contact with the impression roller removing particles down to one micron in size from the surface.  This debris is then transferred to a reverse-wound pre-sheeted adhesive roll.  The roller is kept clean, allowing continuous production without any unplanned stops in production. It was also found that the impression roller lasted longer before it required to be refurnished.

The results according to John have been dramatic: “We have virtually eliminated coating voids whereas before the installation a considerable quantity of our finished inventory was being affected.  We have seen a 10% improvement in productivity due to avoiding rework and customer complaints on coating voids are zero.  Quality has been further enhanced with the addition of Simco anti-static units which ensure that the risks of recontamination of the web due to electrostatic charge are removed.”

“Overall I would say we have been delighted with the performance of the Teknek contact cleaning machines.  They have solved a major quality problem for us by saving considerable time in rework and eliminating the need to scrap very expensive materials,” concluded John.

For further information about Teknek please visit www.teknek.comor call +44(0)141 568 8100.

To learn more about ITW Foils please visit www.itwfoils.com