Web Industries, Marlborough, MA, a global leader in outsource converting and manufacturing of flexible materials, is expanding its services to consumer and medical product companies by upgrading existing equipment and the commercialization of recently developed technologies at its facility in Fort Wayne, IN.
Home to several of the largest custom-designed spooling lines in the world, the Fort Wayne location processes nonwovens and films that are found in a variety of home and medical categories. These materials include fluid acquisition and superabsorbent layers found in personal care and home cleaning products, technical textiles used in specialty filters, and multi-layer assemblies for advanced wound care applications.
“These investments are just the latest that Web has made to increase capacity, efficiency and technical proficiency across our company,” says James Oas, consumer products market director of operations. “The upgrades, combined with our recent advancements in ultrasonic multi-layer bonding and embossing and our custom hot melt spray lamination technology, bring new capabilities to the marketplace and keep Web positioned as the leader in innovative manufacturing solutions for products containing flexible materials.”
The equipment upgrades involve two of the largest converting lines in the world, known inside Web Industries as “Machine 64” and “Machine 76.” According to the company, Machine 64 is believed to be the longest, most sophisticated custom-designed high-speed film slitting and spooling line in existence, and it produces enough slit film every 31 hours to circle the Earth. The phased upgrades will take about six months to complete, with no loss of production during that time. In addition to replacing parts reaching the end of their scheduled life, the company’s engineering teams are making design changes to key machine components that will increase capacity by improving material usage efficiency and throughput while meeting all quality assurance benchmarks.
Machine 76 is the largest “large format” nonwovens and film spooler in the world, according to the company, and was a technological leap forward for the nonwoven converting industry when it came online in 1998. In a series of phased upgrades over six months, it will receive a total electronics upgrade that will install the latest industrial automation and information solution technologies. These new control interfaces, runtime data collection systems, and future-material programmability will make Machine 76 the most technologically advanced large format spooling line worldwide and will provide Web Industries with an industry-leading capital asset well into the next decade.
Web Industries has also recently developed and commercialized two other manufacturing technologies for flexible materials. One is an advanced ultrasonic bonding/embossing system that can combine multiple materials on a continuous web at commercial-production speed; the other is a hot melt spray lamination method that offers unique laminate material flexibility and control.