Monday, September 26, 2011

Problems Associated With Mechanical Sheeters

When was the last time you picked up a brochure or flipped through a company catalog? For most individuals, this was probably not very long ago. Printed materials – such as flyers, leaflets, newspaper supplements, and direct mail – are essential in providing readers with necessary information. To meet a company’s mass distribution needs, web press machines have to churn out thousands of pieces of printed material per minute. Part of that process entails cutting a continuous web of paper, measuring thousands of feet long, to a defined length.

Since Johannes Gutenberg’s movable type printing press, no single invention has advanced printing processes as much as a sheeter, which slices a web of paper into sheets of a specific size at up to 1000-plus feet per minute. As innovative as they are, however, there are various shortcomings associated with mechanical sheeters that have decreased web press efficiency. Mechanical sheeters need to be permanently mounted to the web press via a lineshaft, and they always run at speeds synchronized to the pace of the press. These factors cause numerous difficulties, including:

  • The sheeter has to be removed from the press and manually re-configured to accommodate different material sizes, causing expensive production disruptions.
  • If the sheeter has been adjusted poorly, the process will result in an increased amount of scrap.
  • High-feed rates often reduce cutting accuracy.

These and other problems associated with mechanical sheeters have driven a change in the current technology: Servo motors have dramatically enhanced sheeter flexibility, allowing companies to produce custom-length materials more efficiently. Tune in next week to find out how servo systems are radically enhancing standard sheeter processes.

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