Proving Concepts ... to Enable your Process and Production
Use Optimation's Media Conveyance Facility (MCF) to help you develop and improve your web handling. We go beyond consulting by creating and/or applying our tools and capabilities to analyze and solve challenging web handling problems.
Our tools and capabilities include all our MCF assets including previous experience and problem solving capabilities such as design of experiments (DOE), statistical analyses (including use of JMP or Minitab) and general problem solving skills.
Optimation's MCF facility offers us the ability and flexibility to solve all types of web-related production problems, test new product features, and characterize and quantify capital project investments. Our configurable facility and team can customize equipment to client's product and process development needs.
The MCF is led by a group of engineers, technologists, designers and tradesmen with over 200 years of combined mechanical and electrical experience in web handling development and measuring/modeling.
We Incorporate the Key Building Blocks of a Web Handling Project Life-cycle
Optimation incorporates key building blocks for a successful web handling development project. We take a systematic approach by working with you throughout the five (5) major steps of the project life-cycle.
- We begin by first gaining an understanding of the process and product features.
- We create a problem statement.
- Based on the problem statement, Optimation then identifies the objectives required to solve the problem or develop the solution.
- Next we generate a list of activities and deliverables. This list of activities and deliverables will use any or all our tools and capabilities to address the problem statement. We also leverage the knowledge of external assets, i.e. alliances and professional societies.
- Finally, the development plan is performed. During execution of the plan, we encourage our clients to visit our lab to participate and/or assist in testing activities when appropriate.
The end result of the implementation of the major steps in the project life cycle is the solution
to your web handling problem.
We have the Web Handling Development Solutions
Optimation has conducted experiments and achieved solutions for the common web handling problems to the more complex. Our experiments and solutions address common problems related to web and production quality. For demanding situations, we can also provide OEM Machine/ Component Development and Proof-of-Concept services. Examples of our experience includes:
Achieving and maintaining acceptable web quality is an important objective of web handling. The connection between web handling and web quality; however, does not become clear without first defining what is meant by quality. The ultimate definition can be general with many possible variations depending on who is the arbiter of quality. At least three possible answers can be given. First, quality can be defined based on attributes of the web itself. Items such as conformance to measureable attributes such as performance, reliability and durability form the basis of quality defined in this fashion. Second, quality can be defined from the perspective of conformance to production requirements and is primarily concerned with engineering and manufacturing practice. Once a web feature or specification has been established, any deviation implies a reduction in quality. Third, quality can be defined based on the desires of the end user and are rooted in preferences of the consumer. As such, quality defined in this fashion tends to be subjective.
The resources of the MCF can be used to help identify and define the attributes of web quality that are important to you. We will be able to help identify, understand and quantify the relevant underlying physical principles that apply to your particular web quality concern. This understanding is achieved by using the MCF resources such as experience, measurements, models and equipment. Owing to the large number of process and product variables impacting web quality, this knowledge is critical to avoiding lengthy and expensive delays in achieving improvements in web quality. This knowledge can then be applied to your particular web handling product or process to insure that sustainable web quality improvements are realized. For example, changes to process conditions such as tension can provide more reliable conveyance and winding leading to less web-handling waste. Additionally, changes to product specifications such as surface roughness and friction can lead to improved conveyance reliability likewise reducing web-handling waste.
Web quality is frequently harmed by inadequate or deficient web handling equipment or operational protocols. For example, as conveyance speeds increase, air entrainment between webs and rollers and webs and winding rolls frequently leads to loss of traction and excessive relative motion leading to scratching and/or web breaks. Machine capability may not be adequate to accommodate these effects. In addition, operational protocols may be rendered unworkable as conditions change. For example, manual roll start processes may need to be replaced by automated roll starts for not only web quality reasons but for safety considerations as well. Issues such as these fall in the category of production quality and it is in your best interest to know when this is the case. The resources of the MCF can be used to provide guidance and understanding to enable you to know when changes are required in your web handling equipment or operation. Our experience is second to none and we welcome the opportunity to make our expertise available to you to identify your web handling equipment or operational limitations and provide guidance and recommendations on how to realize solutions.
OEM Machine/Component Development
Reliable web handling depends on components within the web conveyance machine being correctly designed, engineered and fabricated. If this is not the case, web handling performance will be compromised, which will lead to web handling cost and quality issues. To address these types of problems, the MCF has the capabilities and tools to analyze issues with existing web handling equipment and components, identify and correct weaknesses and to propose and implement changes to existing or to design and build new machinery or components. In this fashion, improved web handling machines and components are realized.
Web handling problems often occur in existing machines and processes. In a large number of cases, improvements can be achieved with minimal changes to processes and machines. However, in some situations, this is not the case. In these cases the range of change available is not adequate to resolve the problem. In other cases, product and web handling requirements will require the development of entirely new web handling processes. In these scenarios, either new web handling methods or applications of existing technologies in novel ways will be required.
The MCF can help you to determine when more advanced options to deal with your web handling problem are necessary. We will also be able to recommend to you when it is best to first demonstrate a proof of concept or a proof of principle prior to the design, engineering and implementation of a novel production system. A proof of concept or a proof of principle is a realization of a certain method or idea to demonstrate its feasibility, or a demonstration in principle, whose purpose is to verify that some concept or theory has the potential of being used. A proof of concept is usually small and may or may not be complete; however, the key strength of this methodology is the cost-effective realization of a workable web handling process in the shortest possible time.