Turnkey Coating Skid
A manufacturer of nanomaterials for composites had a product that needed to be produced without being touched or disturbed. The company’s product is manufactured continuously on a roll-to-roll web. The end result is a coated wound roll of a delicate powder, which if touched would abrade off and release into the air, becoming a health concern. The manufacturer came to Optimation to help solve the issue of how to produce the rolls without damaging the coating.
Optimation came up with a solution that uses three winders in one – the winder for the product, and two interleavers that provide a gap that keeps the product from touching. This machine winds the product concurrently with the two interleaved strips on either edge. The machine maintains the tension of the product and the two strips simultaneously. Steering also needed to be considered – the machine steers the product on the winder and steers the two interleaved strips onto the product. Measurement equipment on the winder detects the lack of the presence of the coating and maps for defects.
This was a concept to completion solution from machine engineering and design to fabrication and controls.
Because this winder was a module that coupled into the existing production line, Optimation did a fair amount of collaboration on environmental and process conditions. This was a clean room environment.
Optimation’s controls and our hardware and logic had to be compatible with existing technology in the plant. Working within their platform, Optimation provided the control logic and software to be integrated into their system.
Optimation skilled tradesmen built the skid in Optimation’s shop using a combination of purchased components and assembly. The machine was set up and temporarily wired for a Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) in Optimation’s facility, which involved powering the machine up and confirming motions and actuations before the skid was delivered and installed at the client’s facility.
I recognized that Optimation had a lot of expertise there and a lot of transplanted ex-Kodak people that really knew a lot about all sorts of manufacturing, manufacturing processes and could do equipment installs and refurbishing. They fill a void because it’s as close to having that expertise under your roof as it can be without actually hiring people full time.