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  • 16 Oct 2017

Acucote and Martin Automatic celebrate 20-year partnership

Established 30 years ago, Acucote of Graham, North Carolina has relied on Martin Automatic technology in its production for nearly two decades.

A common feature on its 1400mm (61in) coating lines, which operate at speeds up to 300m/min (1000ft/min), the relationship began in 1998 when Acucote installed the first of its Martin zero-speed splicers, along with a tension control in-feed, for use on the first water-based adhesive coating and laminating line. 

An RMAP automatic transfer rewinder from Martin Automatic followed, with rewind spindles that traverse horizontally. A linear design minimizes roll travel it is claimed, as well as the tension upsets and web shifting associated with turret rotation. Paul Sanborn, senior vice president of operations at Acucote, has also been impressed with the RMAP drive system design. The system utilizes two spindle drives, with the first optimized for winding rolls starting at core diameter, and the second optimized for winding rolls to full diameter. The RMAP passes the roll from the first spindle to the second automatically as the roll builds. Each spindle position has its own brushless AC motor with a direct belt drive system, eliminating the need for potentially troublesome gearboxes, clutches and slip rings.

Further investments followed in 2001 with two more unwind splicers and another RMAP rewinder on a new adhesive coating and laminating line, and again in 2004 with another splicer, equipping both of Acucote’s laminating lines with Martin’s automatic roll changers at the rewind ends, and at the wet and dry ends. In 2010, Acucote replaced an existing unwind on a silicone coating line with a Martin Automatic ECPF splicer for paper, film and light board stocks.

Recently, Acucote replaced an existing turret winder on the silicone coating line with a Martin Automatic RMAP transfer rewinder.

‘Coating and laminating lines run best when they run continuously, so any downtime and wastage that can be avoided by reliable splicing and automated roll changing is valuable in today’s highly price-sensitive market,’ comments Sanborn.

Acucote has five regional slitting and distribution plants around the US and currently employs 140 people including a national sales network. Focusing on silicone, adhesive coating and lamination, the company has a customer-centric approach and manufactures tailor-make options for its customers’ specific requirements.

Equipped to support single press companies up to large corporations, Acucote prides itself on application development, fast project turnaround and high levels of customer engagement. Where its competitors typically stipulate large minimum run lengths and quote long lead times, Acucote claims to turn stock jobs in two days and custom runs in four days. Runs of as little as 5000ft (1500m) are common, and only take up to 15 minutes to run off. 

Now, with eight Martin units in total on site at the Graham facility, Sanborn comments that despite the business switching from a commodity-based product offering to more custom product lines, the automation that Martin Automatic brings has maintained or even improved efficiency on all the coating lines.

‘The Martin Automatic technology fits us well because it allows us to handle a variety of substrates without issue. Their simplicity of design allows for easy maintenance in-house, with occasional fine-tuning by a Martin Automatic technician.’  

The design of its most recent RMAP investment has allowed it to be installed underneath the dryer arch, with ‘creative engineering’ as allowed it to support the dryer.

‘Our entire coating operation here now involves Martin Automatic technology and it has been fundamental to our success.’

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