Model M300 Multi-Folder: breaking down barrier

“No barrier can prevent those who strive from achieving their goals.”- Rich Lewis

Tom Bentzler

A little over a year ago Green Bay Engineering set a goal to break through the barriers that have existed in the area of inter-folded toweling. At the beginning of the project, the design team consulted the market, asking questions to numerous converters to learn the current state of inter-folding in the world. The result was surprising. There had been some improvements in the level of automation and quality of finished product through recent years, but few gains in performance.

That outcome raised the question: “Why, when there has been steady improvement in speed and efficiency of rewinder lines, have there been no significant breakthroughs in the performance of inter-folders in decades?”

TO START OUT, THE TEAM IDENTIFIED MULTIPLE AREAS IN THE FOLDING PROCESS THAT HAD IN EFFECT BUILT A “WALL” IN FRONT OF PROGRESS. The group believed that the key to increased performance was to gain better control of the web as it passes through the process that transforms the wound parent roll of paper into individually cut, inter-folded sheets of hand towel. Through careful analysis and creative problem-solving, the team has developed a list of new inventions that sought to “break down the wall”. In late 2003, the fruits of these efforts were born in the new Green Bay Engineering Model M300 Multi-Fold (Z-Fold) towel line. Over 125 converters from around the world have taken the opportunity to view this revolutionary new inter-folding technology since introduced earlier this year.

WHAT IS SO INNOVATIVE ABOUT THIS NEW INTER-FOLDER? First, is the speed - existing multi-fold towel lines on the market are limited to maximum operating speeds of 165 - 185MPM (540 - 600FPM). However, on the Green Bay engineering Model M300 line, operating speeds over 300MPM (1,000FPM) have been demonstrated – more than 50% faster than other leading multi-folders.

Second, is improved operating efficiency - key among the attributes that reduce downtime is simplicity of machinery design.

Every aspect of the folding process was reviewed to identify weaknesses. Of particular focus were the systems which automatically interrupt the product flow at the appropriate sheet count and then separate the finished stack of towel from the building stack. Here is where Green Bay Engineering excels, offering their patented interruption system and vertical Log Separator. There are no longer complicated elevator systems to maintain or delicate picker fingers to keep aligned as on traditional automatic inter-folders. The new Green Bay Engineering automatic interruption and separation systems offer reliable operation, require low maintenance, and allow easy access to the folder. Many other enhancements have been completed to improve the longevity and long-term performance of the folding system, including optimized folding roll designs and cam actuation. Another feature that contributes to increased line uptime is the possible addition of a log accumulator, similar to those installed in a rewinder line. The inclusion of an accumulator allows the folder to continue producing even if downstream equipment interrupts the overall line operation. The complete converting line is designed in a modular fashion to allow broad flexibility in positioning the line into existing or new converting facilities.

The concepts that have enabled the Model M300 Multi-Folder to attain new heights in performance have set a new standard in the inter-folded towel industry. They have also established the new foundation on which future Green Bay Engineering inter-folded towel and tissue lines will be constructed. •

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