"New normal" – interview with the CEO of JURMET
The latest issue of C2 Coating and Converting (C2 Europe 85, February 2021) includes an exclusive interview with the CEO of JURMET – Robert Kwiatkowski. The article is devoted to changes in the business of building converting machines in the new pandemic reality.
The Research and Development Department in JURMET is not slowing down, despite the pandemic prevailing in the world, and is intensively working on adapting slitters and rewinders to the “new normal”. The article presents the latest solutions: Smart Converting and FLOW data management system, which allow to reduce the number of people necessary to operate the machines and allow for remote data management and operation of slitters.
Adapted to the “new normal”
The slitting and winding machinery experts from Jurmet (Lubicz, Poland) explain in an exclusive article for C2, how their business has changed during the corona pandemic – and which new services their customers can expect from them
As the global Covid-19 pandemic is still showing no signs of slowing down, social distancing and hygiene measures will now need to become the “new normal” that must be taken into consideration in the sales, design and commissioning processes in regards to slitters. The pandemic reality has significantly changed the sales process at Jurmet. For the past year the majority of meetings have been set via various meeting platforms. Online tools have become indispensable also during machines’ live presentations and FAT tests. Having the experience of the last dozen or so months, the manufacturer confirms that the transition from face-to-face
meetings to online platform meetings worked smoothly at Jurmet.
Design with new ideas
Jurmet tries to reconcile new ideas in the design of slitting and winding machines with “old” challenges related to energy saving. They have solved this by placing a motor on the unwind (it also works as an energy generator and returns the energy saved during the braking process to the slitting machine). Similarly, problems related to the processing of thin and environmentally friendly films, which on the one hand can be easily recycled, but on the other hand require the development of a sophisticated tension control, have been solved. However, all existing challenges and the company’s new developments have to be reconsidered with a
new perspective. Therefore, all the Smart Converting functions – besides increasing productivity – also eliminate problems related to crowded spaces in the workshop aisles since they allow a slitter to be run by a single operator only.
“Smart Converting” solutions are a unique trademark at Jurmet: they consist of sophisticated software for the slitting and winding machine that allows the setting of various automatic functions. An absolute novelty for the converting market is the possibility of an automatic change of the slitting width pattern on the line. This is made possible by the synchronised setting of the motorised edge control web sensor from BST or other manufacturers, as well as by automatic knives and by the laser module for aligning the winding cores, which is also motorised. In addition, the settings can be stored as part of an “overall recipe” together with tension values and other job parameters and recalled later when required. This state-of-the-art concept was developed by Jurmet's R&D department a few years ago and has been constantly optimised ever since.
The same additional functionality is offered by Jurmet’s FLOW data management system which allows slitting processes and the work of the operator to be remotely monitored and supervised. The use of such a solution in slitters also makes sure that no more people than necessary are walking in the shop floor. It is worth emphasising that the FLOW data management system, which is based on IoT technology, offers additional useful features besides online job monitoring and data export (CSV). There is also a possibility to integrate job recipes transfer to a company ERP, or to load them from the ERP to the slitter. Moreover, the system allows the transferring of data about print or surface faults via a generated protocol from the printing press inspection camera or laminating machine to the slitter.
Remote maintenance and commissioning
Another issue in the spotlight of our “new normal” is service. At Jurmet, they proudly point out that the extremely difficult period at the beginning of the pandemic was used to acquire new skills that are downright priceless today. Now, the Jurmet team offers professional services for the remote commissioning of machines to its customers all over the world. However, if required, the technicians are also available to carry out maintenance work at the customer's site in compliance with hygiene regulations.
Last summer a highly automated slitter was installed at a top Ukrainian film converter – Technologia. The maintenance team was provided in advance with instruction drawings, therefore the slitter could be installed mechanically. Then, online meetings were scheduled in order to activate and adjust the machine, followed by the online training. The whole process ran smoothly and without any problems and the machine has been in full operation ever since. A similar remote commissioning has recently taken place at Constantia Flexible Afripack. It also turned out to be successful.
To meet the needs of customers, Jurmet also practices live-remote installation, where a technician in Jurmet's assembly hall and a technician at the customer's site perform certain activities simultaneously. This enables direct online interactions, which are then intended to speed up commissioning. This service is available for all machines manufactured by Jurmet: Winders, rewinders and core cutters (depending on the current availability of the machines on site).
The Jurmet team hopes that the pandemic will end quickly, but at the same time, they are aware that online meetings and commissions will remain a part of the “new normal”. Therefore, they are constantly working on optimising remote procedures, but without ignoring development processes for slitter automation and data management systems.