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K 2013: Gloucester & Pearl talk about life after acquisition

Dusseldorf - After acquiring both Pearl Technologies and Future Design in 2012, Gloucester Engineering Co. went to K 2013 with a full range of new offerings.

Dusseldorf - After acquiring both Pearl Technologies and Future Design in 2012, Gloucester Engineering Co. went to K 2013 with a full range of new offerings.

"Our display show the expansion of our capabilities and the competiveness of our company since our acquisitions and growth," Laurent Cros, VP aftermarket and service operations for Gloucester, told PlasticsToday. "And our main message is that we are working together with them and offering support."

Pearl Technologies is a Savannah, NY-based manufacturer of consumable parts for converting and extrusion capital equipment. The company is known for custom-made attachments, which are sold to various end users in the medical and food packaging industries.

Cros said that Pearl is a "great example" of the type of company GEC looks to acquire as Pearl's line of auxiliary equipment complements Gloucester's current systems.

Pearl Technologies VP Robert Tewksbury said the transition has been smooth.

"They don't get involved with our day-to-day business," he said. "We're encouraged to keep doing what we're doing."

Pearl introduced six new products at K 2013, which included a include a crimper, handle hole sealer, spin-punch, air distribution manifold, oscillating slitter unit and a two-piece ball and die punch.

The crimper attachment is an easy to install auxiliary that is designed to make bags easier to open. The unit can be custom designed to individual size specifications, and includes a replaceable upper and lower jaw that can be used for non-sealing applications.

Pearl's handle-hole security sealer is a modifiable unit with interchangeable patterns, adjustable temperature control and customizable sizes. The standard sealer model has a 4" by 4 ¾" sealing area and is available in side seal or bottom seal configurations. The sealer is equipped with Teflon film rollers and includes an emergency stop position.

The new spin-punch attachment reportedly brings significant cost savings by not requiring zero clearance tooling to make perfectly clean, round holes. This product utilizes less air consumption and is available in side or cross rail options. The minimum diameter for a hole with this model is 1 ¼".

Improving on vintage sheet metal manifold designs, Pearl's air distribution manifold is engineered with a high impact polymer construction. The low body design allows it to fit under most die carts, reducing its footprint. The manifold provides improved insulation that creates "excellent" distribution for air rings, minimizes condensation, eliminates corrosion and conserves energy.

The oscillating slitter unit is designed to decrease blade wear issues commonly associated with traditional slitting systems. A blade can be placed in four different wear positions to even out the wear on its edges. Additionally, the blade's constant movement eliminates the pressure of stopping and starting. The 7/8" center-to-center cross rail unit has infinite and fine TD adjustment capabilities with heads that are capable of being rotated in and out of the film.

Finally, Pearl's ball and die punch is a two-piece assembly that is designed for pouch machinery with a low profile ball for stiffer laminate films. Both the die and punch can be reground for extended life.  When used in Pearl's C-frame unit, the design allows the user to adjust the die height, change balls and remove the air cylinder without any additional tools. The new ball and die assembly allow punching of holes up to 1 ½" in diameter. 

Symphonix Control System

At K, Gloucester itself highlighted the news it recently shipped its first Symphonix Control System to an Asian film producer for a cast film application. The system will be used with a 4.5 M wide cast film line capable of producing a 7-layer structure. The customer saw the upgrade as a way to modernize their manufacturing process to best meet both the skill sets and preference for graphical data of today's worker.

The Symphonix Control System is a new HMI (Human Machine Interface) that offers a single-point graphic control of every component and process on a line. It was designed to include a display with simple, distinguishable graphics, full touchscreen capability, viewing access for all functions and systems, optional manual operating controls, and a general functionality that is as easy to use as a common PC, according to the company.

The display is cleanly organized and easy to read, simplifying the process of checking system specs and data. Process conditions and boundaries are easy to monitor with an intuitive green/yellow/red color system. It even includes on screen tips and help for operators. The gap in the ease of use, and thus necessary training time, between this system and other existing control systems in the industry is enormous.

Symphonix can control everything on a line, including vacuum loading, gauge control, blending, temperatures, pressures and speeds.  All safety features and alarms can be monitored using the Symphonix Control System.

Lab lines

Also at K, Future Design showcases its Little Giant lab lines, which are fully integrated blown film extrusion systems. The systems incorporate numerous FDI patented components to ensure accuracy, stable operation and repeatability under laboratory conditions, the company said. The laboratory lines are generally used for in-house research. They help companies to establish parameters and discover the ideal operating conditions for various materials, including new resins and resin blends, biodegradable materials, colors, and masterbatches. The laboratory lines can also be used for narrow web production.

Each Little Giant lab line is custom designed, and different sizes are available to accommodate different applications, including space saving models.

The company says that it "continues to sell its Little Giant lab lines to major North American resin producers, film producers and training programs," but did not name the companies.

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