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Nearing the commercial realization of a radically new concept in film winding, Gloucester Engineering's WOW winder is being installed at Berry Plastics film facility in Pryor, OK. According to Mark Jones, product group director flat die systems at Gloucester, the concept of a surface winding drum with individual turrets for each roll actually dates back to the middle of 2006.

Tony Deligio

May 5, 2010

3 Min Read
WOW winder delivered to Berry; will winding revolution follow?

Nearing the commercial realization of a radically new concept in film winding, Gloucester Engineering's WOW winder is being installed at Berry Plastics film facility in Pryor, OK. According to Mark Jones, product group director flat die systems at Gloucester, the concept of a surface winding drum with individual turrets for each roll actually dates back to the middle of 2006. The company constructed increasingly sophisticated test rigs from 2007 to 2008 to prove out the concept, with the final most-complete rig essentially representing a full-spec winder, without the robotics, that had a complete, in-house developed software package that was designed to wind a single lane of 20-inch (508-mm) film.

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The WOW completes a dry run with a dummy roll.

At that point, Jones says Gloucester began design of a full-scale winder, which could wind a 120-inch (3m) web for six, seven, or eight rolls. In a bit of serendipity, at the same time Gloucester sought a partner to test the WOW under field conditions, Jones said it got word that Berry was interested in investing in a new line for the production of cast stretch film. By the middle of 2008 Gloucester reached an agreement with Berry to supply it a standard 1002DS winder and a WOW winder. The standard winder would allow production prior to delivery of the WOW and was intended to run in tandem with the WOW during the testing stage.

By the middle of 2009, the full-scale production WOW unit had been designed and built and was undergoing trials at Gloucester. Jones said there were some delays stemming from the need to design and build a film off-wind unit and make modifications to the shaft re-coring system, but pre-production system and film winding trials were completed at Gloucester early this year, with the winder subsequently shipped to Berry.

The WOW delivered to Oklahoma is designed to run cast stretch film in a variety of widths from six rolls at 20-inches wide to eight rolls at 15-inches wide. Either  3- or 2-inch cores can be used, with a maximum roll diameter of 10 inches (254 mm) and maximum speed of 3250 ft/min (1000 m/min). Noting that throughput depends on the extruder to which the winder is attached, Jones says the Berry line has the capacity to run up to about 4400 lb/hr (2000 kg/hr) net.

"As with all radically innovative machines, and this winder falls into that category," Jones says, "certain aspects are familiar and can reasonably be expected to work but others need to be validated." While the actual winder speed is impacted by a variety of factors, including the thickness of the film being extruded and output of the extruder, Jones says various tests have shown operation at 1000 m/min is possible, but he notes, "The proof will come in production." According to Jones, Gloucester is receiving interest in the winder as a part of a new systems and as a retrofit to older lines, with market pull generated by the desire to run thinner films. "One of the issues in the cast stretch industry is that down-gauging is forcing producers to higher line speeds in order to maintain outputs and revenues," Jones says. —Tony Deligio

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