Carestream Contract Manufacturing’s converting and packaging operations slit and chop various products including film and paper to deliver roll and sheet goods. Featuring converting facilities in different regions of the world, Carestream offers the lowest delivered cost for finished products worldwide. By leveraging our extensive technical converting expertise, Carestream ensures lower investment costs backed by a commitment to deliver the utmost in quality and traceability.
At Carestream, the converting and packaging process is more than just the means to an end. Our professionals view adherence to quality standards as a critical step, especially since they are the last to view the product before it ships. This zero defect methodology includes multiple checks and balances to ensure that all materials are properly inspected and that any remaining defects are removed. The company’s expertise in converting services and technologies ensures the delivery of reliable, high-quality products at a substantial cost savings.
Carestream Contract Manufacturing’s converting capabilities include:
- Film and paper converting
- Roll and sheet product
- Web inspection
- Experience with a variety of support types and thicknesses
- Controlled atmosphere conditions
- Safe lighting
- Manual to fully automated range of operation
- Customization dependent on customer requirements.
Carestream’s packaging and shipping capabilities include:
- Adherence to numerous packaging requirements
- Variety of formats including bag, cartridge, box, sleeve and case
- Expertise in shipping both domestic and international, including full loads, LTL (less than truckload) and ocean containers.
Below is a case study detailing a typical converting and packaging process for manual bagged and boxed products at Carestream Contract Manufacturing.
After being coated, the wide-roll films (ranging in size from 2,000 to 4,000 feet long) are first wrapped due to light sensitivity. From there, an operator trucks the wide roll to one of the slitting machines where it is put on the unwind and spliced to the last roll and brought up through the slitter. The slitter features several knife bar settings, including 8-inch, 10-inch, 12-inch and 14-inch. The slit size chosen for each product varies, as it is dependent on the customer’s order. Once the roll is slit into smaller rolls of the same length, the rolls are loaded onto a cart for delivery to one of the plant’s six chopping machines.
Each chopping machine is set up differently to meet a plethora of requirements. For larger format products, two high-speed choppers are typically used. In this example, the customer solely uses bagged materials so only one specific chopper is employed.
When the roll is brought to the chopper, it is loaded onto the unwind. As the film is fed into the machine, it is continuously laser scanned for defects. If a defect meets certain criteria, that sheet will be automatically gated into the reject bin. Stacks of 127 sheets move down a conveyor where they are cornered rounded. To meet the customer’s request, Carestream also places a notch in the top of the film so users know what side of the film the emulsions are on.
Throughout this process, the operators are continuously evaluating the quality of the material being chopped. The inspectors perform this evaluation by taking samples off the stacks, running them through imagers and then inspecting the samples for imperfections or defects. The operators also physically evaluate the sample sheets to ensure that the size and length of the material meet customer specifications, and inspect the corners and notches.
Other quality checks in the process include: a sheet counter to ensure the proper number of sheets in each stack; automatic corner round and notch inspection machines; the corners and notches are physically measured and inspected; and audits, in which inspectors assess the product with a light box to ensure no coating imperfections. The degree of the audits varies based on customer requirements. In this instance, four sheets from every other stack are imaged and monitored for defects.
After the product passes the intense inspection during the chopping process, the material is put into light tight bags and heat-sealed inside the sheeter two bags at a time. The bags are then moved down the conveyor to a white light area where an operator labels the bag. Technicians tape down the side of the bag over the label and it is then scanned to generate a box label. Once the label is applied, the bag is scanned again and put into a master carton. When the master carton is filled, a sealer applies three outer labels. For this customer, Carestream measures the gaps or skew of the labels to be within a certain tolerance. Once complete, the master cartons are then stacked on pallets where they get corner protected with cardboard protectors, wrapped in plastic and then brought to the warehouse.
Next, the operator generates paperwork to go along with that pallet so it is traceable. Since traceability is such an important aspect of Carestream’s process, each sheet is also edge marked inside the sheeter with a laser printer. If a customer issue arises, these traceability checks enable Carestream to go back and look through individual sheets to tell what emulsion was used to make the product.
As this case study details, converting and packaging at Carestream Contract Manufacturing is a complex process backed by strict quality and traceability standards. This zero defect methodology ensures that all materials are properly inspected and that any remaining defects are removed. As a result, Carestream’s converting services and technologies provide substantial advantages to customers who want to bring new products to market in a cost-effective and efficient manner.