Corrugated Crush, The Human Element

Vincent asks:

Last time we talked you pointed me in the direction of equipment that caused crush through production. This time can we talk about people? What “things” do employees do on a Corrugator or in converting to cause crush? I’m looking at Man, Machine and Method. I’ve done the machine part so it on to man and method. Thanks in advance for the direction!

I like the way you think! In my mind I came up with paper, people and process.

In the Man category, we have to take the micro adjustments and the art of combining out of the hands of the shift supervisors, foreman, and operators and place it in the hands of science. Process controls for corrugators are common place and we can dial in the exact settings when combining containerboards from each of the 100 machines in North America. Each grade will produce different results in ECT, FCT, pin adhesion, actual caliper, flexural stiffness, and torsional stiffness. Operators need to know the end game and what the targeted/expected values are for each board combination. Responsibility lies with those who touch the process.

A Dynamic Stiffness Tester, which is extremely user friendly and does not require preconditioning and a conditioned lab, is very portable and nearly fool proof. The instrument can move to where it is needed in around the plant making testing quicker and more efficient.

On the converting side of the equation there are numerous places that the operator, or operation, can inflict crush. Each time the board passes through a nip there is the potential to cause some degree of crush. Vacuum transfer has removed a lot of potential for crush in the converting presses, but in many cases we still have feed rolls to contend with. Print nips can cause crush, but it’s not as likely because most folks are trying to achieve a ‘kiss’ impression during printing.

The diecutting process is another area with the potential to introduce crush. If anvil blankets are not maintained and are uneven, if the die ifs not constructed or rubbered properly or if the operator is just running excessive diecutting impression, all lead to unfavorable board crush.

Excessive stacking heights throughout the process can also contribute to crush. Whether it’s coming off the corrugator, when being moved about the plant or prefeeders or other material handling equipment, if stacking specifications and instructions are not followed, crush can occur.

Then there are the incidental issues. Someone decides to use a stack as a work bench, lunch table or a chair. Or the board is stored in an environment that’s not conducive to protecting the integrity of the board.

The best way to overcome these crush causing issues…Training, training, training!

— Ralph

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