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5 reasons smaller presses benefit from non-stop winding

More and more often we see printing companies equip their web inkjet printing press lines with a non-stop winding solution from Contiweb. And it’s not only on the fastest, widest workhorse presses, but also narrower presses of 20-22 inches wide, across all segments of the digital printing industry. More than half of the non-stop winders sold by Contiweb last year went to relatively small web inkjet presses. So why are we seeing this trend?

Rob Bosman, Sales Director at Contiweb, dives deeper and gives five reasons confirmed by his customers.

#1 Maximising productivity

The most cited and obvious reason for non-stop winding is the desire for higher productivity of a web inkjet printing press. Of course, most 20–22-inch presses are not as fast as their wider counterparts, so a roll of paper doesn’t run out as quickly, but still, changing a roll of paper takes significant time from the uptime of a press. Moreover, many printers must change paper types or widths frequently, resulting in additional stops. As digital printing matures, there is an increasing demand for higher productivity; a trend we also saw decades ago in the heatset web offset industry.

With the Contiweb CDN non-stop unwinder, you can change paper or splice rolls together automatically, saving 15 valuable minutes each time. Suppose you are producing 16 hours a day, five days a week, and you have to stop every two hours to change paper? This means that your valuable printing press is sitting idle for 600 minutes a week, ten hours!

#2 Less staff needed

Like many other sectors, the printing industry is facing a shortage of skilled workers that is only expected to increase in the future. Baby boomers are retiring, and this means that a larger than normal percentage of the workforce is leaving the labour market permanently. The number of births in North America and Europe is too low to compensate for the exit of the workforce. At the same time, the printing industry is not popular among young people entering the labour market. This shortage not only hinders the hunt for skilled workers, but also for new entrants and obstructs the overall growth of graphic companies.

Due to this shortage of skilled labour, printing companies are more likely to invest in equipment such as the Contiweb non-stop unwinder. Easy-to-use, it helps to reduce the labour factor in the production process. By taking tasks away from operators, they are often able to handle multiple production lines at the same time and ultimately less staff are needed. Moreover, automatic splicing eliminates human error – more on that in reason #three.

#3 Improved performance

As much as we would like it to be otherwise, where machines take over the work of people, performance often improves. It's no different when splicing two rolls of paper. Even with experienced and trained operators, it sometimes happens that the paper web breaks while it is in the press line, due to a bad splice. When this happens, it is an enormously tedious and time-consuming task to feed the web back through the entire line. Data from hundreds of machines and decades of production data shows that the splice performance of Contiweb non-stop unwinders is 99.9% and web breakages related to automatic splicing are almost non-existent.

#4 Reduced waste

If you manually splice two paper rolls together, at some point, you have to stop printing. The unprinted paper between the printing press and the manual unwinder is generally left unprinted. The Contiweb non-stop unwinder works differently. Knowing exactly where the splice was made, the unwinder gives a signal to the printing press so that it can retract the print heads in time. The paper between the printing press and the splice is simply printed. As a result, printing companies throw away considerably less unused paper. This is very useful in times of scarcity and rising paper prices!

#5 Short payback period

In our considerable experience, many customers recoup their investment in non-stop winding equipment within two years. But of course, every situation is different. Which is exactly why we developed a handy online tool, to give a quick and simple indication of the payback period in your specific situation. Important aspects in the calculation are the brand and model of the printing press and the number of splices per week. In addition, you will need to indicate whether the requirement concerns an existing printing press line or a completely new investment. Finally, it is important whether a rewinder is to be included in the production line.