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ADVANCING ADHESIVES: Automation Solution

Label stock manufacturer MACtac UK enjoys multiple benefits after installing a new X9 slitter-rewinder.

Universal Converting Equipment recently announced it has installed a highly automated duplex center-wind slitter for MACtac® UK Ltd., a Bemis group company, for use at MACtac’s Northampton facility. It is the first piece of Universal equipment that MACtac has purchased.

“When the decision to invest in a new slitter-rewinder was taken, our principle considerations were short run productivity and the capability to process label stock and some open adhesive substrates,” says MACtac UK’s Rachel Barton. “The Universal X9, with its auto-knife setting, laser core alignment, auto-roll offloading and automatic tension control (along with Universal’s experience in handling label stock), made it a clear contender in our procurement process. The more aspects of the converting process that we can automate, the better service and quality we can offer our customers.”

“MACtac operates a just-in-time delivery system,” says Alan Jones, managing director of Universal. “This requires a rapid response and frequent job changes. The Universal X9 slitting machine incorporates automatic shear knife setup and automatic core alignment. As one order is being processed, the settings for the next order can be entered into the control system. At the end of the run, the system is told to reset and, within two minutes, all the new knife positions are set and the correct position for the rewind cores are shown. By the time a new parent roll is loaded into the machine, all the other changes have been completed.”

In addition, he says the machine has a shaft-less unwind with floor pickup, which minimizes the time taken to load the parent roll. The plasma-coated rollers prevent adhesive pickup, and the knife system is fitted with an automatic knife cleaning system. Both of these features are requirements when running adhesive-coated materials such as label stock.

“Rolls of label stock tend to be large diameter, so handling is an issue,” Jones says. “The Universal X9 has a pusher to push the rolls off the rewind shafts onto a robotic handling unit, which lowers the rolls onto a pallet.”

Universal Converting Equipment has experience working with open adhesives thanks to its relationship with sister company Universal Adhesives Systems Ltd., the UK distributor of ITW Dynatec hot-melt and cold-glue application systems.

“Working with our sister company Universal Adhesive Systems has given us considerable experience in handling label stock and substrates with open adhesives,” says Dave Ward, Universal’s technical director. “We applied our experience to ensure issues surrounding knife cleaning, web-path geometry and roller covering performance were minimized. Also, the X9 features standard closed-loop rewind tension (load cells) control, which gives superior results compared to equipment with open-loop control.”

The transport that delivered the new Universal X9 also removed the redundant slitter. The new slitter was then immediately started up with no problems and without producing a single scrap roll.

About Universal Converting Equipment

Universal Converting Equipment is a manufacturer of slitting machines, slitter rewinders, and hot-melt coating and laminating equipment. In addition to process-based machinery, Universal manufactures equipment such as automatic core cutters, drive and control systems, web guiding systems, and differential winding shafts. The company is based in the UK, with installed machines present throughout the world.

Universal Converting Equipment is a trading division of Universal Control Equipment Ltd., which is part of the Converting Technology Group Ltd. For more information, visit

About MACtac

MACtac is a global leader in the manufacture and supply of pressure-sensitive adhesives. With manufacturing and distribution facilities in 14 countries and a strong presence and base in North America, MACtac caters to a range of industries, including labeling, graphic design, packaging, digital imaging, assembly engineering, solar, automotive assembly, medical device assembly and more.

MACtac has been providing pressure-sensitive solutions to a variety of industries since 1959. For more information, visit


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