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Walnut Packaging Inc. Invests in an Often-Ignored Way to Improve Packaging Productivity: A New SOMA Pluto Slitter

Press release from the issuing company

Lanskroun, Czech Republic—SOMA, producer of flexographic printing presses, plate mounters, slitter rewinders and laminators, is pleased to announce that Farmingdale, NY-based Walnut Packaging Inc. has been successfully operating its new SOMA Pluto III.2 slitter/rewinder.

Walnut Packaging Inc. provides customers the highest quality plastic bags at a competitive price. Their product range covers an extremely wide range of bags, from die cut shopping bags to produce, header and ice bags. They serve companies delivering a variety of products, from confectionery and snacks to poultry and meats, and household and personal care products.

“My father founded Walnut Packaging Inc. in 1962 as a converter with one bag machine. Over several years we grew and purchased more equipment,” remembers Jose Alvarado Jr., Vice President. “We invested in our own press and started mounting plates and printing, moving from our original facilities in the Bronx, to East Farmingdale. We expanded, reaching out to work with bigger and better customers. Keeping up with the times, we invested in new converting machines, a SOMA Premia printing press, slitter, and optic mounter.”

This remarkable background gave Walnut Packaging Inc. an advantage working with an extensive array of designs. They have experience with many different substrates, including polyethylene, polypropylene, polyester, shrink films, metalized films, and various co-extrusions. “Our customers all want the same thing: deliveries on time, exceptional quality, and the best prices. We give customers what they ask for—and if we can do better, we will. We help design projects from the beginning to the end product. In fact, we patented a poly bag a few years ago to preserve the life of potatoes. It has helped the industry.”

Recently, Walnut Packaging Inc. wanted to invest in a faster, high quality slitter with updated technology that was quick to make changeovers in different sizes. “We also decided that we did not want an inline slitter. We had decided that if you have a problem with any of your inline equipment, you have to stop everything. With an offline system, everything else can still run while you resolve the issues,” says Alvarado. They invested in a SOMA Pluto slitter.

A sometimes overlooked area where printers/converters can be more efficient is slitting. The Pluto III.2 slitter/rewinder with automatic knife/ blade positioning and automatic laser core guiding ensures quick and precise knife settings and core settings for new jobs. A variable knife shaft permits tangential slitting with lower and upper rotary knives or with razor blades against a grooved segment. The Tenzomat II tension control system provides precise unwind and rewind tension control—slitting very thin and difficult substrates. Several touch screen panels help operate the machine. It offers mid and wide web printers and converters a cost-effective solution for slitting a wide range of substrates.

“We are using our new Pluto slitter on more different materials, because the tension is easier to control. The cutting capacity is also greater. If we run 40” or 50” wide on our press for a 10” piece of art, the job can be done in a quarter of the time. It goes through the slitter and ends up with 10-inch rolls,” explains Alvarado.

Most slitters don’t allow people to quickly set up jobs. “One thing our slitter does differently is that the unloading mechanism delivers the finished slit rolls to a stand that rotates horizontally or vertically. So, we can take rolls off the machine and put them aside, making it much easier to move on to the next roll,” comments Alvarado. ”My guess is that our new slitter is 35% faster than what we were using.”

Even with the speed, the slitter delivers exceptional quality. “We’re getting a much cleaner cut,” says Alvarado. “There is a job we do with micro perforations. With the new slitter, we can cut it with much smoother micro perfs. It even provides a cleaner end roll cut.”

Operators find the new slitter much more user-friendly. “With some slitters you have to use a cart to load rolls, and there is the potential for one to drop, causing an accident,” comments Alvarado. “Our slitter has a device that picks up the roll itself. Operators don’t have to stress out with big, heavy rolls.”

“Walnut Packaging Inc. is a great example of a converter who has always believed in maintaining technology that keeps up with customer demands,” remarks Garrett Taylor, SOMA Sales Director, North America. “We are proud that their business has thrived by using SOMA equipment and are happy to have had them as a long-term customer here in the US. We also commend them for their foresight to realize that even slitters can measurably increase productivity.”

“Our new slitter was worth the investment. It’s well built, and I like the way it runs. As the Vice President, the most important aspect for the company is that the slitter helps our customers save money,” concludes Alvarado.


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