waste removal


As converters seek efficiencies in production, our technical experts increasingly receive requests about automated methods to remove web waste and cut-outs from die cut shapes known as slugs. We'll share a bit about it here, including links to a special section on our website where you can learn more and also to a new Waste Removal Guide in pdf form you can download, that includes drawings showing how different systems work.First, what is a slug? Imagine your part is shaped like a donut. Our die will feature blades that cut both the outside and inside of the donut from your raw material. The hole in the donut is the waste or slug that needs removing. While donut holes are appetizing to many, when it comes to converters, most of the time no one wants the hole - it's just waste material.The trouble is, slugs are more than material waste. Slug removal can add labor costs, cause quality control issues on the web, and often slow down the speed of your line. Manual slug removal can be especially challenging. Hand labor is slow, expensive, and subject to human error. If a worker misses a slug, downstream operations may be delayed or you get "dinged" from your customer for a quality error. We've seen converters hire extra quality inspectors to check whether all slugs have been removed on finished parts. Talk about waste!Fortunately, there's a better way. Add slug removal options to your die. Save time and money on your converting line, increase quality and efficiency, and reduce cost per finished part.How Slug Removal WorksSlugs can be pushed away from the web, stripped from the web, or vacuumed off the web. The method that's right for you depends on your equipment, material and other attributes of your converting process. We offer the most comprehensive slug removal solutions in the industry.  For converters, in-line slug removal eliminates manual slug removal and the challenges associated with hand labor. Instead of removing slugs from die cut products, your employees can perform tasks that add greater value.  Importantly, you can also realize gains from faster operations.Automated Slug Removal Adds ValueReducing the amount of time spent handling die cut parts, for both manual slug removal and inspection, can provide significant gains in efficiency. For example, let's say automated slug removal reduces your part handling times by a 1/2-second per part. On 1 million parts, that's 138 hours saved! If your labor rate is $20 per hour, that equates to $2,760 savings. That more than pays for the additional cost of most automated slug removal options on a die you purchase from Midway.If you're an engineer, operations manager or purchasing agent/sourcing manager, give us a call and we'll explain more about automated Slug Removal and the value advantage it can provide on your converting projects.


At Midway Rotary Die Solutions, we manufacture premium tool steel rotary dies. They aren't always the cheapest, but in most cases, they are the least expensive. If you're challenged to reduce tooling costs, read on. Reducing tooling costs means thinking different. It means considering all-in costs, far beyond the up-front cost of the tool. All-in costs include -Initial tool cost# Parts produced before tool needs sharpening# Resharpenings before tool is used upCost to ship to/from your die vendor for each resharpeningSetup time (and lost production) for each occasion when tool is removed for resharpeningAdd the total number of parts produced for the life of a tool and divide by the total all-in costs of the tool to determine the cost per part of the tool. A real-world comparison of the cheapest tool and the Midway premium tool when looking at all-in costs is shown below. The Midway die delivers a 31% savings per part produced - amazing savings!    

case study - Optimizing yield of medical controlled material

CHALLENGE   Based on outstanding work with a long-time Health Care customer, a Medical Converter earned a new project, their first-ever transdermal product. They regularly perform complex medical converting of a variety of materials, including hypoallergenic medical tapes, films, non-woven fabrics, foams and other flexible materials used in the production of medical devices, equipment and skin contact application.Working with a controlled substance material for the first time, the converter’s engineering team designed a die layout with extremely close nesting to minimize waste, because waste disposal of a controlled substance was the highest cost of the entire job. After the die vendor manufactured the die to spec and they began running the job, the die didn’t work. They experienced two critical issues they couldn’t resolve:Ragged cuts, which couldn’t even be resolved at slower than required press speed, and;Excess part rejection, meaning extreme unplanned controlled substance waste.Taken together, this meant what had started as a highly profitable project quickly turned negative. The converter reached out to the product manufacturer 3M for help, who suggested they contact Midway because of familiarity with the material.MIDWAY SOLUTIONThe Midway Engineering team went to work on the challenge. Our familiarity with the material and the firm’s Caulder press helped us identify the issue and develop a solution. Evaluating the die layout and planned press speed, the Midway technical team recommended two primary modifications:Reconfiguring the die layout to eliminate parts being cut simultaneously across the entire width of the die; this allows increased press speeds while maintaining part quality. While parts are farther spaced, the calculated yield increased.Machine sharpening to produce unparalleled consistency and uniformity of blades, further enhancing part quality with tight-tolerance materials with the added benefit of equal wear across the die, enhancing die life.Because of the unconventional layout, Midway guaranteed the converter that if the die didn’t perform as expected, they could return the die for a refund.CUSTOMER RESULTSMidway sent a technical representative to be on-hand at the converter for the die’s initial run. The job ran flawlessly. The parts were on-spec. The press operator and production manager were amazed that by the end of the first shift, yield surpassed the converter’s original projections by 17%. Best of all, the costly waste was reduced by over 10%, saving money and also mitigating risk the waste material could be disposed of improperly by mistake.“With Midway Rotary Die as our die partner, we’re aggressively going after even more challenging medical work,” the firm’s head of New Product Development told Rich Seeley, president of Midway. Sharing more of the good news with Rich, he continued, “Our profitability on this job not only beat projections, but it’s our most profitable job by far.”DISCOVER WHAT DROVE THIS SUCCESS

case study - folding carton die life

CHALLENGE   A large folding carton manufacturer experienced blade breakage during production runs.  This was an ongoing problem and their current vendor offered no solution. The firm reached out to Midway for the first time. The Plant Manager remembered meeting a team from Midway at Pack Expo the prior year and was impressed with their familiarity and trouble-shooting knowledge of folding carton design. MIDWAY SOLUTIONThe team at Midway went to work, seeing only a picture of the die that broke. Evaluating the die layout, the technical team recommended modifying the design in two ways:Revising the standard reverse tuck with a radius to aid material separation and relieve a known pressure-point on folding carton dies.Revising from 4-across layout to 3-across, because the 4-across width created difficult scrap removal areas that slowed production speed. Midway indicated the press speed could be increased from 350 ft/minute to 500 ft/minute – more than making up for the loss in width because of the better-running radius tuck design.Based on the high-volume, long-running nature of the job, the Midway engineering team recommended the die be made with the firm’s Max-Life D2 Tool Steel with its exclusive deep-cryogenic treatment. Midway’s sales guys were mindful that the deep-cryo treatment would raise the price about 15% over a die without it, and this customer had no experience with Cryo dies or Midway. They quoted the job and described the rationale for the layout and material changes vs. the spec provided. Because this customer records all tool performance statistics, Midway offered the deep cryo treatment with the promise that if they did not experience exceptional performance gains, the cost of the cryo treatment would be refunded.CUSTOMER RESULTSThe customer purchased a replacement die from their original die supplier, because getting the line up and running quickly with a new die was mission critical. But, they also purchased the Midway die for a side-by-side comparison. Midway’s “guarantee” is what convinced them to give it a try. Midway guarantees* your satisfaction or they will repair, replace, or refund. Period. “We found the Midway die ran about twice as long as the die we had been using. We’re a Midway convert,” the firm’s Plant Manager said when he called to ask about the first Retool, which was processed and returned in about a week. The Plant Manager shared a few additional statistics:65% faster line speed than before, close to 600 ft/minute, with no hang-ups or downtime30% more finished product per shift15% lower tooling cost over a year (dies, retools, shipping)23% lower cost per thousand cartons DISCOVER WHAT DROVE THIS SUCCESS




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