The 18-month construction and equipment installation project gives manufacturers of personal- and home-care products a shorter supply chain advantage, faster throughput in their manufacturing processes, greater speed to market, opportunities for product differentiation and a single point of supplier accountability.
Web Industries’ expanded capabilities include the processing of flexible materials for baby diapers, adult incontinence and feminine care products, as well as a myriad of materials used in flexible packaging, industrial textiles and medical applications.
According to Vice President of Corporate Development Kevin Young, the move was made in response to increased demand for multi-color flexible materials and growing preferences among manufacturers for spooled flexible fabrics.
“A research project commissioned by Web Industries and conducted by an independent marketing analytics company revealed emerging branding needs for multi-color graphics on certain personal and home care products and growing recognition of spooling advantages in manufacturing processes,” Young says. “Our investment puts us ahead of the curve among formatters of nonwoven and flexible materials. To our knowledge, no other converter has multi-color printing, up to 60-in. OD wide-web spooling capabilities and precision slitting in the same facility.
“In terms of our customers’ business efficiency, wide-web spooling enables them to process slit materials up to 25 times as long without interruption compared to pad rolls. This increases throughput, reduces material handling and splicing needs, and the potential for human error.
“Our new 8-color printing capability will be of particular interest to diaper producers co-marketing with entertainment brands to produce logos and graphics that delight toddlers, and to feminine hygiene and adult incontinence product manufacturers wanting to convey an extra dimension of quality to end users.”
Young adds that Web Industries’ open materials sourcing practices allow customers to work with a format solutions provider that is indifferent to the material supply chain.
“We can work with multiple streams of materials,” he says, “whereas vertically integrated businesses only provide their own nonwoven materials. We believe this is restrictive and our customers benefit from our strategy of being material agnostic. This is a benefit no other nonwoven materials formatter can offer.”
Web Industries’ investment covers a 50,000-sq-ft, purpose-built. climate-controlled manufacturing and warehousing expansion at its Ft. Wayne, IN, operation. The facility houses two 8-color flexographic presses to provide water- or solvent-based print. It also houses a propriety-designed wide-web spooler capable of transverse winding slit materials on spools up to 50 in. wide and 60 in. in OD, with slit widths up to 12 in. All three assets have superior web handling capabilities including tension control for specialized lightweight, extensible materials, as well as for converting heavy-gauge and multi-layered materials.
In addition to housing equipment for printing, slitting and spooling, the facility also warehouses large volumes of materials to support Web Industries’ high-speed operation and fast turnover of orders. “Maintaining warehoused materials is part of Web industries’ supply chain benefit,” Young explains. “Looking ahead, sufficient space exists to accommodate additional equipment as our business continues to grow.”