Accelerated packing with new TEW machine
Pesmel delivered a modern through-eye wrapping machine to Outokumpu’s mill in Tornio, Finland, in 2016. This was another successful project in the long, shared history of Outokumpu and Pesmel.
In a machine using through-eye wrapping (TEW) technology, the wrapping carriage travels through the center of the coil, which slowly rotates on its supports at the same time. The stretch film is kept tight, and no materials are wasted. The result is a precise and reliable package that will effectively protect the coil from dirt and moisture during transportation.
TEW technology is not new to Outokumpu’s Tornio mill, but it became necessary to modernize wrapping station 2 when the previous machine was approaching the end of its service life. Errors and downtime were becoming more frequent. The packing line required a technological update.
An important upgrade
The new machine has the same basic purpose and functionality as the old one, but the operability and availability took a major turn for the better.
“The operability of the previous machine had dropped to a level that was unacceptable for an automated system,” explains Kimmo Räävi, who is responsible for finishing and internal logistics operations at the Tornio mill. “The new machine may not seem that different, but its flexibility and advanced technology have considerably improved our daily work.”
“Instead of pneumatics, we now have electric motors,” says Mika Niva from the Tornio mill, listing the improvements brought about by the modernization. “The carriage keeps the stretch film tight throughout the process, which means steady pressure instead of repeated yanks. The modern film cassettes also make the operators’ life easier.”
“The electric motors made the system more precise, and the tighter film effectively keeps moisture away during transportation,” Räävi continues. “We have achieved the packaging improvements we wanted, but we also want to continue working with Pesmel to add crêpe paper under the stretch film to manage any internal moisture.”
A happy team
“Wrapping station 2 is part of the production and delivery chain,” says Räävi. “It was important that the machine replacement didn’t risk any customer deliveries. The work was carried out simultaneously with the annual maintenance of the RAP5 line in 2016. The schedule was challenging, but all the work was completed on time, and we started up the system together with the RAP5 production line.”
The actual installation work was preceded by test runs carried out at Pesmel’s production unit in Estonia. Outokumpu’s Mika Niva and Seppo Juopperi, who have often worked with Pesmel before, went to Estonia to observe the testing and to learn more about Pesmel’s products. The visit was very interesting and offered new perspectives, even for an experienced packing line specialist.
“The tests confirmed that the machine would work very well for us,” says Juopperi.
The machine now packs approximately 12 coils per hour, and the team is happy with its reliability.
“The old machine needed almost weekly maintenance to keep it running properly,” says Niva. “The new one barely needs any work at all – two or three times a year at most.”
Smooth cooperation is important when replacing machines in mills, which all have their own safety rules and practices. Pesmel and Outokumpu planned the project carefully together to make sure it followed Outokumpu’s way of working – even though the schedule was tight. Work permits, safety gear and access control all required attention in the early phases of the project. With speedy decision-making and the right attitude, the teams quickly resolved all the issues, the installation work was completed on time, and another successful chapter has been added to the shared history of Pesmel and Outokumpu.