Case Study: Carolina Paper Co.

Overview

The Carolina Paper Company (CPC), a 13-year old firm based in North Carolina, re-shapes large parent paper rolls into usable paper products including paper towels, napkins and toilet paper. CPC has a strong commitment to green business policies, designing everything from pallet configuration to product packaging to minimize waste, and working with paper vendors to reduce toxins. As a full line supplier of paper products, CPC emphasizes producing high quality paper products using sustainable methods.

The Challenge

As Carolina Paper Company’s Maintenance Manager, Ronald Laun is responsible for factory upkeep, preventative maintenance and ensuring optimal performance of all machines. The process of turning 55”diameter parent rolls into a small enough size to be used as paper towels and toilet paper involves rewinding as well as cutting the paper. Given the difference in size between the parent rolls and the finished product, the cutting process is extensive and can generate levels of heat which hinder equipment performance. Laun explains “In cutting our paper logs, we use a 40-inch diameter circular blade to saw through logs from 4” to 12” diameter at up to 50 cuts per minute. The sawing process creates a lot of friction and heat. Once you reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the blade begins to wobble and at that point it’s unsafe to continue cutting anymore. Our production was slowed down because we could only make a certain number of cuts to the log before having to take a break to permit the blade to cool.” By incorporating Vortec Cold Air Guns into their production, CPC was able to improve production by making, on average, 42% more cuts.“Another positive was that by keeping the blade cooler we didn’t scorch the ends of the final product. So in the end we increased production and quality.”

The Solution

Laun’s previous experience working in the textile field led him to see a possibility for enhancing this cutting process through the use of air products. He notes that “I knew if we could keep the blade cool, we could continue cutting for a longer period of time and that would improve production times. I went looking online for an air products company. I compared a few vendors, and Vortec stood out as innovators in their field—they pioneered the idea of vortex technology, so it made sense to go with them.”

Upon contacting Vortec, Laun was pleased that their engineers immediately grasped Carolina Paper Company’s need and were able to work with him to customize a solution. The Vortec 630 Cold Air Gun was retrofitted into the design of the log saw used to cut the large logs of paper. The cold, clean air supplied by the Vortec 630 Cold Air Gun guarantees that the temperature of the cutting blade remains cool enough to continue cutting for longer periods of time. Additionally, the dual nozzle enabled cooling of both sides of the blade, further improving the effectiveness of the Cold Air Gun in cooling the hot blade.

Conclusion

“Vortec’s technology is excellent and their people are very easy to work with” says Laun. “We are very pleased with our association with them.” After using Vortec’s Cold Air Gun for 3 months, Laun notes he has already extolled the virtues of Vortec’s products to other companies: “One of our other equipment manufacturers was at the factory and I showed him the retrofitting along with the data about how much our production had improved. He was very impressed.”

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