Safer reel handling by design

An increase in safety awareness has resulted in a wealth if innovative reel handling solutions for rewind and wrapping operations, including those provided by RaSSHCo

The safe handling of reels and rolls in packaging, printing and converting plants is increasingly being placed at the top of the agenda for the managers of these companies.

Increased insurance premiums for handling associated injuries in UK and European plants and a globalisation of standards by multi-national companies across their worldwide sites means that even in emerging markets improved safety standards are being imposed – not just in the state-of-the-art plants of multi-national converters but also in the smaller, independent plants by their multi-national packaging customers.

Manageable reel sizes

This increase in safety awareness has had a particular effect in the requirement for reel handling solutions in the rewind and wrapping sections of the operations. It is here that reel sizes have often been processed down to a size that was deemed ‘manageable’ by one or two operators but now falls outside of guidelines for safe manual handling. It is also recognised that the physical shape of reels can make them difficult to handle safely.

The Reel and Shaft Handling Company (RaSHCo) based in Bury, UK has become recognised worldwide as an innovative provider of reel and shaft handling solutions and is currently building a completely new design of truck-mounted reel turner for a Polish converter and a truck-mounted shaft extractor to extract and re-core 150Kg airshafts up to 300mm diameter for a paper converter in Cheshire, UK.

Recent orders have included a powered core boom truck for loading reels onto cantilevered shafts for a UK label maker, a 1 tonne reel truck for Dow Chemicals in the US and a bespoke 1 tonne reel truck for 3M in Poland.

Slitter/rewinder unloading

One of the most innovative solutions developed recently for unloading slitter/rewinders has attracted the interest of a well known Italian slitter manufacturer, precisely because many of their customers are looking for a solution to unload a slitter rewind without the operators having to lift the reels.

“Our VV (double V) truck was developed to unload all the reels from a slitter/rewinder in one go, then rotate the reel stack to vertical where the reels can be lifted off and palletised vertically,” explains RaSHCo managing director Stephen Weston.

“This is achieved either by hand if small enough or using our simple lifting system which comprises a hand-held hoist fitted with a vertical reel lifter that can lift and palletise either individual reels or a whole stack, allowing them to be wrapped or bagged while in the air.”

Eliminating manual handling 

“We have this system working well in the UK and Europe on a variety of slitters including Titan and Deacro,” continues Weston. “We have now been asked by the Italian slitter manufacturer mentioned earlier to design the VV truck to unload directly from their slitter rewind bars to eliminate virtually all manual handling of the reels.

“While it is almost impossible to design a single unload truck that will suit all slitters, we are planning to make it fairly adaptable. However, the fact that we have so much interest in the concept does show that manufacturers are taking their customer’s health and safety requirements seriously.”

Reel and Shaft Handling Company

T: +44 (0)161 705 2211