About Converting Expert

Bio

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Neal Michal is an expert in web handling, winding, converting, packaging, automation and machine guarding.      

* Subject matter expert focused on improved productivity, delivered quality and converting performance. 

* Retired from Kimberly-Clark after 31 years in five different locations. 

* Served as KC’s senior web handling expert for 21 years: winding, slitting, unwinds, packaging and converting. 

* Demonstrated ability to use good science and critical thinking to solve problems. 

* Led KC’s open innovation effort at the Web Handling Research Center that reduced cost more than $100M. 

* Authored plan and led effort to improve converting performance across the corporation. 

* Provided technical assistance to external material suppliers, converting customers and equipment providers. 

* Authored six proprietary books on web handling, winding, slitting, unwinds, roll handling, and wound roll mechanics. 

* Provided training to over 1,000 co-workers. 

* Led computer modeling efforts for winding, wrinkling, longitudinal dynamics and converting. 

* US Army veteran. Demonstrated leadership when faced with difficult situations. Known for high ethical standards.


Services

Converting Expert Services: 

* Review and assess your process 

* Identify root cause and contributing factors using good science and critical thinking 

* Review key findings and recommended next steps 

* Provide formal written observations and recommendations 

* Work with your team to optimize your process

* Train your team on web handling, winding, wound roll mechanics, unwinding and converting

 * Review web path and make recommended improvements

* Work with your team to design & develop an improved process

* Recommend equipment OEM's and write specifications 

* Provide recommendations on automation, packaging and slit roll handling

* Review supply chain from manufacturing to converting to end use customer

* Review machine guarding, identify hazards, provide training, present methods to improve safety environment 

* Expert witness based on two decades of research and direct application


Please contact us at: 

+1 (770) 356-7996

Neal@ConvertingExpert.com



Web Handling

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Common web handling challenges include: 

* Wrinkles, edge fold overs and how to keep the web flat through the process 

* Cross deckle basis weight variations that results in floppy edges, baggy lanes and camber

* Web weave, span interaction and how to guide the web 

* How to control tension via draw, torque or tension loop 

* Wrinkles, neckdown and web breaks during a zero-speed splice 

* How to control a process with an accumulator (festoon) 

* Loss of registration during a splice event or speed change 

* How to process lighter webs at higher speeds to reduce costs

* What is required to run more delicate laminates that are first to the marketplace 


The term "web" is used to describe thin materials which are manufactured and processed in a continuous, flexible strip form. Web materials cover a broad spectrum from films, paper, tissue, nonwovens, elastics and laminates. 

* Web handling involves the physical mechanics related to the running and control of continuous web through manufacturing processes and converting machines. A primary goal of web handling is to transport the material without incurring defects and losses. The challenge is to run processes faster with lighter materials to reduce cost or to process more delicate laminates that are desired in the marketplace. 

* Web handling is a science which involves many topics: web properties, longitudinal dynamics, wrinkles, rollers, spreading, lateral dynamics, guiding, sensors, span interactions, winding, slitting, unwinds, accumulators, laminating and converting. 

* The Web Handling Research Center (WHRC) at Oklahoma State University is the only center of its type in the world. Established in 1986 they are focused on expanding the knowledge base in web handling while transferring knowledge to their industrial sponsors. I was the leader of KC’s open innovation program with the center for 20 years. 


I was able to leverage this knowledge to eliminate persistent quality problems, improve existing process and develop new to the world processes that were first to market. 

Winding

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Winding is an integral process in nearly all web materials such as paper, film, tissue, nonwovens, aluminum and steel. Wound rolls are the most convenient, economical, and most prevalent form of storage and transport for web materials. 


From a business standpoint web materials are sold based on two broad categories: 

* Geometry – Diameter, Width, Core Diameter, Roll Length, Lay flat properties, ect

* Physical Properties – Modulus, Tensile strength, Caliper, Softness, Color, ect 

There are only two types of wound roll structures. Each type has a unique combination of stored stress and strain. The wound roll structure will directly impact your physical properties and geometry. 


Common wound roll defects: 

* Loss of caliper in high loft webs 

* Telescoping, cinching, gross internal slippage, torque capacity 

* Large flat spots due to storage & handling

* Floppy edges, baggy lanes, camber, lay-flat 

* Slit width growth 

* Roll blocking

* Strain registration shift 


Converting Expert understands the science of winding and wound roll structures. 

* Expert in determining which roll structure is in place

* Demonstrated ability to document actual stored stress and strain and how they impact your delivered quality to your customer 

* In depth understanding how tension, nip and torque impacts wound roll structure  

* Demonstrated ability to solve winding issues for nonwovens, elastics, film, tissue and laminates. 



Converting

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Over 30 years of experience troubleshooting and optimizing converting assets.   


Expert in Martin Automatic zero speed splice events that impact strain registration. Developed alternative control methods to improve performance.   In depth knowledge how thru roll material properties impact strain registration control and methods to correct.   


Co-developed a computer model that correctly predicts span tensions and roller velocity during a splice. 


Led efforts to design a new accumulator that provided improved capability on three different processes.  


Authored and presented four peer reviewed papers that describe all aspects of unwinds, zero speed splice events, accumulators, wrinkling and web permeability.

Good Science / Critical Thinking

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Developed in depth knowledge of all aspects of web handling by studying research and applying to manufacturing and converting.  


Expert in manufacturing and converting nonwovens, elastics, film, coform, tissue and laminates.   


Demonstrated ability to use good science and critical thinking to understand web processes at a fundamental level.  

Process Design

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Designed and optimized over three dozen web manufacturing and converting processes:

* SB - Fastest in the world 

* SMS - Fastest in the world 

* Film/SB - Designed new process that improved cost and quality 

* Adhesive Laminator - Developed improved design that reduced cost and improved quality

* MD Elastics - Designed several process improvements 

* Designed unique process that makes both MD & CD Elastics 

* Unwinds - Led corporate effort to improve existing capability.  Led effort to develop new design for delicate webs

* Spooler - Developed highly automated system that reduced headcount and improved productivity 

Safety

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Led two converting assets for two years with zero safety incidents. Led two rebuild projects with over 20,000 safe man hours. 


Directed four critical safety improvements for the nonwovens sector:

* Machine guarding - developed corporate standard to assess and correct guarding for existing equipment. 

* Lift trucks - developed several methods that eliminated interaction with operators. 

* Thread up - worked with operators to develop safe methods to thread up that reduced downtime while eliminating risk. 

* Hoists - worked with two equipment vendors to design improved designs with built in fail safes.  

Supply Chain

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Proven ability to define process requirements and OEM equipment recommendations to launch global product improvements that are on time and at cost. 


Developed a network of 100+ key contacts in winding, slitting, unwinds, roll handling, packaging, sensors, machine shops and technical service providers. 


Demonstrated ability to assess equipment capability and improve capability for cost, quality and productivity. 



Open Innovation

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Led open innovation efforts at the Web Handing Research Center at Oklahoma State University for more than two decades.  


Led a team of corporate wide engineers to leverage research that reduced delivered cost by $100M.  


Led six proprietary research projects for winding, wound roll mechanics and longitudinal dynamics.  


Expert in computer modeling of winding and the impact on delivered quality.  

Slitting

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Expert in all aspects of slitting: shear, score, intermittent, manual, fully automatic, trim pickup and handling.  


Led efforts to implement and optimize the ability to provide finished slits directly off of a nonwovens base machines that reduced delivered cost by > 25%.  


Developed partnerships with slitting equipment vendors.  



Automation

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Led effort with production mills to define sector standard for automated slit roll handling and packaging.  


Led the development of the most automated slitter/spooler in the world.  


Member of corporate team to develop automation for converting asset unwinds.  

Packaging

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Authored corporate plan to reduce waste due to packaging failures.   Developed five performance standards for packaging.  Designed unique package impact tester. Identified key vendor to provide additional automation.  Partnered with packaging supplier to define exact requirements for film and stretchwrapper settings.  


Co-led commercialization that reduced delivered cost > $500k annual.  Customer complaints were virtually eliminated.   

Publications & Patents

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Publications

 

1. “Practical Considerations for Zero Speed Splice Unwinds”, Neal Michal; AIMCAL Applied Web Handling Conference, 2008

2. “Web Tension in an Accumulator and Industry Needs for the Future”, Neal Michal; International Web Handling Conference, Web Handling Research Center, 2009

3. “Analysis of Web Wrinkling in an Accumulator”, Neal Michal, Balaji Kovil-Kandadai, Amol Patel; International Web Handling Conference, Web Handling Research Center, 2011

4. “Impact of Web Permeability on High Speed Web Transport”, Paul Beuther & Neal Michal, International Web Handling Conference, Web Handling Research Center, 2015

5. “Practical Methods to Improve Wound Roll Quality”, Neal Michal; AIMCAL Applied Web Handling Conference, 2015, 2016

6. “Troubleshooting Industrial Problems using Critical Thinking and Good Science”, Neal Michal; AIMCAL R2R Conference, Oct 2018

Patents

1. “Automatically Adjusting Parameters of a Lifting Device by Identifying Objects to be Lifted”, USPO # 7121457; Neal Jay Michal III; Oct 17, 2016

2. “Winding Method for Uniform Properties’, USPO # 8032246; Neal Jay Micha III, Balaji Kovil-Kandadai, Robert James Coxe; Oct 4, 2011 

"Troubleshooting Industrial Problems using Critical Thinking and Good Science" - PowerPoint Presentation 

"Practical Methods to Improve Wound Roll Quality " - PowerPoint presentation

"Practical Methods to Improve Wound Roll Quality" - White Paper 

"Impact of Web Permeability on High Speed Web Transport" - PowerPoint Presentation 

"Analysis of Web Wrinkling in an Accumulator" - PowerPoint presentation 

Analysis of Web Wrinkling in an Accumulator - White Paper

Practical Considerations for Zero Speed Splice Unwinds - PowerPoint Presentation 

Practical Considerations for Zero Speed Splice Unwinds - White Paper 

Contact Us

Questions & Estimates

Please reach out at your convenience so we  can discuss your project.  



Neal@ConvertingExpert.com 

Converting Expert, LLC

Cumming, Georgia, United States

(770) 356-7996