When one of the largest manufacturers of self-wound over laminate film in the US goes looking for technology, only the best will do. This was the task that Dennis Liebman set himself when he installed the latest of his company’s five coating lines at the company’s headquarters in Oak Harbor, OH. The modern facility, set on a vast plot, houses 50 slitters in addition to the five coaters and employs 250 staff, which Liebman describes as his greatest asset.
“We produce all food grade material so there can be no second chance to get things right. We must guarantee high air and moisture barriers, and test every roll to ensure that is complies. To maintain that standard requires the best technology, and in my view Vetaphone manufactures the best corona treaters on the market,” he stated, citing one particularly difficult application of packaging where the food has a very high fat content. “We have to be able to guarantee there are no pinholes that would allow migration – and with Vetaphone we can do that,” he added.
Although most of the rolls that acpo processes are pre-treated, the company cannot afford to take the risk that the web is dirty or the dyne level insufficient. One feature that Liebman particularly appreciated is the ability of the Vetaphone equipment to accommodate the thickness of the web splice without lowering the running speed or causing any inconsistency to the dyne level applied by the corona treater. “Vetaphone’s competitors tend to list as extras what they include as standard equipment. I don’t like this approach to engineering and manufacturing – it doesn’t give you a feeling of trust – the contact I’ve had with Vetaphone before during and after installation gives me confidence that the technology will do what it’s supposed to, and keep on doing it,” he added.
With a view to dedicating the Oak Harbor plant to flexible packaging, and moving the pressure sensitive work to other facilities, Liebman has ambitious plans for growth. Most of his coating equipment is custom designed and manufactured in Europe, so while there were alternative and local US manufacturers of corona systems, his mindset was to continue his pursuit of excellence. “It was clear to me early on how much knowledge Vetaphone had of surface treatment – but then they did invent it, so perhaps that’s not surprising. They are a real engineering company to deal with, and our technicians have an excellent rapport with theirs.” Asked about any concerns on the service support and spare parts side in buying from Europe, he was both complimentary and dismissive: “They respond quickly with US based engineers and hold a parts store too – but we seldom need parts because the equipment is so reliable, so it’s not an issue.”
One of the keys to success for the company that Dennis Liebman started in 1986 and is still very hands-on with today is the ongoing drive for innovation. Not only does he believe it keeps his company ahead of its competitors, it also keeps the staff happy and motivated. “Life has to be interesting and challenging to get the best out of people, and I’m proud and honored to work with the team I have here. In today’s market you have to keep innovating – it’s the only way to survive and grow,” he concluded.