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Handling the perfect roll - Part II

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Handling the perfect roll - Part II

June 18, 2012 - 02:35
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Portland, OR, June 18, 2012 (RISI) -Hydraulic Force Control (HFC) is virtually eliminating damage to paper rolls during handling, part of Cascade's overall strategy to optimize handling and transport from the mills to the end-user.Read Part I here.

Cascade has developed a four-tiered product strategy for damage reduction: Electronic Force Control (EFC), Adaptive Force Control (AFC), Hydraulic Force Control (HFC) and the simpler 3-Position (electronic and manual) Control. Each are complementary products on a parallel path. EFC is Cascade's newest technology, using radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to precisely set the amount of clamp force. AFC is a highly sophisticated investmentgrade product that can be tuned very close to the paper type. HFC can set clamp force accurately but is a more cost effective solution. The difference between AFC and HFC is seen in the price; HFC can be as low as 20% of the cost of AFC after taking installation into consideration.

"We have customers that were previously purchasing the AFC and converting to HFC," says Vandehey. "We find that you can apply it to more applications."

Cascade's HFC system works by continually sensing the hydraulic pressure necessary to lift the load and adjusts clamping pressure as the load weight increases or decreases. Because the system operates without any special actions, the driver can use normal operating procedures to close the clamp arms on the load and hoist it off the ground. The hydraulics can be feathered to allow the driver to control clamp force on extremely small and light loads. Quick installation requires only tapping into the hoist, clamp and open lines, and a low maintenance system does not require an accumulator to charge the system.

Improvements in clamp technology have decreased damage to paper rolls over the past few decades

The primary market for HFC was initially newsprint. Newsprint machines are extremely sensitive to rolls that are out-of-roundness and entire shipments can be returned for damage to a single roll. Then, lightweight coated and printing papers began using HFC, and tissue started to catch traction. As the tissue industry continues moving to Through Air Dried (TAD) technology, producing high quality tissue paper with less fiber, Vandehey is confident HFC can offer the proper amount of clamp force before crushing the load.

There were some challenges to bringing HFC to the market. Many existing customers and potential prospects were critical of the benefits and hard to convince the product worked as easily as it seemed. The Cascade team took the time to convince the market that HFC did in fact weight the paper roll fast enough during the lifting process and was accurate enough in the end to be a viable solution. Vandehey tells the story of an early customer who took a gradual approach to using HFC.

"We were seeing adaptation into the fine papers and one particular customer inched their way into HFC," says Vandehey. "First they bought one to prove it worked. Then a couple more and then, when they bought new lift trucks, they specified HFC on every lift truck going forward. They had some interesting customers who were very finicky on how they received the rolls," continued Vandehey. "The only way they found that they were able to provide a solution for every roll shipping from the factory was with HFC."

Custom approach

Cascade Manufacturing was founded in Portland, OR, during World War II. In 1943, as a small machine shop employing four people, Cascade manufactured and assembled stainless steel valves, pipe fittings, and other components. Sales for the first year of operation totaled $60,000. After five years, the number of employees had increased to 40 and annual sales to $330,000. Design and production of the company's first hydraulic cylinder were underway and led to Cascade's pursuit of new business opportunities.

When Cascade moved into designing, manufacturing and selling hydraulic attachments, the paper industry was a fast growing sector and the company committed itself to supplying the necessary products for handling paper rolls from the mills to the end user. In 1956, construction began on a new facility to house all plant and office operations in Portland, the building that would become Cascade's worldwide headquarters. By the turn of the next decade, Cascade had expanded further, opening companies in The Netherlands, England and Australia.

Beyond a reasonable doubt, Cascade represents the largest supplier of attachments on a global basis. In China, fast becoming the largest lift truck market in the world, Cascade enjoys a significant market share. In 2012, it is estimated that China will use more paper roll clamps than the North American market.

Cascade has a clamp for every application in the forest products logistics industry. In addition to paper clamps, Cascade provides pulp handling and waste paper clamps, especially to a European market heavily focused on waste paper management.

Improvements in clamp technology have decreased damage to paper rolls over the past few decades

Two other new products recently joined the Cascade family: the 120G and 140G bale clamps. These clamps are designed to securely handle any type of baled product, including recycled pulp and paper. They are engineered with a revolutionary frame for durability and offer multiple, customized options to protect the frame and arms from premature wear or contamination when handling recycled materials. The new 140G replaces the earlier 140D models and the 120G models bridge the gap between the larger 140G and smaller models in the product line.

As for the future of HFC, Vandehey and Piar-Katter leave little up their sleeves. Based on Cascade's four-tiered approach, the next innovation for damage reduction will come from the EFC system. Using radio frequency iden-tification (RFID) tags, EFC will set the precise amount of clamp force based upon the information from the RFID on the paper roll. This information-based system is highly tunable to any application and could take even more of the guesswork out of determining the right clamp force for any load.

"The future has been maturing relatively slowly," says Vandehey. "We've been on it for about eight years. We have a highly integrated product that is ready for the industry when it is ready for us."

The lessons learned early in his career have not been forgotten. "We pride ourselves on being able to customize every one of our products to whatever the customers need to satisfy their operation," says Vandehey. It is an approach that reinforces the dedicated development process first adopted over 35 years ago, helping Cascade grow and succeed in a new century.

This article appeared in the Q2 issue of the IFPTA Journal, the professional journal of the International Forest Products Transport Association. The IFPTA Journal is published by RISI.