It’s often said that every journey begins with a single step. Similarly, creating an innovative product usually starts with cutting a single material. Whether it’s tape, foam, film, or other media, many raw materials come in large rolls. And odds are, the dimensions don’t match the measurements you need for your component. That’s where the process of lathe slitting comes in.
What is lathe slitting?
Lathe slitting is a converting process that goes by several other names, including log slitting, baloney slitting, and javelin slitting, among others. Regardless of what you call it, lathe slitting cuts master rolls of material into desired widths.
Here’s how it works:
The roll is placed on the lathe slitting machine. As the roll spins, a stationary blade moves into position and cuts the material – all the way through the core – into specific widths. You can picture this process like cutting slices of deli meat (hence the nickname “baloney slitting”) or a loaf of bread. The cut material then goes to the next converting process or is assembled to make the product. Since lathe slitting is a fast, high-production process, it’s a popular option for various materials such as tapes, foams, films, paper, and more.
Lathe slitting vs. rewind slitting
Before discussing the benefits of lathe slitting, let’s talk about another common process – rewind slitting.
With rewind slitting, the material is unwound off the roll and pulled through the machine. Material is cut to the desired width or length, then rewound back into narrower rolls. This process generally takes longer than lathe slitting but offers unique versatility in terms of multiple cuts, material types, and tolerances.
Benefits of lathe slitting
Lathe slitting and rewind slitting are both viable options for converting rolled material into desired widths. However, head-to-head lathe slitting offers several notable advantages:
Speed of operation – Lathe slitting makes single cuts very quickly and eliminates the need to unroll and reroll materials. This makes the process an excellent choice for large-volume production runs.
Precision – With lathe slitting, the precise nature of the cuts leads to less waste and more uniform products.
Material flexibility – Lathe slitting is appropriate for a broad spectrum of materials, from thin films to thick foams.
Cut various widths– Lathe slitting machines can be programmed to cut a sequence of varying widths from a single roll. This automatic capability reduces changeover time and minimizes material waste.
Efficiency – Lathe splitting is a simple, time-efficient process. It’s quick and easy to set up and change out material rolls. Also, there’s no need to unroll and rewind the material, saving labor costs and time.
Quality control – The one-step process minimizes material handling, reducing the risk of damage. For adhesive material, a wet blade can be used to improve quality.
Now that we’ve explored the benefits, let’s dive into some applications. The advantages of lathe splitting – namely, speed, precision, flexibility, and efficiency – make it an attractive option for markets such as medical and industrial applications, where precision is paramount.
Adhesive and foam tapes – These popular materials have a wide range of applications, including medical tapes and diagnostic strips, gaskets and seals, automotive components, electronics, aerospace components, construction materials, packaging, and more.
Specialty tapes – Lathe slitting is compatible with specialized or innovative materials such as cohesive tape and 3M™ VHB™.
Films – Protective films are used in electronics, aerospace and aviation, automotive, glass and windows, construction, and more.
Textiles – Lathe splitting can be used to cut textile material for fashion and apparel, home goods, medical products, industrial applications, and other products.
Hot stamp foil – Decorative foil can be stamped into packaging, stationery, publishing, personal care, consumer electronics, and more.
Why partner with Tapecon?
As an experienced custom materials converter, lathe slitting is one of many processes we offer customers. With our state-of-the-art equipment, we work with a wide range of materials and produce high-quality components.
We’re also proud to be a 3M Preferred Converter, which provides you expanded access to 3M’s material, along with Tapecon’s in-house expertise in materials selection, materials and engineering consulting, prototyping, and other value-added services.
Let’s make something great
With over 100 years of manufacturing experience, Tapecon works with product teams to solve challenges, create products, and enhance lives. Learn more about our custom materials converting services.