E&R specifies Vetaphone for its Innovation & Application Centre

E&R specifies Vetaphone for its Innovation & Application Centre

July 10, 2024 Off By Sebastian Reisig

E&R, formerly known as Emerson & Renwick, and one of the UK’s leading engineering companies in printing, coating, forming, and vacuum processing of webs, has installed Vetaphone corona treatment technology at its Innovation & Application Centre in Burnley, Lancashire.

Founded in nearby Accrington in 1918, and renowned for its expertise in the design of sophisticated laboratory scale and pilot production machinery, E&R has a proven track record for developing new equipment for emerging technologies and refinements to existing processes across a variety of market sectors.  Speaking for the company, Sales Director Andrew Jack said: “We have more than 50 world firsts in product and process innovation, and export over 85% of our annual production output.”

E&R began life in the textile industry that dominated Lancashire in the early 20th century, but it was a diversification into the print and converting sectors in the 1970s that really brought major growth.  The development of machines to produce wallcoverings, 60% of which are now exported to customers in the USA and Asia, and the introduction of in-register hot embossing, in which E&R remains the world leader, that saw the beginnings of the company as we see it today.

“We moved into the automotive market in 1991 with our heat exchanger technology, which coincided with our first ISO accreditation.  Ten years later, following an acquisition, we took on the design and manufacture of specialised coating and lamination equipment, and most recently, we further diversified into vacuum coating technology and created our highly specialised Genesis line of coaters,” he added.

Now much diversified and with a reputation for innovation and engineering excellence, E&R sought to add ancillary equipment manufacturers to its list of accredited suppliers.  As a pioneer of engineering technology, the company looked to find kindred spirits among other companies and a longstanding friendship between Andrew Jack and Kevin McKell, Chief Sales Officer at Vetaphone, encouraged E&R to investigate what the Danish manufacturer of surface treatment had to offer.

“I was aware of their long history in surface treatment but didn’t know they invented the corona process.  Vetaphone’s knowledge and expertise is second to none in this sector so the decision to form a cooperative partnership with them was straightforward,” said Mr Jack, adding that it is not just the cutting-edge technology that impressed him but the synergy he felt existed between the two workforces.  “We both understand the importance of investment in product development, from a reliability point of view and also the facility to react quickly to changes in market demand.”

Beginning in 2019 with the installation of a Vetaphone ‘A’ station Corona treater on its Pilot Coating Line, E&R subsequently added one of the more recently developed Vetaphone Web Cleaners to its in-house facility.  Speaking for Vetaphone, Kevin McKell stated: “We developed the Web Cleaner in response to demand from the narrow web sector where our corona treaters have the market share majority.  The design ensures that any dry unattached particle, as small as one-micron, is efficiently removed from the web, and provides a clean substrate surface for corona treating and further processes.”

Available for single- or double-sided operation in web widths from 350 – 570mm with an operational speed up to 250m/min, the Vetaphone Web Cleaner is simple to service and maintain with the added advantage that its control can be integrated with that of the Vetaphone Corona treater for improved ergonomics.  According to Andrew Jack: It seemed sensible to test the Web Cleaner initially on our Pilot Coater so we could monitor its reliability and performance.  It quickly proved to be successful, so we decided to use it on a production Coater that is producing touch panel displays, where it is running in combination with a Vetaphone Corona treater.  Both systems are working very well, and we are delighted with them.”

Still privately owned and independent, E&R’s main plant spans 6500sq/m and employs over 150 staff.  The engineering side is also responsible for design and 3D drafting including both hardware and software for the control systems.  Manufacturing includes mechanical and electrical assembly and installation, with an in-house machine shop and tool room for precision components, all compliant with ISO 9001:2015.  These are augmented by the support team with R&D and lab facilities onsite.

As Andrew Jack concluded: “We believe that versatility, reliability, and repeatability have helped us become very competitive in diverse market sectors.  Looking ahead, we need to maintain attention to detail in all we do, and that includes working closely with ancillary suppliers like Vetaphone to integrate technology and maximise efficiency.”