Saturday, June 7, 2014

Proposed Sleeve Machine

The Sleeve Machine, shown in schematic form
The Sleeve Machine is a device to join a receiver sheet and a cover sheet together at the edges, perfectly flat, and with a controlled overlap of tape rails that space the rollers during processing.  This sets "the gap" which is the distance between the negative and the receiver sheet that the processing gel resides in during the 120 seconds of development.

Shown are the two "pancake rolls", referring to their narrow width-to-diameter ratio. A roll like that requires flanges (not shown) to keep the layers from telescoping and making a mess. Sort of like magnetic tape, but much bigger.  The construction of the receiver surface is even more complex than magnetic tape, so while that conundrum is being pursued, we are moving ahead with the design and construction of the Sleeve Machine.

The Sleeve Machine is designed to produce 200 to 400 sleeves per day, in accordance with our steady state manufacturing plan. We will need to sell that many to keep New55 FILM in production after the Kickstarter rewards are filled.

Since paper is flexible, rollers are used to pull the two sheets through the machine, where the edges are taped, followed by a cut-to-length operation, possibly with a rotary die.  This cutter will need to produce the curved fishmouth at the open end, and the corner clipped closed end, designed so that a user can pull the sheets apart after processing.

There is much to do with the Sleeve Machine and many other automated and semi automated tools in the plan, which is being aggressively  scheduled ahead of the supply of materials.

Without the materials we can't make the product, but having a machine at least lets us use surrogate materials to fine tune the assembly specs, train people, and design and add safety guards, along with the necessary electronic measurement and control systems.

I'd also like to print on the sleeve during this operation and save having to do it beforehand.

Getting the right sized rolls of the exact needed material is the hardest part: Much wider rolls have to be custom run, then slit and rerolled. The hub cannot be too small or the curvature of the material will be too great, and the outside diameter cannot be so big that an operator cannot lift it into position.