High Performance Splicing, Rewinding and Tension Control Systems

Martin Automatic Inc, headquartered in Rockford, Illinois, USA, is a leading designer and manufacturer of web handling equipment for the printing, packaging and converting industries. Martin’s line of innovative products includes automatic splicers, non-stop rewinders, and tension control and web guiding systems.

Founded in 1968, the company has grown to a 190,000 square foot manufacturing and office complex occupied by nearly 200 employees. An engineering intensive company, Martin Automatic has earned a reputation among the industries it serves as a developer of original products distinguished by their simplicity and reliability.

A condensed product history is as follows:


The Martin Automatic Web Guide introduces accurate web alignment with a number of patented features.


The Martin Web Tension Control is introduced using Martin's patented Inertia-Compensated Dancer. The introduction of Inertia-Compensated Constant Tension devices to the printing and allied industries represents a major technical contribution by Martin. Inertia-Compensated Dancer systems absorb tension upsets and, to this day, remain the simplest and most accurate means of delivering constant tension.


Martin's Press-Driven Infeed with patented Inertia-Compensated dancer introduces a new standard of tension accuracy to the printing industry. Its simple design employs a unique two-speed clutch drive system.


Martin's first Zero-Speed Splicer is introduced to the commercial printing market. ther models follow, each offering advances in the efficiency of automatic roll changing with new features and greater simplicity.


The Martin Constant Tension Unwind Stand is introduced for short-run printers.


Martin Air Turn Bars are offered as an alternative to press grater rollers.


Martin diversifies into other industries which need improvements in web handling. Equipment is developed for such processes as composite can winding; transformer manufacturing; power factory capacitor unwinding; paper, film and foil converting; die-cutting; and gravure and flexographic printing.


Martin combines ten years of zero-speed splicer experience into its new model EC Splicer. By 1991 the installed base of this highly successful design exceeded 1100 units around the world. The EC splicer, with unrivaled operational simplicity and functional reliability, is used in a wide range of applications in the printing, packaging, laminating, sheeting, non-woven, envelope, and tag and label markets.

Martin produces its first line of splicers for the nonwoven/disposables industry. These splicers provide constant, precise tension control even during the splice sequence. This equipment marks the first of its kind in the industry, filling a much needed and cost effective role in the process.


Martin introduces its zero-speed splicing and tension control expertise to the gravure and flexographic packaging printing industries. Martin's "plant audit" methods result in increased productivity and reduced waste from older press lines. These improvements are obtained at a fraction of the cost of new press equipment.


The Martin model MB Butt Splicer and Matrix Removal System introduce automatic roll changing and non-stop running to the pressure-sensitive label and tag markets.

Offering the simplicity of the EC with more operator convenience features, the new EC PLUS is a heavy-duty, high-speed automatic lap splicer. This model becomes the platform for many future Martin splicers.


The Martin Model CECB Butt Splicer debuts, offering butt splicing for printers and converters running narrow web, light board, tag and label stock. Later designs accommodate roll diameters to 72 inches and web widths to 26 inches, capacities unmatched by the competition.


Martin develops the model MTB Butt Splicer for the wide-web, heavy paperboard markets. Liquid packaging and folding carton manufacturers find the MTB well suited for their processes. Later advances including fully automatic in-register splicing, electronic autosplice at an adjustable diameter, and a tailgrabber feature offer incomparable quality in splicing and waste management. The MTB is offered with a Martin turret unwind as a package deal or separately for integration with existing turret unwinds.

The model RORB Butt Splicer follows closely on the heels of the MTB. Carrying rolls in a roll-over-roll position, the RORB offers butt splicing -- at a fraction of the cost of the MTB and Turret Unwind System -- for manufacturers running wide-web, light board stock. This model is later renamed the MRB Butt Splicer and is used in the coating and laminating industry for paper and film materials.

Furthering its reputation as a full-range supplier of automatic roll changing equipment, Martin introduces the MBLT line of low-tension splicers. Applications include the manufacture and printing of napkins and disposable diaper products.

Recognizing the need in the flexible packaging industry for a splicer capable of unwinding and splicing wide webs at very low and accurate tension, Martin introduces the Model ECFI Splicer. Handling both film and paper, the versatile, low-profile design of the ECFI allows installation under most wide-web flexo press dryer arches.


The Martin Model CPL (Constant Path Length) Decurler debuts, enabling fine control of board curl immediately prior to die-cutting and delivery without disturbing critical process register.

Martin introduces its zero-speed Turret Rewind for wide-web board applications. With automatic unwind and rewind splicers, infeeds, outfeeds, draw rollers, web guides, decurlers and drives, Martin is able to offer complete front and back end web-handling solutions.


To further support the nonwoven/disposables industry, a line of CHW (Cantilevered Hot Wire) Splicers is introduced at IDEA '90. This creative design not only accommodates larger roll capacities than the MBLT, but also greatly enhances operator convenience while maintaining the low tension level and accuracy previously developed in the MBLT Splicer.


Fully automatic, in-register splicing is added to Martin's family of MB automatic butt splicers, giving narrow web converters the ability to unwind and splice preprinted webs. Applications include lottery printing, packaging and laminating.


Martin's most popular line of automatic splicers, the EC and EC-Plus series, receive both fully automatic and manual in-register splicing capabilities, making these splicers even more attractive to users of preprinted webs and specialty products. Applications include direct mail and wallcoverings.

The model SSBS Butt Splicer is developed to provide a cost effective alternative to turret unwind systems where coated materials require splice tape always to be applied to the same side of the web.

The RMAP automatic splicing rewind is introduced for use with films, papers and board stock. No operator intervention is required after the taped core is introduced into the machine. The operator simply inserts an empty core at one end and removes a rewound roll from the other.


The MCB is introduced as a cost-effective butt splicer for mid-web (26 to 40 inch) board processes. This unit combines Martin's patented butt splice unit with our unique integral roll loading system (lift-and-load) specially designed for large diameter, heavy rolls.

The SHPFI Splicer is developed for flexible packaging and laminating processes. Its shaftless design and proprietary platen splice unit make it ideal for running wide rolls of film, tissue, nonwovens and even unsupported foils.

Martin provides a "heat-sealed" splice for films and some fusible nonwovens. The NHS heat seal provides for reduced waste with short or no tail at the splice.


Martin expands its efforts to meet web handling needs in the nonwovens industry by developing the MASH, shaftless, side-by-side roll position, lap splicer. The MASH is capable of handling web widths to 150 inches and roll diameters of 60 inches. The hot-wire cutoff provides a short splice tail desired by nonwoven converters. Dual roll handling carts offer shaftless roll handling and side-by-side introduction of rolls into the splice unit meaning no over-head roll handling as in many roll-over-roll models. This is an important safety feature for converters utilizing large rolls of material. The MASH delivers extensible films and delicate nonwovens to the process under controlled tensions.


Martin introduces a patented heat-seal splicer at IDEA 95, incorporating Martin's patented MC 2000 Control System. The MC 2000 eliminates the need for conventional drives and PLC systems, and it requires no connection or interface to the process line for true "plug and play" functionality.


Martin introduces the MASB. Similar to the MASH in function, frame design changes allow for roll pick-up from below, increasing safety with large roll handling. The MASB incorporates a butt splice instead of a lap splice, while still maintaining tension capabilities established with the MASH design.

The Martin Model LR Label Rewind is introduced at Labelexpo. The LR's unique design features two recirculating spindles for automatic roll transfer. The LR is designed for paper, film and light board narrow-web applications.


Martin introduces the NCHWE, which incorporates In-Register splicing technology provided previously as a retrofit system to existing machines. This technology allows full speed in-register splicing on driven spindle machines with no significant increase in storage.

Martin further enhances the MASB Splicer to provide multiple-media splice units in one machine. The new MAS system can provide for tape lap splice, heat seal lap splice, tape butt splice, with Martin's unique rolling shear system, and heat seal butt splice, previously only available in narrow web widths. Later versions accommodate roll diameters up to 88 inches.

Martin introduces a Traverse Winding System for nonwovens, foams, films and other light webs. Traverse-wound rolls hold more material than conventional pancake rolls for longer run times between roll changes. Martin's modular design includes manual or automatic splicing unwinds, slitting section, waste wind-up, and manual or automatic transfer winding heads programmable with a multitude of winding profiles. The finished rolls can be converted off of Martin THW Splicers for traverse-wound rolls.


In the ongoing evolution of the EC Plus product line, Martin extends the web width to 160 inches with the ECPFI Wide Web Splicer. Modifications in the splice unit allow for the tape or heat-seal lap splicing for suitable materials. The product line is also expanded to incorporate roll diameters up to 60 inches.


Martin introduces the MBX model to its already popular family of narrow to mid-web, cantilevered butt splicers that have become the industry benchmark for versatility and reliability. The MBX brings the ease of Martin's patented, in-aisle roll loading system to machines in the 16-26 inch web width markets, running roll diameters up to 72 inches.


The ECPLT uses the same platform as the ECPFI Wide Web Splicer, incorporating driven spindles to provide extremely low tension levels in very demanding applications involving films and nonwovens.

Martin further expands its product offering to the nonwoven disposables industry, by introducing the ECHW Heat Seal Splicer. The "all-in-one" frame design and a simplified version of the MC-2000 controls system significantly reduce the customer's cost of adding automatic splicing.

Martin modifies the MBX Butt Splicer for customers running multiple substrates on a single press. Driven spindles and a second tension control dancer deliver maximum flexibility for a wide range of materials and tension levels, from flexible packaging to folding carton, from the same splicer.

The MTB Butt Splicer is supplied with a heated splice unit for splicing fiberglass-impregnated webs in the roofing industry.


A lift-table system for heavier and wider rolls of paperboard enables Martin to extend the cantilevered design of the MCB up to a 40-inch web width and beyond. Mobile lift tables are also incorporated into the MAS splicer system. These MLTs, with track imbedded in the floor, provide customers with choices in roll handling automation, from operator controlled to fully automatic.

Engineering changes to the LR Rewind expand its capacity to 50-inch diameter and 32-inch wide rolls. The first such rewinds are installed on flexographic presses printing lottery tickets.


The ECP platform, previously only available with overlap splice units, gets a heat seal butt splice unit. The new unit provides for easier splice preparation and a no-tail tapeless splice on nonwoven and film webs.

In-line slitting and automatic transfer rewinding of multiple ribbons is made easier with developments on the LR Rewind. Advances include next-generation differential spindles, removable slitter anvils for offline setup, and automatic tab-down.

The SSBSC-IR In-register Butt Splicer is designed for very narrow pre-printed or pre-processed webs. This extremely simple model will accurately splice in-register to a printed mark or between diecut labels.

Martin continues to develop automation equipment for the medical device and biotech industries. One innovation to the MBX Butt Splicer unwinds a primary wet substrate while at the same time rewinding an interleaved web. The splice is made with a heat-activated tape on the same side of every splice.


The compact STS Automatic Splicer offers non-stop production to an even larger number of printers, converters and packagers. Initial applications include envelope production, narrow web label printing, and form/fill/seal processing. This splicer makes taped butt and overlap splices or tapeless heatseal splices. It also splices pre-printed webs without throwing off registration.

The MBS Butt Splicer gets a special film package for label applications. Driven unwind spindles and low-inertia rollers enable the splicer to run thin unsupported films at higher speed and very low tension.

The MSL (Martin shear lap) splice unit is a cantilevered splice unit designed for easy operator access and thread-up. The knife and anvil cut-off system is compatible with most substrates, including traditional nonwovens, airlaid nonwovens, films, tissues and laminate webs. The standard MSL is completely self-contained, requiring only compressed air and two valves for operation and no interlocks or additional guarding. The flexibility of the MSL allows it to be mounted in any orientation, making it ideal for integration by the customer or retrofitting to existing unwind equipment. This unit can also be incorporated in the CMSL Automatic Lap Splicer and the TMSL Automatic Lap Splicer for traverse-wound materials.


The STS Splicer inspires the new STR Automatic Turret Rewind for non-stop, roll-to-roll production. The STR winds rolls without foldback at the core, eliminating a source of wrinkling and material waste. The system also features a lay-on roller for greater winding control and higher quality rolls.


The MASL Automatic Lap Splicer is speed-upgraded to 2000 fpm (609 mpm) for use in high-speed nonwoven applications. Even at this speed, the splicer maintains a tension level as low as 15 pounds (67 N). The RMAP Automatic Transfer Rewind receives a similar speed upgrade.

One result of a heatseal butt splice is a slight, generally acceptable bead of material where the two webs are welded together. Where a flat joint is required, Martin offers an iron-flat option to the heatseal butt splice unit. As the name suggests, the weld is flattened after the heatseal butt splice is made. This option is developed for the CHW (Cantilevered Hot Wire) Wide-Web Splicer and can be adapted to other Martin splicer models.

Another development for the CHW Wide-Web Splicer is a roll loading system with an integrated outboard spindle support. This enables the CHW to load heavier weight rolls on cores as small as 3 in (76 mm) inside diameter.


The MASB Automatic Butt Splicer is designed with automatic in-register splice preparation. The operator need only insert the leading edge of the new web into a slot. The splicer automatically feeds material forward, searches for a mark (or straw hole, in the case of aseptic packaging) and positions the web at the appropriate place for the splice. Equipped with the automatic tape application feature, no further operator involvement is required. (Automatic taping is also available on the MTB Automatic Butt Splicer model.)

The CUS Cantilevered Unwind Stand and CRS Cantilevered Rewind Stand are offered for applications, typically of a special nature, where non-stop roll changing is not optimal. A narrow web version of both units is developed for use with other Martin automatic splicing and rewinding systems in a co-winding/unwinding operation. And a wide web version of the CUS is developed for a low tension, intermittent motion application. (CUX and CRX models are available for large diameter rolls.)


The MDR (magnetic driven roller) system is an advanced solution for handling light webs at lower tension levels and higher operating speeds. MDR (patent pending) applies a magnetic coupling between web transport rollers and drive system, which substantially reduces or eliminates the negative impacts on a web resulting from roller inertia, bearing friction, speed change, and boundary layer air. MDR technology can be applied to both web transport systems and to Martin's line of high-performance unwinds.

Seeing the need for a winder in the mid-web market, Martin introduces the LRH Automatic Transfer Rewinder. The LRH is a 2-spindle non-stop winder for rolls up to 72 in (1828 mm) diameter and 32 in (812 mm) wide. The horizontal format takes up minimal floor space while keeping rolls close to the floor for safety, and the cantilevered design eliminates shaft handling and delivers rolls automatically without operator intervention. Martin continues to offer the LRD Automatic Transfer Rewind for roll diameters up to 50 in (1270 mm).

Responding to the needs of label converters to automate their film laminate unwinds, Martin develops the MLS Automatic Splicer for overlaminate webs. The MLS makes a taped overlapping splice. It is designed to mount above the press, making it ideal for retrofitting to many existing label presses. The cantilevered spindles and splice unit traverse into the aisle for ergonomic roll-loading and splice preparation.


Many presses are installed in tight spaces, leaving little room to add an automatic splicer. Sometimes the floor space is limited not only in-line with the press but also on both the operator and drive sides. To accommodate such challenges, Martin engineers develop an MBS Butt Splicer with an integrated turn bar. This design enables the festoon to be installed in-line with the press, while the unwind and splice section is installed perpendicular to the press without encroaching on aisle space.


Believed to be the fastest zero-speed splicer in production, Martin installs a splicer capable of making automatic roll changes at 3000 fpm (914 mpm). It incorporates 9 drive axes, including both servo and AC vector controls, as well as Martin's MDR technology (see 2007). The high speed MASL Automatic Splicer for wide-web, lightweight nonwovens makes a taped overlap splice (other versions provide taped butt-to-butt and tapeless heatseal splices). It was paired with a Martin RMAP Automatic Transfer Rewinder.


Recognizing a need in the label converting industry for automatic roll changers specifically for narrow web (up to 13 inches/ 330 mm) presses running smaller diameter rolls (up to 31.5 inches/ 800 mm), Martin introduces the MBSC Automatic Butt Splicer. Designed for speeds to 500 fpm/ 130 mpm, Martin pairs the MBSC with the STR Turret Rewinder for an affordable and practical upgrade to new or existing press lines.

Martin adds to its experience in the roofing industry with a non-stop unwind and hot-melt splicing system for fiberglass mat. The MTL Automatic Lap Splicer system includes a turret unwind for large diameter rolls of fiberglass, a festoon (or accumulator) for uninterrupted feed during the splice cycle, and a custom-engineered splice unit to join webs with a hot-melt adhesive. Future considerations include automated roll loading and splice preparation, as well as integrated automated roll handling systems.


Company founder John R. Martin dies. An entrepreneur known for his irreverent sense of humor as well as his engineering acumen, Martin had turned over complete operations of the company to Roger Cederholm 8 years earlier, naming him president of Martin Automatic Inc. Cederholm says, "John was a rare individual: a talented engineer with a great business sense and the foresight to set up a culture, which fosters creativity in all areas. He disliked 'me too' products and favored solutions that give real, long-term value to printers and converters. His legacy continues with Martin Automatic's innovative work in splicing, rewinding and web handling systems. John's great wisdom and foresight have enabled us to continue doing 'business as usual' at Martin Automatic."


Martin works closely with the leading manufacturers of printing press and converting equipment. Goss International selects Martin Automatic splicers, rewinds and tension control systems as fully integrated auxiliary components on its new Sunday Vpak presses. Precision Press, North Mankato, MN (USA) receives the first new Goss Sunday Vpak web offset printing system, designed for a wide variety of film substrates, and equipped with Martin ECPF Splicer and LRD Automatic Transfer Rewinder. Goss also equips a Sunday Vpak 500 press system with Martin splicer and rewinder in the Packaging Technology Center at its company headquarters in Durham, NH.

Building on the success of our autotaping splice units, we incorporate new autotaping technology into a high-speed MTB Automatic Butt Splicer. Feeding paperboard into a flexo press at 2000 fpm/610mpm, the MTB features our TU Turret Unwind with automatic roll loading, automatic splice unit threading and trim removal, and semi-automatic core removal. At the opposite end of the press, a TR Turret Rewinder features automatic roll unloading.

First introduced to the roofing industry in 2010, Martin further develops the MTL Automatic Lap Splicer system for fiberglass mat. Latest advancements include automatic roll loading, automatic splice unit threading and trim removal, and automatic core removal.

Besides great American manufacturing, we bring a little taste of the USA to trade shows in Europe. For more than a dozen years, visitors to our stand have enjoyed a hot dog "with everything" as they discuss their web handling needs. At this year's Labelexpo in Brussels, we served 350 hot dogs over the 4-day show. Satisfied customers, indeed.


At a web width of 87in/2210mm, the widest to-date RMAP-XB for paperboard is installed on a folding carton press. Matching press and customer specifications for 1640fpm/500mpm speed and 72in/1828mm diameter rolls, the rewinder is supplied with a powered cart for easy shaft-handling and with a slitter section for winding multiple ribbons.

Martin develops a roll automation package for the MCBWW Automatic Butt Splicer. Designed to optimize efficiency on wide-web paperboard presses running 2000 fpm/610mpm, the package enables the MCBWW to: run material off the core at full speed for maximum usage, with Martin's WRS Waste Reduction System; automatically remove empty cores from the spindles and transport them downline for use at the rewinder; automatically transport rolls to the loading position via an integrated conveyor system; automatically load rolls onto the spindles; and automatically align the new roll to the running web for accurate and easy splice preparation.

Martin Automatic holds several broad-based patents, protecting its most valuable developments and contributions to web-fed industries, and new patents continue to be granted.

With one of the lowest personnel turnover rates in the United States, the commitment of Martin Automatic to employees, and employees to Martin Automatic, speaks for itself. The longevity and dedication of this work force contributes to the high quality of all Martin products and world-class customer service

With equipment in more than 50 countries, Martin's extensive network spans the globe, providing sales and service support anywhere in the world. Martin utilizes the services of many exclusive and non-exclusive representatives throughout the world, offering faster and more cost effective service when possible.