Under Pressure: How to Choose the Right Paper Reel Clamp

23rd June 2020

For operations handling paper reels, lift trucks continue to be the dominant method of handling. Large paper reels are typically handled using lift trucks with 4-16 tonne lift capacity and fitted with a paper reel clamp. But with different grades of paper requiring different clamping pressures, how should you choose the right attachment for your specific needs?

Typical attachments used for paper handling include rotating paper roll clamps and non-rotating single- and double-tower clamps and there are several other variations depending on a particular application’s needs.

First, get the force right

Clamping force is usually given in kN (kilo Newton) and clamping force must be adjusted to suit the paper grade and size. Each paper roll and each handling operation requires individual clamping force settings for many reasons.

Excessive clamping force (or pressure) can often result in damage to the reel making it useless in the end manufacturing application. The rolls or roll cores can deform and excess out-of-roundness can cause the paper to break during the printing process, reduce print speed and cause other issues – this could even delay printing of the daily newspaper!

Clamping with insufficient force can result in the reel sliding or dropping out of the clamp. The reel could also be displaced if the clamping lever is activated inadvertently, so there is usually a safety gate on the hydraulic clamping function.

Damage can also occur when clamping on the edges of a paper roll where they are weaker and most sensitive.

As accurate clamping force is so essential, some applications insist that drivers do a pressure check at the start of each day. By using a test stand or an electronic test pad, the actual clamping force can easily be controlled.

Choosing a clamp

Factors to consider include weight, diameter and roll width variances, paper quality, type of wrapping, storage and stowage pattern, number of rolls per cycle and rotation.

Even within the same application, there may be different operations that require different approaches. In some cases, the same truck and clamp combination can be used, but sometimes, dedicated machines may be needed according to the job required. Either way, it is important to select the right paper clamp for the job.

To reduce the risks of paper damage, Bolzoni Auramo, offers a wide range of different clamps. Damage-free handling has always been Bolzoni Auramo’s goal when developing new paper-roll clamps and it provides a wide selection for all types of operation.

Why choose a single tower clamp?

In paper warehouses, many applications select a tower clamp with an optional hydraulic adjustable top section. This is useful for both single and double handling of rolls and stacking them vertically. This option makes the clamp flexible and fits many roll configurations.

There are usually three hydraulic functions: sideshift, clamp and top arm. There can also be several different pressure settings depending on what is being handled. These can even be pre-set so that operators can quickly choose the right option for the reel type they are handling.

The driver can easily adjust the height of the clamp to give a secure grip on all rolls. Split arms with a thin profile design ensure tight stacking and effective damage-free handling with excellent visibility. There is also reduced risk of damage to the edges of the paper rolls. Several different arm and contact pad options are available.

Why choose a double-tower clamp?

Single-tower clamps are useful when building up a “double roll unit” which later can be handled by a double-tower clamp. For instance, double-tower clamps from Bolzoni Auramo have a capacity of up to 12000Kg and can handle 4-8 paper rolls, which speeds up the cycle time when loading/unloading.

One reason we often recommend split-arm clamps is that it is best to have one contact pad on each paper roll to give a secure grip, with clamping force on each roll.

Why choose a rotating paper clamp?

Paper rolls are typically transported horizontally down the centre of a lorry bed when using a curtain-sided lorry. This means that the rolls need to be rotated at least 90 degrees using tilting or rotating clamps for loading.

The clamp should have a fast, accurate rotation system with precise vertical stops and end cushioning. To go inside a container, the lift truck used should have a short mast and a sideshift helps with positioning the load.

The choice of lift truck matters too!

Of course, it’s not all about the clamp, the choice of Hyster® lift truck is just as important. Factors to consider are the height of stowage, hydraulic functions, pressure and flows, tilting functions, clamp mounting, space, and load centre.

Hyster has been working across the paper supply chain for many years and has specific solutions for handling paper. Reliability and cost of ownership are of major importance considering the need to keep the paper flowing through the supply chain for the lowest cost. The Hyster® brand is well known for its strength and reliability in heavy industries, keeping operational costs low from a fuel perspective, and for proven component quality.

Additional Hyster® lift truck features that are beneficial to paper applications include quick disconnect hydraulic couplings, to switch between clamps, forks and other attachments and to ensure the truck has flexible use. Plus, return to set tilt helps the reel to be put down flat reducing edge damage. Leak free O-ring fittings also reduce the risk of product contamination.

The hydraulic accumulator provides protection to the hydraulic system and truck from shock loads and prevents hydraulic slippage. This is especially important in high capacity clamping applications as it minimises paper damage from clamp arms caused by shock loads (pot- holes, dock plates, etc.). It also improves operator comfort by absorbing shock loads.

Wrapper damage caused by slack chains is also a common, but an avoidable issue within the paper industry. A chain slack prevention valve prevents the mast chain from losing tension when the clamped load is stacked and the driver continues to operate the mast lowering function. When opened, clamp arms will not slip and damage the roll wrapping.

Local support from Hyster® dealers is also essential to ensure unplanned maintenance in paper application is dealt with immediately.

Special engineering for paper applications

Hyster® lift trucks can also support the specific needs of paper handling applications with specially engineered solutions. See how Hyster and its local dealer delivered a unique tilting carriage with extended reach solution for a Hyster® J5.5XN6 electric forklift. This enables the lift truck mast to enable paper rolls to be loaded and unloaded effectively from the centre of a lorry bed.

Contact your local Hyster® distribution partner now to discuss the right paper reel handling attachments and lift trucks for your particular needs. Or read more about our paper industry solutions.

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