"Can For You" is more than just a slogan at Universal Can -- it's an attitude.
With a commitment toward providing customers with high-quality, innovative products in a timely and cost-effective manner, Universal Can has become a leading manufacturer of aluminum beverage containers.
Shouji Muramatsu, General Manager of the Technology Department, said a key factor in Universal Can's commitment to excellence is its selection of machinery suppliers.
"Our critical factors are cost, delivery, quality and safety," Muramatsu said. "We supply a quality product, at a competitive cost in a safe environment. These are our challenges and thanks to our Minster presses we are able to meet them. Minster gives us a very stable, consistent operation that allows us to produce consistent quality product."
Born in 2005 with the merging of Mitsubishi Materials Corp., and the Hokkai Can Co., Universal Can has production and sales facilities at nine different locations in Japan.
Universal Can acquired its first Minster cupping press in 1989 and since then has purchased nothing but Minster DAC model presses for its high speed production of aluminum cups.
"Our Minster presses are very dependable," Muramatsu said. "We have used them for many years and experienced no major problems."
The latest Minster DAC-150 press installed at Universal Can's Gifu Plant, is supported by an integrated material handling line from Minster Automation. The line includes Minster's Servo Cupper Feed, a stock lubricator, a heavy-duty reel and a coil car, all integrated by Minster's Production Management Control (PMC).
"It is very helpful to have a single supplier to integrate the coil line with the press," Muramatsu said. "We had some unique requirements for this line, and Minster was very helpful in providing the specifications we required. Since Minster provided the material handling line, we only have to deal with Minster. This helped the installation and start-up go very smoothly."
Hiroyasu Shoka, who works in the Production Group at the Gifu Plant, said the integration of the press and coil line has increased efficiencies.
"Set up time is much quicker with the integrated coil line," he said. "With the new Minster controls it's easier to set up and thread the coil. The stock lubricator operates well, and can easily be moved, allowing us to open the feed and get quick access to the tooling -- a big advantage."
Minster's servo cupper feed features a swing-away mounting bracket that allows for quick access to the press tooling. The feed employs a standard Allen Bradley heavy-duty digital servo motor and drive. The servo offers feed progression control with the touch of a screen, which is seamlessly integrated into the main press control.
"The Minster servo feed is very stable, consistent and accurate," Muramatsu said. "As we develop more products requiring material size changeovers, we expect to take advantages of the flexibility of the Minster servo feed."
Minster's Stock Lubricator at Universal Can is mounted on tracks, and can easily be moved for access and adjustments to other coil line components. With 10-gallon self-replenishing Unist lubricant tanks, the lubricator electronically meters the desired amount of lubricant evenly across the width of the strip, eliminating the mess of excess lubricants.
Minster reels for cupping lines are available in single or double mandrel configurations. All reels include laser controlled line speed synchronization.
Working in tandem with the reel is the Minster Coil Car which raises the coil to the proper height for quick and efficient coil changeovers.
Operating and monitoring the press and coil line is the Minster PMC Control.
Hiroyuki Tanaka, who works with electronics and controls at the Gifu Plant, is impressed with the flexibility of the new Minster control.
"The PMC Control is a big advantage because it integrates the entire coil line," he said. "This helps greatly with troubleshooting and diagnostics.
"The control is very well organized and we experience much less problems during set-up," Tanaka said. "The graphic display is very good, and we like the fact that it is an open software system. All of the touch graphics are in the Japanese language which is helpful, and if anything needs adjusted we can do that with the open system."
"Our newest Minster Press has many electronic improvements," Tanaka added. "The Minster engineers were very helpful in working with us to provide the specifications and the controls that we needed."
In addition to application support from Minster's engineering department, Muramatsu said he's always been pleased with the customer service.
"The Minster Service Department always responds very quickly, whether it's for service or spare parts, we always get a quick response," he said.
Minster dispatches field service personnel from numerous locations throughout the world, and recently opened a customer service facility in Ningbo, China to better serve the Asian market. The Ningbo facility includes warehousing for common replacement parts, technical support, field service personnel and capabilities for machine and component rebuilding.
Universal Can is in a unique position to provide its customers with turnkey packaging services including the development of aluminum raw materials, can manufacturing, filling technology and impressive aluminum can recycling technologies.
Product development is ongoing in the can-making division. Universal Can has developed aluminum "bottle cans" with resealable aluminum caps. Cans with distinct embossed patterns is another high value development.
"New technologies are important for us to provide quality products to our customers," Muramatsu said. "The technology of the new Minster servo feed, PMC Control and integrated coil line helps us meet our challenges."
For additional information, visit Universal Can online at www.unican.co.jp/en.