Stillwater's startup Roll-2-Roll keeps things rolling at high speed VIDEO
Video, photo, and article courtesy of i2E
An industrial mechanism called a lateral guide for the roll-to-roll manufacturing industry.
Aravind Seshadri is talking diapers. Hundreds of millions of them. He’s focused on the way they are manufactured and the speed at which the material that becomes diapers flies through the machinery from one roll to another.
Diapers are produced through a process called roll-to-roll manufacturing. They are but one of dozens of industries that use the roll-toroll process to create products at high speed.
Seshadri is a founder and CEO of Stillwater-based Roll-2-Roll Technologies, a startup that is developing innovative technology to keep those rolls of flexible material properly aligned as they are processed at high speeds. “A wide variety of consumer products are manufactured in this form, and raw materials such as paper, plastics, film, foil, metals, etc., are used to create the finished products,” Seshadri said. “When the materials are transported at high speeds within the processing machinery, it is necessary to guide them, or align them.”
If the rolls aren’t properly aligned, materials begin to get twisted, bent and wrinkled. The manufacturing line has to halt and the material re-aligned. Time and materials are wasted.
Special equipment called a lateral guide is used to align the material.
Roll-2-Roll uses sensor technology and a sophisticated algorithm that computes how much the material flying through the process must be repositioned to keep it flowing without wrinkles or mis-alignment.
“We are developing technologies that do a better job at sensing the position of the material and properly aligning the material using an advanced adaptive control algorithm,” Seshadri said. “With these technologies, we can increase the efficiency of the manufacturing process by reducing wastage, downtime, setup time and labor cost.”
Conceived at Oklahoma State University, Roll-2-Roll’s technology is currently at the conceptual stage with development of a prototype under way. The company participated in the Oklahoma Proof of Concept Center to expand its understanding of customer development even before it has a product to offer.
“One of the main reasons why I wanted my team to go through this process is to make sure we all understand the importance of customer development,” Seshadri said.
The Roll-2-Roll team also participated in the 2013 Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup where it claimed second place in High Growth Graduate Division in Oklahoma and then winning the Graduate Division at the Tri-State competition in Las Vegas.
Meanwhile, Roll-2-Roll is negotiating licensing agreements with OSU and seeking capital through investments and grant funding to advance the concept.
“We hope to capitalize on this momentum, overcome obstacles and successfully raise money to start working full time early next year,” he said. “In the meantime, we are learning every day.”