What does Converting mean in the Printing and Packaging Space?

What does Converting mean in the Printing and Packaging Space?

All Converting, Printing & Packaging activity involves converting raw materials into finished products. However, ‘converting’ is a distinct process (or rather a combination of processes) that modifies or combines materials into finished or intermediate goods. 

At The Arête Group, we provide staffing solutions to Converting, Printing, and Packaging companies in Milwaukee and all across the USClick here to schedule a meeting with one of recruitment professionals!

In today’s article, we take a brief look at the converting process, especially in relation to printing and packaging.  

What Converting Companies Actually Do

A converting facility takes raw material and modifies it into new products. Raw materials can include:

  • Paper
  • Corrugated
  • Liners
  • Rubbers
  • Metals
  • Felts
  • Plastics
  • Foams
  • Polyesters
  • Adhesives
  • Silicone
  • Adhesive tapes
  • Any many more

The raw materials are produced in long, continuous sheets that are rolled up for easy handling and transportation. You may get an idea of this process if you have ever seen newspapers printed on long, continuous sheets. 

The rolls of material can weigh up to several tons and have significant sizes. They are passed through machines where they are fashioned into a new item. For instance, a converting company can create plastic bags by cutting a plastic film into lengths and fusing the edges. 

Web Processing

As already mentioned, converting encompasses several processes. The sheets of thin, flat raw materials are known as ‘webs,’ and web processing refers to threading the materials in machines to change their form. Depending on the product required, the converting company will use the relevant equipment (e.g., printing press or slitting machine).

It is also essential to maintain proper alignment of the webs, so they don’t track off course during converting. That’s why converting companies use web-guiding systems to maintain accuracy and reduce wastage. These systems are usually located before a critical stage of the process, such as before print stations on a printing press.   

Other Processes In Converting

Standard converting processes include printing, coating, and lamination. We talked about flexo printing in our last blog post, which is an excellent example of a printing method suited to high-speed roll-to-roll processing.  

Sheeting’ is another typical converting process, where rolls are cut into smaller rolls on a sheeter. Other techniques in converting include:

  • Slitting
  • Collation
  • Sheering
  • Die-cutting
  • Laser cutting
  • Heat sealing
  • Laser converting
  • Perforating

The bottom line is that each converting process is meant for specific kinds of products. For example, food packages like pizza boxes and nacho trays are created via ‘tray forming/carton erecting,’ which involves processing pre-cut cartons or ‘blanks’ and folding them into specific shapes.

Converting Applications

Finally, converting processes have a wide range of applications, especially in Converting, Printing & Packaging. A converting company can offer a range of products or specialize in a particular process, such as printing, laminating, vacuum forming, die-cutting, or adhesive coating. 

Like other industrial processes, converting requires qualified engineers and machine operators. At The Arête Group, we provide both temporary and permanent staffing solutions to converting, printing, and packaging companies in Milwaukee and across the US

We are the go-to recruitment solution for companies like Novolex, a leading packaging company based in Hartsville, SC offering innovative and sustainable solutions and brands like International Converter®Click here to schedule a free consultation.