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The Web Handling Handbook

The Web Handling Handbook: Lessons from Generations Past and a Training Manual for the Future

That was the impetus behind three web-handling experts collaborating to create The Web Handling Handbook. The book not only encapsulates the advancements of the past four decades, it serves as a training manual for future generations of web handlers.

David Roisum
David Roisum

According to web-handling expert David Roisum, web handling has been a science for at least 100 years, but the last 40 have been pivotal.

“It’s been like a Renaissance that started in the mid 1980s,” Roisum said. “We’ve done a lot of things to borrow and develop tools.”

By and large, these fundamentals became established and new advancements began to slow. Roisum could see the Renaissance was nearing its conclusion, and it was time to put on his historian hat and document the period’s learnings. But he knew he couldn’t do it alone. 

Roisum reached out to fellow web-handling experts Dilwyn Jones and Timothy Walker and proposed they collaborate on a book that would encapsulate the science and the craft of their trade. After several years of hard work, they’ve produced The Web Handling Handbook.

What’s The Web Handling Handbook all about?

The handbook addresses all components of web handling, from fundamentals through advanced concepts, including recent research findings and their practical applications.

The emphasis is on how and why: How web-handling systems work and why do webs behave the way they do. Detailed illustrations and easy-to-understand calculations help provide the explanation.

The authors also explain how more profitable web processing is a result of reducing waste from defects, downtime and customer complaints. The specifications don’t matter: These fundamentals apply to every web project.

Dilwyn Jones
Dilwyn Jones

“Everything is the same,” Dilwyn Jones said. “You just need to know some principles and you can apply the same science.”

What went into writing it?

One of the reasons Roisum believes the timing was right for the project is because the number of paper books produced for the industry might be slowing. Since the science of the web processes was more or less established, it was time to document the craft. 

“Now was a good time to capture what we know,” he said.

The combined effort played to the respective strengths of Roisum, Jones and Walker.

Roisum brought a broad perspective of web handling, with 10 books and hundreds of columns, articles and videos to his name. Walker adds analytical and converting skills, and Jones contributes theoretical and exceptional editing skills. 

Tim Walker
Tim Walker

Each of the authors served as the lead on three or four areas, and then the group collaborated on the editing and review. Roisum’s administrative skill kept the project moving forward. “He was good at nagging us,” Walker quipped.

Their magnum opus is payback 

Much of the innovation in web handling occurred in the period ranging from the late 1970s to the early 2000s. The group recalled how the science of the industry evolved at places like Oklahoma State University, which was “flooded with innovation.”

Like any science, many of the advancements are discovered through errors, so the findings in the book are more than the results of some lab-based experiments. The three authors have been in thousands of plants, and much of their web research is “what we learned from stupid mistakes.” 

A web-handling illustration from the book
An example of a web-handling illustration from the book.

“The biggest change has been in the drive and motor technology,” Roisum said. “For the last 40 years, people have kept the same rollers, but changed the drive.”

The book serves as payback to an industry which has allowed the three to enjoy productive careers, and the group points out that it is designed to help the industry. “We’re paying it back, so others don’t have to make the same mistakes,” Walker said.

How can web handlers use it moving forward

With so much of the science of the industry established, the authors also wanted the book to focus on the craft of web handling.

The workforce is aging. Veteran operators are nearing retirement, and manufacturing as a whole is struggling to find people to replace them. One contract converter recently expressed how worried he was that his press operator would soon leave, taking with him all the insights in his head.

The goal of Roisum, Walker and Jones is to provide a viable training vehicle for the companies who have to replace those operators. The book doesn’t cover everything, but it does provide a basis for a consistent approach.

“It won’t jump you 30 years ahead in your career,” Walker said, “but it’s a book we all wish we would have had when we started.”

Delta ModTech looks forward to featuring insights from The Web Handling Handbook in future posts. Subscribe to our blog to make sure you don’t miss them!

If you want all their insights today (and you should), purchase The Web Handling Handbook. And don’t delay — the book sold out in weeks and is currently a DEStech bestseller!



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