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A web is a long, thin, and flexible material. Common webs include foil, metal, paper, textile, plastic film, and wire. Common processes carried out on webs include coating, plating, and laminating.
A web is generally processed by moving over rollers. Between processing stages, webs are stored and transported as rolls also known as coils, packages and doffs. The end result or use of web manufacturing is usually sheets. The primary motivation to work with webs instead of sheets is economics. Webs, being continuous, can be made at far higher speeds and do not have the start-stop issues of discrete sheet processing.
Web processing is also found in a wide variety of other manufacturing including electronics such as circuit boards, construction materials such as roofing and pharmaceuticals such as drug patches. The size of the web handling industries is very difficult to estimate. The very smallest counts are 5,000 web manufacturing and converter sites in the North America. However, if commercial printing is included, the count may be as high as 50,000 sites.
Web handling is the art and science of getting a web through a machine with maximum productivity and minimum waste.
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