WAUCONDA, Ill.—Menges Rubber Co. has purchased an advanced technology lathe to expand its Heat Transfer Roll division and its overall operation.
With state-of-the-art computer interfaces and exact machining capabilities, the European-built machine, which weighs more than 22,000 pounds, is capable of manufacturing heat transfer rolls up to 20 feet long.
Equally important, Marketing Director Jeff Awe said, the lathe is fully automatic.
Menges Roller also has added personnel and a second shift at its 30,000-sq.-ft. roller manufacturing facility in Wauconda, which is located just north of Chicago, he said. The operation presently has a work force of about 50.
As converters and plastic packaging firms have moved to wider web widths, faster line speeds and more layers in laminates, Menges Roller has experienced significant overall growth in the last year and increases in its heat transfer roll business, especially large-format, double-shelled models, the company said.
"We have machines capable of producing rolls up to 30 feet long, but this is the first that we brought in that's fully automated," according to Awe.
A plant expansion wasn't necessary to house the lathe, he said, because the firm's production facility had ample space available.
The new machine seamlessly integrates with Menges Roller's Computer Aided Design department, the company said. When the firm's engineers complete a final thermal modeling and design for a heat/chill roll, the roll's schematics can be uploaded directly to the machine.
With the machine's advanced milling functions, roller shafts, outer shells and internal components can be made to exact tolerances, the firm said.
"Heat transfer roll popularity is definitely increasing, especially in the packaging sector," said Matt Menges, president of the roller maker. "But we are also seeing engineers across all of our industries experiment more and more with these rolls. They're thinking, 'why wait for my stock to cool naturally … I'll just put in a chill roll and speed up production by 10 percent.' Honestly, our expansion is simply a response to our customers' needs."
Heat transfer rollers are liquid-filled and most are double-shelled with spiral flutes that help circulate the thermal fluid.
Menges Roller serves the plastic, paper, non-wovens and light steel markets with heat transfer/chill rollers, large process rolls up to 30 feet, web spreaders and other rubber-covered rollers.
It also provides a full range of maintenance and repair services, including roll refurbishing, journal and core replacement, dynamic balancing, parabolic crowning, chrome finishing, and rubber covering.