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LMG releases faster, cost-effective custom presses

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From left, Paul Check, Rob Boland and Phil Gouin show off LMG's new standard press that debuted at the Rubber Expo.
Photo by RPN photo by Bruce Meyer From left, Paul Check, Rob Boland and Phil Gouin show off LMG's new standard press that debuted at the Rubber Expo.

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—After spending its history as a producer of custom presses, the LMG Division of Trinks Inc. unveiled a line of two standard presses during the ACS Rubber Division's International Elastomer Conference and Rubber Expo.

The De Pere, Wis.-based firm exhibited both its Value Press Series and its Edge and Edge Pro brand line at the expo, held Oct. 14-16 in Nashville, Tenn.

“We've recognized the need for faster turnaround and more cost-effective solutions for our customers,” said Paul Check, chief engineer and general manager of LMG.

The machinery maker originally was part of C.A. Lawton Co., operating under the Lawton Machinery Group name. C.A. Lawton sold the machinery division in 2007 to a customer who owned Trinks, and the unit is now marketed under the LMG moniker.

LMG traditionally has been a custom press maker and currently focuses on compression, transfer and vacuum presses. But it spent significant time developing the standard lines to meet needs that LMG saw in the marketplace, said Check, who discussed the new machines at the expo.

“The machine is very quiet, and we've done a lot to condense the footprint,” he said. “Floor space is a premium in a lot of shops. Sound is as well, especially when you're going to a lab or a clean room.”

Being a custom machine manufacturer has served the firm well, but that takes a lot of engineering work. “We're very good at it, but customers are trending toward the better (return on investments), faster turnarounds and better delivery,” Check said. “They don't make money until they get their machine, so if they have to wait longer, that speaks in terms of dollars to the customers. So we recognized that need, and we've then packaged that into a machine with a set of options that are the most common configurations that we had sold in the past.”

The Value Press Series is available in 6- to 100-ton clamping force. “This is the one we have really done our homework to get the footprint of the machine and the noise level of the machine down to the absolute minimum,” he said. “It's energy efficient, has quiet operation, has a fast turnaround and is cost-effective. That's really the selling points of that machine.”

This line is strictly for compression molding for both rubber and composites parts. To supplement the machine, LMG makes a line of plasticators so composite materials can be melted and prepped into a slug that can be loaded into the mold.

The Edge and Edge Pro presses are more flexible, Check said, with clamping ranges from 5 to 250 tons. There is an option to add a transfer cylinder so it can be used for either compression or transfer molding.

LMG gives more options on these machines, including processing multiple profiles and recipes. Customers also can do data collection, real-time graphing, link the machine into its network connection and write data files, among other tasks.

Check said the Edge can be used to produce a broad range of end products, from rubber gaskets and plastic handles to check valves, medical parts and implantables.

LMG for the first time also is enabling customers to order the machines online, at Check said the firm set up a tool on its website so if customers know exactly what they want to order, or want to repeat a prior order, it can be done online.

“It's another way to get product in the hands of customers faster,” he said.

The press maker offers 10-week lead times on the value presses, 12 weeks on the Edge compression offerings and 13-14 weeks for an Edge press with transfer setup, according to Check.

“We offer better price points and better deliveries,” he said. “We've done that by commonizing the list of options and really built modularity into the machine.”

Check said that 2014 had a slow start, but that business has been growing at a good pace since. “We look at overall GDP reports, business spending levels and machine utilization,” he said. “So far in the last six months, they have all been moving in a positive direction as far as we're concerned.”