PITTSBURGH—Fenner Dunlop P.L.C.'s Engineered Conveyor Solutions division is pushing forward with a new product designed to widen its reach into the industrial use market.
Patriot X is a fabric belt with single-unit construction meant to be used for light-medium duty applications. The belt, which debuted in the market in September, marks an opportunity for Fenner to provide a cost-effective line of belting to compete with imports, said Scott Frenz, senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Americas division.
"Typically, what we see for most of the importers is an offering for somewhat lower-end applications in the marketplace. Not something you're going to put under a primary crusher on a rock quarry," he said.
Fenner saw the highest amount of penetration from imports in light to medium duty applications, in the aggregate plant as a tertiary belt, the belts running light sand and gravel, light duty wood products or cement, Frenz said.
"We've seen some of that market go to imports over the years, and we wanted to come up with a solution to compete in that market with a North American-made product," he said.
The Patriot X currently is being produced in Fenner's Port Clinton, Ohio, facility, but also could be produced in the company's facility in Bracebridge, Ontario, Frenz said.
Fenner is continuing to produce high-end, heavy duty belts such as its UsFlex, NovaCore and PSR brand names, but is trying to gain back some of the market share in the light and medium duty market with a North American-made product that's a little different, he said.
"It's really similar to how we've designed some of our higher duty application products," Frenz said. "It's what we call a single-unit construction. We don't even like to call it a ply, because it isn't really a ply. It's a single unit of fabric."
The Patriot X is made with a "dual-crimp warp design," Frenz said, that allows the belt to be thinner and lighter, but perform significantly better than comparable two- or three-ply belts in terms of rip, tear and impact resistance.
"Not only is it a North American produced product that can compete from a cost standpoint with those belts, it is different in that its design is different, and its construction is different than really anything else that's out there," Frenz said.
The Patriot X currently is being launched through the company's existing distribution channel, its Total Conveyor Solutions Distributors.
The belt is a kind of new generation of Fenner's original Patriot line of about two years ago, which was a two-ply and three-ply belt that made some headway in the market, but didn't provide the market penetration Fenner was after, Frenz said.
"It did well, but we felt like we could really change the game by coming out with this single-unit dual crimp warp construction," he said.