In the world of web converting presses, machine life span is typically not measured in decades. Standard Rubber Products (SRP), however, has had two Delta ModTech machines for over twenty years. And these workhorses show no signs of letting up.
SRP specializes in custom gasket fabrication and non-metallic die cutting solutions. Based in Elk Grove Village, near Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, they’ve been in business since 1951. They also have a location in Zhuhai, China.
SRP’s services include adhesive lamination, automatic slitting, and a variety of cutting capabilities, including kiss, laser, waterjet, reciprocating knife and rotary die. They service a range of vertical industries, including electronics, automotive, HVAC and safety.
When the company purchased the machines, SRP president Larry Gualano said that it wasn’t with the expectation that they would get decades of performance. It was to solve a challenge, one that when asked to recall, stumped Larry.
“Wow, that goes back a long time,” he said with a laugh. “To be honest, I don’t actually remember. You’ll have to ask Bill.”
Challenge: It all started with one part that couldn’t be made
Larry was referring to Bill Stift, SRP’s operations manager, who has been with the company longer than the Deltas. As he recalls, the impetus for the Delta purchase actually started after SRP had purchased a different machine to replace a manual assembly process.
Bill and his team had been promised the machine would do the job, but it could never produce the part. SRP eventually returned the machine to the company, and the search began for a replacement.
Bill soon received a call from a couple SRP managers who were attending a medical show in New York and had seen a demonstration of a servo-driven Delta ModTech Crusader® machine.
“They said, ‘We think we’ve found the machine we’re looking for,’ ” Bill remembered.
Solution: Servo-driven solution opens the floodgates
SRP connected with Delta ModTech, and shared details on their manufacturing challenge. Delta’s engineering team promptly came up with a solution. As Bill notes, the key was the flexibility and adaptability that occurs with the servo-driven approach.
“The other machine was one-to-one, and it would always get a slag, or some kind of off-registration,” Bill said. But because the Delta Crusader was servo-driven, it allowed each die roller to move forward, backward, and have speed changes from die to die, which is critical functionality when you start stacking materials.
“You’ve got the registration for one, but as your materials and your stack-ups change, that changes your tensions,” Bill said. “You need to keep everything in-line and registered in order to get your final part.
After the initial project, SRP began collaborating on more projects, challenging design engineer Joel Oakes and his team of engineers. “Joel has seen just about everything,” he said. “We would give him the part and he would envision how it would work.”
Check out this video to see the Crusaders in action.
Throughput: Exceptional adaptability means millions of feet of product
Over the years, new products and challenges have come along, and the machines have responded both in terms of quality and quantity.
SRP is a 3M™ preferred partner, and 90% of what they run through the Deltas are 3M products, such as VHBs and other foam types. In fact, SRP produces millions and millions of parts every year.
LARRY GUALANO, SRP
“I don’t know how else we would process these types of materials. We’re making a lot more parts and in less time than with other methods.”
Despite the high output, the machines have been consistent producers, with few if any maintenance issues. “We did a software upgrade 2 or 3 years ago,” Larry said. “But other than that, we’ve haven’t had any issues.”
Even after two decades, the machines continue to be remarkably versatile. “The biggest thing is it’s been able to adapt,” Bill said. “Any time something comes across, anything we might throw at it. It’s forever adapting.”
Larry doesn’t subscribe to the old adage: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
“I’d rather break it and improve it,” Larry said.
But with Delta ModTech’s machines, that wouldn’t be a prudent move. “For the high volumes we’re running, it’s perfect,” Larry said. “I’m not really sure where we would improve on it,” Larry said.
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