From product development to hybrid vs. conventional, Matt Menges, president of Menges Roller Company, dishes on all things rolls and rollers.
Menges Roller Company started initially as an offset printing roller supplier before transitioning out of that market in the late 1980s and in to industrial roll covering and core manufacturing for a variety of industries, including converting and packaging. Today, the company – which marks its 50th year in business in 2016 – specializes in large rollers and specialty products, as well as manufacturing precision roller cores and heat transfer and chill rollers. Flexible Packaging recently caught up with Matt Menges, Menges Roller Company president, for the latest on rolls and rollers.
Flexible Packaging: Can you briefly take us through the development process of new products?
Menges: Development starts with ideas we or our customers generate. We can see the manufacturing process and see what challenges a customer may be having with their own process. Often, we can see a tweak in the roll fabrication that will eliminate the customer’s problem. After that, engineering takes over, we model the new roll and then can run simulations to predict the performance on the computer rather than on the customers line.
FP: How do converter requests reflect what products you have planned for the future?
Menges: We continue to innovate on the roll covering side of the business with better coverings. We make very large rolls. As equipment gets larger with converters, we can cover up to 10 meters in length and 60 inches in diameter. We cover in every elastomer including urethane and have a complete line of spreader rolls and idler rolls. We cover the entire roller spectrum.
FP: Talk about hybrid rolls versus conventional ones. What is the big difference?
Menges: The hybrid roll we invented as a way to eliminate the internal corrosion that is common on heat transfer rollers that are not properly maintained. We cover the internal shell of the roll with rubber and machine in the helix angle that produces the best turbulence inside the outer shell for heat transfer. The rubber replaces the steel internal surface that is susceptible to oxidation from the water running over it much like an old radiator on a car or truck. Just like the radiator example, if the radiator isn’t maintained and fluids aren’t maintained, we all know that the radiator gets blocked or corrosion builds and a hole is formed. This can happen inside chill rollers – the rubber just acts as a safety, as it won’t rust if the roll isn’t maintained properly. Then the outer shell is nickel-plated so that it doesn’t oxidize. We now have many hybrid rolls out in the marketplace and they are performing excellently.
FP: Roller wear seems to be something that many converters struggle with. Can you offer any tips on how to reduce wear?
Menges: Alignment and bearing maintenance. Again, to use a car example, if your tires are not aligned properly you get uneven wear. This can happen if the nip on your equipment is misaligned or unevenly loaded. We do manufacture coverings that give extended wear in tough applications.
FP: What about other maintenance tips to maximize the longevity and effectiveness of such products?
Menges: Roll maintenance has come a long way since I’ve been in the business. The bearings today and rollers that go into those bearings are of much closer tolerance. Roll balancing was hardly practiced in the 60’s and 70’s, and is a standard procedure on every roller at Menges Roller. Company maintenance personnel and equipment operators have to keep a closer eye on their equipment to keep it running at peak efficiency and we are seeing that.
Menges Roller Company
(847) 487-8877; www.mengesroller.com