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LORD Corporation Offers Customers Unique Applications Lab to Test Products

Published on 2005-06-17. Author : SpecialChem

Cary, NC -- LORD Corporation - a global leader in developing rubber-to-metal bonding adhesives for the automotive and industrial markets - has expanded its custom applications lab that provides customers with an easy means of integrating new adhesives and developing new products without having to interrupt their own production lines.

According to Tony Ciampa, Global Market Manager for Automotive Components, LORD has long been known as an innovator and development partner in a variety of industries. However, with the capabilities of their full-size applications lab, LORD now affords customers the ability to test coatings and/or adhesives on their products on smaller sample batches without the inconvenience of scheduling downtime in production schedules.

"As our customers have adapted to the changing marketplace, we too have evolved," said Ciampa. "We recognize that it is extremely difficult for suppliers to launch a new product today because of the time and cost associated with breaking into production to conduct trial evaluations. Such a scenario results in downtime, scrap and fine-tuning of the product and/or process. In response to these constraints, LORD decided to bring value to the marketplace by offering pilot production equipment to test products. This is just another way that LORD demonstrates its capabilities as a solution provider to our customers."

Dennis J. Damico, Manager of Elastomer Adhesives and Coatings Technology, said he has witnessed a major swing in the marketplace with regards to product development. Having to create a special mold or stop production to test a new product is extremely intrusive to business, he said.

"LORD Corporation's applications lab was created to aid customers in optimizing their processes for applying product," said Damico. "Instead of just selling a high-quality product in a container, we are offering customers the opportunity to select, test and develop the necessary production processes in order to use LORD products without having to interrupt their busy production and manufacturing facilities."

The applications lab also allows LORD Corporation's Product Development Group to perform a great deal of up-front application work as well as fine-tune newly developed products prior to their introduction to the marketplace. This saves a great deal of time, money and resources for both LORD and the customer, said Ciampa, by assuring more successful product launches with less iterations of testing performed at the customer's location.

Currently staffed by 13 full-time employees, the 10,000-square-foot lab, located in Erie, Pa., is used consistently by approximately 30 members of the LORD team as well as customers around the globe seeking support of their metal-to-rubber bonded parts and rubber products. To ensure realistic testing conditions, LORD has invested heavily in machinery comparable to that found in the marketplace. Of note is the cross-head extruder - almost a million dollar investment - that serves the weather strip industry. Other equipment includes an elastomer and TPV flocker/ extruder line, glass chisel abraders, an Atlas crockmeter for chemical abrasion testing, vibration test equipment, an injection molding machine, a small scale Ross mixer, chain-on-edge spray equipment, robotic dip equipment, tumble spray unit, MMD units, a MetalJacket Pilot Line, off-line flocker, Instron tensile testers, multiple salt fog chambers, a spray application booth, UV cure and coating equipment, as well as freezers for cold flex testing, different mills, presses and more.

According to Damico, customers simply supply their rubber stock, thermoplastic, vulcanized rubber, metal parts or other polymer, and LORD uses the substrates to simulate their production. Projects range from extruding and coating rubber to coating metal parts for bonding later in the process. Although LORD has the capability to spray, brush or dip-apply coatings and adhesives, most customer applications are brush- or spray-applied. Thus, the lab contains a scaled-down version of typical equipment found in their customer's facilities. These pieces of equipment can be modified to mimic customer settings, allowing LORD to test the desired parameters without having to interrupt production schedules.

Further, the lab enables customers to develop the proper parameters for coating thickness and cure as well as properly select the correct spraying equipment and settings that match the desired requirements and specifications.

"We have received compounds from customers located all over the world," said Damico. "For example, we can spray or dip the product we receive and streamline the processes for our customers, all while they are still in their facilities continuing to operate their own production lines."

In addition to serving as an efficient means to integrate a new coating onto an existing product, the applications lab is ideal for testing new products. Suppliers can send their new rubber or metal parts to LORD for a small scale run that includes performing the next step of the process such as applying a special coating. For example, an automotive components supplier recently sent LORD a new line of bushings. LORD applied Chemlok® Adhesives to the bushing and this allowed the customer to get approval of their final bonded part more quickly and without any interruption in their own manufacturing.

LORD Corporation also has served as an outsource solution for its customers when they are in need of special assistance. Since the equipment in the applications lab is full production scale, not lab scale, LORD is able to help customers in very unique ways. Case in point is a recent project for Corry Rubber Corporation (CRC) - a privately-held Pennsylvania corporation founded in 1961 dedicated to the design and manufacture of elastomeric products through custom molding and extrusion. CRC serves a wide range of industries including automotive OEM (including Tier 1 and 2 as well as four decades of service to General Motors and Ford), plumbing, HVAC, vibration control, housewares and appliances, medical, safety, consumer and aerospace. Ernest B. Ferro, President of CRC, said he counts on LORD Corporation's expertise to grow his own business.

For example, when CRC recently secured an unexpected contract, the company was not capable of handling the existing business because of current workload. Not wanting to turn the contract away, yet cognizant of the necessity to provide high-quality products, CRC turned to LORD Corporation. Utilizing their chain-on-edge line, LORD applied the Chemlok® Adhesive on 5,000 parts and sent them to CRC for molding. This partnership allowed CRC to maintain all of their business without sacrificing quality or delivery.

"The people we work with at LORD Corporation are the best in the industry," said Ferro. "Whenever we call, LORD Corporation has no problem finding the best solution. I guess they have seen it all, as they always have the answer."

Evolving to better meet the needs of today's marketplace

Another example of LORD Corporation's proactive nature to respond to changing customer needs is by offering certain products in tote containers. As a result of a customer survey, LORD learned of the hassle of disposing empty drums and the waste associated with the 55-gallon drums containing their product. According to Tony Ciampa, Market Manager for Automotive Components, approximately a quart of the product was typically left in the drums because of the issues associated with having an efficient draining process. The situation was further complicated by waste disposal issues. LORD immediately responded by developing packaging in 330-gallon stainless steel round tote tanks for use where volume warranted this approach. The end result solves both draining and handling issues while also providing savings for customers.

"LORD Corporation is not only committed to developing innovative products that meet the needs of today's marketplace," said Ciampa, "but we also recognize the importance of evolving how we do business. From our applications lab to the manner in which we deliver our products, we are committed to serving the changing needs of our customers."

About LORD Corporation

Building on a five decade history, LORD Corporation is the global leader in developing rubber-to-metal bonding adhesives for the automotive and industrial markets. LORD offers a broad range of solutions for today's high environmental and performance demands. Such solutions range from Industrial and Automotive sealing products such as Chemlok® Adhesives and Autoseal® Coatings, to the family of Flocklok® Adhesives designed to adhere polyester/nylon fibers to substrates. LORD further establishes its leadership position with its offerings of aqueous systems, such as the MetalJacket® corrosion protection system and aqueous alternatives to their Chemlok® Adhesives product line.

LORD Corporation, with headquarters in Cary, NC, and sales in excess of $500-MM is a privately held company that designs, manufactures and markets devices and systems to manage mechanical motion and control noise and vibration; formulates, produces and sells general purpose and specialty adhesives and coatings; and develops products and systems utilizing magnetically responsive technologies. With plants in nine states and operations in 12 countries, LORD Corporation employs more than 2,400 worldwide.

Source: LORD Corporation


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