Intralox LLC, a manufacturer of modular plastic conveyor belts, has invested an estimated $1 million in a Davis-Standard dual-strand profile extrusion line at its manufacturing campus in Harahan, La., a New Orleans suburb.
The company, a subsidiary of Laitram Corp., is using the dual-strand profile line, which replaces an older line, to process solid rods made of materials such as polypropylene, polyethylene, nylon, acetal and polyetheretherketone. The rods are then used to lace plastic parts into a conveyor belt, Gregory Washington, Intralox's extrusion supervisor, said in a July 24 phone interview.
"If it wasn't for these rods holding the individual pieces together, it could not form a continuous conveyor belt," he said. "This profile is usually extruded outside of the extruder one length at a time. … Now we're able to do two rods at the same time."
The dual-strand capability also more than doubles the company's output from 125 feet per minute on the old line to 300 feet per minute on the new one without taking up additional floor space.
"That's what actually helped us on a capacity standpoint and also improved performance because instead of extruding one line at a time or one continuous rod at a time, we're able to do two lines in the same footprint that the one-line extruder would have [needed to] produce this rod," Washington said. "It saved us floor space, which is very valuable in manufacturing."
Washington said in addition to the improved capacity, the new line has doubled production speeds with a "quality that is unmatched."
"We're not throwing away scrap at the percentage that we were throwing it away before," he added.
Intralox ordered the dual-strand profile extrusion line in July 2017, with installation completed earlier this month. The line is equipped with the DS-eVUE extrusion process control system, Davis-Standard's mid-level system that allows processors to follow data trends and store recipes, among other tasks.
With the addition of the dual-strand line, Intralox now has seven profile lines at its Harahan site — four of which are from Pawcatuck, Conn.-based extrusion and converting equipment maker Davis-Standard LLC.
Intralox has been a customer of Davis-Standard's for "probably over 15 years," according to Sean Stephan, regional sales manager at Davis-Standard.
"It's great to partner with a customer like Intralox," Stephan said in a July 24 phone interview. "We overcame some challenges throughout the project, and it was great to work with somebody who was willing to give us some 'give and take' to make it all work correctly."
Davis-Standard also worked with auxiliary equipment supplier Conair Group on the project. Davis-Standard makes the extruder and Conair makes the downstream equipment, Stephan said.
"Then we bring it together as a complete system for the customer," he added.
Washington said Intralox plans to purchase an additional dual-strand profile line in another two years if capacity continues to increase.
"Moving forward — and given the footprint of our plant — we would only do dual-strand systems," he said.