- October 01, 2000, Edward Boyle, Contributing Editor
Clear Lam Inc., an Elk Grove Village, IL, converter of films, foils, and poly laminates, prides itself on delivering "a good quality product, excellent customer service, and quick turnaround," says VP of mfg. Bob Urry.
The manufacturer of its seven European presses can make the same service-related claims, but—at least for certain types of parts—only for its European customers, according to Urry. Certain types of equipment and parts, he says, are custom built in Europe and must be shipped to customers in the US. For example, most European wide web press manufacturers simply don't stock plate cylinders and gears in the US for press repair and spare parts. That's why Clear Lam and other wide web converters utilize a small number of "roller houses" in the US that specialize in replacing and repairing flexographic press components. For the past decade, Clear Lam has relied on Murray Brothers Inc. to produce replacement plate cylinders, gears, and shafts for each of its presses.
Comparison Shopping Pays Off
Urry first discovered Murray Brothers 11 years ago when he was comparing prices for locally manufactured printing plate cylinders, and he has been relying on them ever since when specialty parts are needed for the company's 50-in. presses.
"Generally, they can make a gear and ship it to us faster than the original press manufacturers can bring them over," says Urry. "We've built a reputation for excellent customer service, and we need to be able to get replacement parts to meet our own customer demands for quick delivery."
At its 160,000-sq-ft Chicago-area facility, Clear Lam prints, laminates, and slits films and foils, primarily for the food industry. The company produces lidding materials for personal-sized packages of jellies, sauces, and cheeses, as well as laminates for "liquid packaging" such as condiments and single-serving juice containers.
All product is delivered in rolls and filled/sealed by the customer. Clear Lam uses seven central impression flexographic presses (one eight-color model and the rest six-color models) as well as dry bond laminators from PSI/Preferred Systems Inc. and Faustel. Solvent- and water-based adhesives are supplied by Rohm & Haas and Pierce & Stevens.
Murray Brothers produces the replacement plate cylinders, gears, and shafts for each of the presses. In addition, Murray straightens cylinders, reconditions worn-out bearing surfaces, and does other minor equipment repairs, reports Urry. The supplier even works with customers like Clear Lam to develop new and replacement press parts.
"To be able to offer any kind of customer service, you've got to be able to get replacement parts relatively quickly," says Urry. "There's only so much we can inventory on-site. If we go to press and realize that one of the six gears we need for a job is chipped, Murray Bros. can have a gear later that same day from scratch. We need that kind of service to compete."
Murray Brothers Inc., Hickory Hills, IL; 708/430-8111
PSI/Preferred Systems Inc., Hartford, WI; 262/673-0800; discoverpsi.com
Faustel Inc., Germantown, WI; 262/253-3333; faustel.com
Rohm & Haas Polymers and Resins North America, Philadelphia, PA; 215/592-3000; rohmandhaas.com
Pierce & Stevens Corp., Buffalo, NY; 716/856-4910