MATTHEW JASTER, SENIOR EDITOR
Fenner Precision Polymers recently announced the acquisition of Lumsden Corporation, a leading manufacturer of industrial conveyor belting as well as related solutions for a wide variety of applications including food processing, heat treating, mining, glass treating, printing and canning.
The opportunity for collaboration began back in 2013 when Jack Krecek, divisional managing director, Fenner Precision Polymers met Glenn Farrell, CEO, Lumsden Corporation at a Lancaster Chamber of Commerce dinner and the two quickly realized their respected companies had similar interests.
“Our companies shared sales reps, customers, etc., and we developed a peer/mentorship relationship through the years. It became stronger during COVID as we navigated similar threats and challenges to our businesses,” Krecek said.
“We sell through independent sales reps throughout North America and when we started talking about acquisitions as an opportunity for growth — Lumsden Corporation came up again and again in conversation,” said Brian Slingluff, vice president and general manager, Fenner Precision Polymers -US. “We approached Lumsden with the idea that there was some synergy and a similar approach to the marketplace. It seemed like a perfect fit.”
A Shared History
Manheim Manufacturing and Belting Company started in 1911 (Manheim, Pennsylvania) by three area businessmen as a manufacturer of conveyor belting for agricultural markets.
The company’s Balata natural rubber conveyor belting soon developed a strong regional reputation, leading Manheim to supply flat power transmission belts to general industry. These power transmission belts were used by various railroads to drive the generators of electrified rail cars. The company was purchased by Fenner in 1984.
Lumsden Belting has been manufacturing metal conveyor belts in Lancaster, Pennsylvania for 45+ years. Founder Alexander D. Lumsden put an emphasis on quality, customer service and innovation for areas like food and beverage, industrial products and electronics. At one point Hoyt Wire Cloth (Lumsden Corporation) was part of a local conglomerate that included Manheim Belting and a few other companies.
“So, there was a period there where both companies had similar ownership for a number of years in Pennsylvania,” Slingluff said.
Lumsden brands include Wiremation Conveyor Belting and Flexx Flow while their other side of the business is the Hoyt Wire Cloth brand. Hoyt Wire Cloth is largely used in crushed stone, sand and gravel, concrete and asphalt, coal, and recycling applications. Wiremation is focused on food processing, heat treating, fiberglass, glass, and steel applications. Flexx Flow serves food processing markets identical to Wiremation. Under the acquisition, all product brands will be retained and rolled up under the Fenner Precision Polymers portfolio of belting and high-value component solutions.
“All of these brands overlap very well with the products and technologies offered at Fenner,” Slingluff added. “Fenner’s largest product categories are belting and high-valued components. Hoyt fits perfectly into our high-valued components business and obviously Lumsden fits into our belting business.”
When COVID hit it became evident that you needed to be in some recession-proof industries, and nothing is more recession-proof than the food and beverage market according to Slingluff.
“Food and beverage and material handling are markets that will greatly improve with the acquisition of Lumsden,” Slingluff said. “We like where these product segments fit into our overall growth strategy.”
“They sell the same way we do which is value,” he added. “Lumsden is not the lowest cost producer, they never intend to be. The products they make drive a lot of value and lower cost of ownership, and that is exactly what we’re doing here at Fenner.”
“Without question or reservation, this partnership is just the move we envisioned to take our business to the next level,” said Glenn Farrell, CEO, Lumsden Corporation in the official press release. “We’ve considered offers prior to this in the past, but always in the back of our mind was the thought of how ideal it would be to partner with Fenner, where we share the same location, similar markets, and the simple fact that they are such a trusted industry leader.”
Technology & Innovation
The acquisition allows both organizations the room to develop new products and technologies in the future. For example, Slingluff said that Lumsden is doing some things around shaping and finishing that is a little bit different in the industrial marketplace. “They also have some patented belting products that drive performance and longevity,” he added.
“There’s opportunities in this area as well,” Slingluff said. “Product development is all about getting away from metal into longstanding materials. Obviously with our relationship with Michelin, we intend to leverage that very heavily in the coming years.”
“Bundling sales will also be the norm,” Krecek added. “You’ll see an assembly line with Lumsden belts, Fenner PowerMax pulleys, tensioners, etc. It will be our ability to bring in a bundled solution to the customer, so they don’t have to look at equipment from multiple sources.”
“We expect to see a significant investment in infrastructure from the federal government,” Krecek said. “A lot of the raw materials for infrastructure are serviced by belts or wire cloth. Potentially, these new products and technologies will allow us to take advantage of some of these investments once they’re approved.”
Infrastructure investments over the next decade include growth in areas like crushed stone, sand, and gravel.
Also, the acquisition of Lumsden creates a natural extension into the company’s R&D process with polymer development, providing opportunities to engineer next-generation materials.
“We can bring a whole lot to the table as far as R&D is concerned,” Slingluff said. “With Michelin behind us, there’s a lot of support. We think we can take some of Lumsden’s technologies and try some new things.”
With Tires, Around Tires and Beyond Tires
This sums up Michelin’s current mission statement. Krecek said that Fenner fits in the ‘Beyond Tires’ objective.
“We plan to grow as fast as we can and expand beyond our core product offerings to other applications. The growth potential and market share gains all played a critical role in this decision,” Krecek said. “And we will definitely look closely at other potential acquisitions in the near future.”
The Future of Belt Applications
Belting, in general, is evolving in the transfer from metal to composites. Total cost of ownership is playing a much bigger role as the longevity of cleaner, more efficient belting products takes center stage.
“Belting fits perfectly in automation,” Slingluff said. “The more automated these manufacturing facilities become, the more they’re relying on the movement of materials through robotics. You’ll see some new innovations and opportunities in moving and conveying in the future.”
Regal Beloit Corporation has completed the merger with Rexnord Process and Motion Control (PMC) to become Regal Rexnord Corporation.
The company’s new name signifies bringing together the complementary strengths of two strong businesses and highlights their now common future as a leader in the engineering and manufacturing of power transmission solutions and high-efficiency electric motors and systems.
The new company will be comprised of four distinct business segments: Motion Control Solutions, Climate Solutions, Commercial Systems and Industrial Systems. Together, these enable air moving and HVAC solutions that keep people comfortable; agricultural and foodservice equipment that keeps the world fed; mining and manufacturing operations that keep the world moving; and conveying solutions that help keep e-commerce flowing.
Combining these two companies creates an expanded range of products to serve customers across the entire industrial powertrain. This new portfolio includes highly regarded brands from both Regal and Rexnord PMC, including Regal’s Browning, Grove Gear, Hub City, Jaure, Kop-Flex, McGill, ModSort, Sealmaster and System Plast brands, as well as PMC’s Berg, Cambridge, Centa, Falk, Rexnord and Stearns brands, among others.
In addition to more robust solutions across the industrial powertrain, Regal Rexnord will have opportunities to provide customers world-class industrial internet of things (IIoT) and digital solutions by harnessing the combined capabilities of Regal’s Perceptiv™ and Rexnord’s DiRXN® digital platforms. By integrating hardware, software and human-ware, Regal Rexnord will be well positioned to deliver best-in-class solutions optimized for reliability, performance and efficiency.
At a time when global supply chains are constrained, the combined company will leverage manufacturing facilities on five continents to help increase reliability, quality, response time and product availability.
Louis Pinkham, CEO of Regal Rexnord, commented “For over 125 years, Regal has consistently provided our customers with reliable, high quality powertrain products and solutions. Now, with the addition of Rexnord PMC, we are taking a tremendous positive step forward in Regal’s ongoing transformation, positioning the new Regal Rexnord company to create significant value for all our customers. We will provide more robust industrial powertrain solutions — comprised of our motors and critical power transmission components — to enable a range of efficiency and productivity gains for our customers. By providing more energy-efficient solutions, developed with greater intention, especially when it comes to leveraging voice of the customer, Regal Rexnord is also now in a better position to fulfill our business purpose: creating a better tomorrow by energy-efficiently converting power into motion.”
FVA and AVL have announced they are joining forces to support their customers in developing virtual transmissions at the highest level. The transition to electric drives and increasing virtualization pose new challenges for drive technology companies on a daily basis.
“By combining the FVA-Workbench’s proven design analysis capabilities with AVL’s multiphysics simulation suite, we have created the most comprehensive gearbox analysis solution available on the market. We now cover the entire development process, from concept to calibration, with high-quality methods and models. Our cooperation with the AVL-Network allows us to offer our leading products to customers around the world,” Norbert Haefke, managing director, FVA GmbH.
New developments in these areas will be available as further technical details come into play.
The Power Transmission Distributors Association (PTDA) honored several members during its recent Industry Summit that took place in Atlanta, GA on October 22, 2021.
Warren Pike Award
The PTDA has named Pamela Kan the 30th recipient of its Warren Pike Award for lifetime achievement in the power transmission/motion control (PT/MC) industry. She received her award during the PTDA 2021 Industry Summit October 22 in Atlanta.
For Pamela, what began as a short-term assignment working for her father, Bud Wisecarver, evolved into more than three decades working for Bishop-Wisecarver Corporation, which provides linear and rotary motion solutions. Today, Pamela is the sole proprietor of the certified woman-owned company.
Pamela’s role with PTDA began in 2003 with a committee assignment. She progressed through several volunteer roles, including serving on the Industry Summit Planning task force three times, including for the 2021 program, as a PTDA Foundation Trustee for five years and leading the PTDA Manufacturer Council as chair in 2011.
During her acceptance speech Pamela shared: “The number one core value of my own company is to preserve our family culture. Likewise, the PTDA family grows and changes, but the family culture has remained the same. We support one another, provide opportunities for growth and success, and embrace the different views and people that help us be our best. I’m proud to be a member of this PTDA family and am excited to be part of the ongoing growth and changes in the next 20 years.”
Robert K. Callahan Future Leaders Award
A past president and 25-year PTDA Foundation Trustee, Bob Callahan (formerly SENQCIA MAXCO LLC) was passionate about the mission of the PTDA Foundation. Bob passed away in early 2021 and, in recognition of his commitment to the advancement of new talent within the power transmissions/motion control (PT/MC) industry, the PTDA Foundation created the Robert K. Callahan Future Leaders Award. This award recognizes a young leader who exhibits a true passion for and desire to grow within the industry. The inaugural recipient of this award is Chris Gumas of Ruland Manufacturing Co., Inc.
Gumas joined Ruland in 2010 and today is the director of marketing, managing the company’s global distributor relationships, website and day-to-day commercial operations. Throughout his eleven-year tenure with Ruland, Gumas has never ceased to seek opportunities to advance his knowledge of the PT/MC industry, including his regular participation at the PTDA Leadership Development Conferences. He exudes an energy and passion that is best seen in his ability to connect with individuals across all levels of the industry — from those beginning their careers to seasoned PTDA leaders.
Wendy B. McDonald Award
This year’s recipient of the Wendy B. McDonald Award is Barbara J. Ross of Garlock Sealing Technologies. Ross began her career at Garlock in 1973, working alongside her father. What started as a summer job evolved into a 46-year career in the PT/MC industry.
At Garlock, Ross honed her skills working for various departments — from finance to marketing to administration — before being named the company’s first female distribution center manager. With this distinction came a move from upstate New York to Atlanta. Additional career advancements within the industry and relocations proved promising for Ross, who soon discovered her niche in marketing. In 2014, Ross became the VP of sales and marketing for Garlock’s Rotating Seal Division, a role in which she continues to lead and find fulfilment.
Her success in the PT/MC workforce is what she considers one of her greatest achievements. She draws inspiration from the words of friend, colleague and award namesake Wendy McDonald: “You have to work at something to make it a success.” Ross continues to channel her passion into helping others in the PT/MC industry carve their own path to success. She says the key is to “be prepared, listen, be responsive, do what you say you’re going to do and admit if you don’t know something.”