Emerson & Renwick, which was founded in 1918 to manufacture and supply machinery to the local textile mills in Lancashire, remains a fully independent and privately-owned engineering company, though its product portfolio is almost unrecognisable from the early days. What has not changed is its quest for quality, and this applies equally to the in-house capabilities of its machine shop and assembly lines, as well as the ancillary equipment it sources from outside specialists.
One of the most recent cooperative partnerships it has struck is with the Danish pioneers of surface treatment, Vetaphone, whose founder Verner Eisby invented and developed the process that is now universally used and known as Corona treatment. While Vetaphone has been an established and accredited supplier of Corona technology to Emerson & Renwick for some time, it was the recent launch of the Danish company’s Web Cleaner that attracted their attention sufficiently for it to be specified for a laminator sold to an Asian customer and for E&R’s own in-house pilot line.
Developed in response to market demand from narrow web converters, Vetaphone’s universal range of web cleaning units are designed to complement the company’s extensive range of Corona treaters. The intelligent design and use of high-quality elastomer contact cleaner rolls and perforated adhesive rolls ensures that any dry unattached particle, as small as one-micron, is efficiently removed from the web. Available for single- or double-sided operation in web widths from 350 – 570mm with an operational speed up to 250m/min, the Vetaphone Web Cleaner is simple to service and maintain with the added advantage that its control can be integrated with that of the Vetaphone Corona treater for improved ergonomics.
As E&R has grown and developed its business across a number of market sectors it has positioned itself as a leading manufacturer of sophisticated roll- to-roll production machinery. By building a reputation for engineering, technology and process innovation and using the experience gained across a diverse range of applications, the company is able to support developments for ever more demanding processes and products.
Speaking for the company, Sales Director Andrew Jack stated: “Innovation lies at the heart of everything we do, whether creating enabling technologies or refining processes to enhance capabilities and productivity. When needed, we work with strategic partners to integrate sophisticated and complex source technologies to our platforms. With Vetaphone we have found great synergy at all levels of the working partnership, which is vital in offering our customers performance reliability.”
The scope of E&R technology now spreads across markets as diverse as wallcoverings, heat exchangers, and web coating. Flexo, gravure and screen techniques provide the print capability for wallcoverings, while tube- and fin-forming and assembly facilities cater for, amongst others, the automotive industry’s requirements for heat exchangers (think radiators). The web coating division utilises both vacuum and atmospheric technology for its custom coating lines and it is on the pilot coating line at the company’s HQ in Accrington that Vetaphone has installed a Web Cleaner.
“We chose to specify a Vetaphone unit for our pilot line because of our longstanding relationship with Vetaphone that has developed through extensive use of their Corona treaters. It seemed sensible to test the web cleaning device initially on our pilot coater that is located within our Technology Centre, so we could monitor its reliability and performance. It quickly proved to be successful, so we decided to use it on a production coater that is producing touch panel displays, where it is running in combination with a Vetaphone Corona treater. Both systems are working very well, and we are delighted with them,” he explained.
In addition to being privately owned and independent, the company is a highly self-sufficient operation. The main plant in Lancashire spans 6500sq/m and employs over 170 staff of which 30 are full time engineers working on the breadth of technology required to fulfil the requirements of E&R’s extensive portfolio of roll-to-roll platforms. The engineering side is also responsible for design and 3D drafting including both hardware and software for the control systems. Manufacturing includes mechanical and electrical assembly and installation, with an in-house machine shop and tool room for precision components, all compliant with ISO 9001:2015. These are augmented by the support team with R&D and lab facilities onsite.
With a US plant in Lockport NY that undertakes design, manufacturing, and assembly in addition to providing sales and support for the North American market, and now sales and service support in China, based in Guangzhou and Shanghai, E&R is spreading its wings into the global arena. As Mr Jack concluded: “We have a maxim of ‘versatility, reliability, and repeatability’ that has served us well and allowed us to become very competitive in a number of market sectors. Looking ahead, we need to maintain our attention to detail in all we do, and that includes working closely with ancillary suppliers like Vetaphone to integrate technology and maximise efficiency.”