Technical Support from Nordson’s EDI® Team Was Critical in Helping Legendary Auto Interiors to Produce Sheet that Is On-Spec at Required Throughput
A manufacturer which for more than 35 years has helped owners of classic cars restore their vehicle’s interior to as-new condition is making its first venture in extrusion processing, with support from Nordson Corporation’s EDI® team.
Since its founding in 1983 by owner Martin Beckenbach, Legendary Auto Interiors Ltd. has produced hundreds of thousands of soft trim components designed for retrofitting hundreds of vintage models, including many American “muscle cars” from the 1960s through the 1990s. Ranging from door panels and sun visors to upholstery and carpets, many of these components are cut, sewn, and thermoformed in-house at Legendary’s Newark, NY headquarters. For years the company relied on outside vendors to supply flexible PVC sheet for its floor mat lines, but now it has purchased its first extrusion line, including a sheet die from Nordson.
“We have had thirty-plus years of experience in cutting, sewing, and thermoforming, but none in sheet extrusion until now,” said Mr. Beckenbach. “The Nordson team played a critical role in helping us get up to speed and manufacture vinyl sheet that perfectly meets our requirements.”
While the extrusion line is refurbished, the EDI Ultraflex™ sheet die is new and is equipped with a restrictor bar to enhance control of sheet uniformity. Nordson dispatched an EDI team to provide start-up service, including hands-on training for how to operate the die, make adjustments, perform maintenance, and ensure operator safety.
“Once the die was installed, we showed the Legendary Auto Interiors team how to heat the die properly to drive the moisture out of the heaters and then start up the extrusion line to purge remnant polymer through the system,” said Nordson service technician Rick Crank. “After we explained how to adjust the die and zone temperatures to control the quality and thickness of the sheet product, the Legendary operators produced quality sheet within the desired tolerance.”
A key part of the start-up training involved taking full advantage of the restrictor bar, which is located inside the die and is externally adjustable. Nordson equips sheet dies with restrictor bars for product thicknesses above 80 mils (2 mm), noted James Winning, Nordson’s regional sales manager. “Along with the flexible upper lip that is standard with EDI extrusion dies, the restrictor bar is used to adjust the thickness profile across the width of the die,” said Mr. Winning. “One of its benefits is to ensure uniformity in the melt bank flow that occurs in the sheet just before the nip point between the rolls. In turn this uniformity reduces operational expenses and material consumption, preventing loss of material caused by surface irregularities.”
In a note to Mr. Winning, Martin Beckenbach said, “I just wanted to advise you personally that the restrictor bar is working absolutely perfectly. It is so easy to use, and I can control the bank flow with perfection.”
Legendary Auto Interiors Ltd. is using the extrusion line with the new Ultraflex die to produce its new next-generation floor mats, along with its custom vintage floor mat products, Mr. Beckenbach noted. In addition, the new extrusion capability will be used for manufacturing various gauges of sheet for many other sewn, heat sealed, and thermoformed products offered by Legendary Auto Interiors.