Agricultural machinery, trailers, forklifts and military equipment. These are the production sectors in which Landoll is divided; a company created in 1963 by Don Landoll, present manager of the company who tells his story:
"I was born and grew up in a farm, and ever since I was a child I liked welding and building objects and metal structures. I started off repairing agricultural equipment and machinery. Then, after school, I worked for three years in a company specialised in the manufacture of equipment for parks and farms. That was my first industrial experience. In 1963 I set up my own welding facility for contract work. I employed one person only and so it took some time before starting to launch a range of products of my own. The business I created consists of 670 employees distributed in several production facilities."
"Our strong points are product diversification - continues Landoll - and the capacity of implementing it in-house. We buy the raw material and manufacture finished products with a low degree of outsourcing. In fact, we have a well-equipped facility to produce whatever is required. It is a very important aspect, especially today in which an absolute control on the production process is required, particularly in the field of agricultural machinery." Landoll explains how just-in-time-production requires a production capacity that is independent of any supplier, without considering that, in the end, whatever is produced by us is better. We are not the only ones to think in this way. In fact, by outsourcing work we risk creating potential competitors" concludes Landoll.
His products are known for their high quality and are positioned in a definitely high market segment. "The product know-how is another strong point of our company" explains Don Landoll. "We have farms and therefore know very well what job must be carried out by our machines, which helps us to develop products that meet the demands and expectations of our customers. Also from a sales point of view, our sales managers must have a thorough knowledge of our products to be able to transfer the actual added value that we are offering to potential customers."
In such a complex reality - including eight Landoll production facilities - the use of advanced technologies is of fundamental importance for the entire production to assimilate a "well oiled machine", and the lasertube forms an integral part of this mechanism. A Jumbo and an LT8 are the Adige systems installed and used to cut all the tubular components of the various machines.
"I came across the BLM GROUP at Fabtech in Chicago - says Landoll, and I was looking for the best way to further improve the manufacture of our products. Since we live in a small community, we must all do our best to increase production with the minimum amount of manual work. First of all, it is expensive and it is not easy to find.
As a result, we decided to buy the Jumbo. We needed a machine that could do everything. A smaller machine could have been faster, but would not have met all our requirements. Initially, we bought a 14" system; then we were offered a 20" system that was immediately available and we purchased it with a view to buying a smaller machine later, as soon as we were able to fill it up.
With the quality level of our products, we are constantly seeking efficient manufacturing methods. From this point of view, we certainly took a bet with the Jumbo, mainly as far as the maximum length of the machinable tubes (47 feet) which is as important as the maximum diameter. Our objective was to obtain the maximum length possible and to machine tubes up to 18 m length so as to produce with a higher efficiency without worrying about cut-offs.
In Landoll we had already gained a certain experience in tube cutting. The experience was achieved on a steel sheet cutting machine equipped with an additional modulus for tube machining in which we had to manually load one workpiece at a time. "Thanks to this experience, we immediately understood the opportunity of having a machine designed to do whatever we desired in automatic mode" points out again Landoll. "The greatest surprise that we have ever had with the Jumbo is discovering that, in the end, it is as fast as smaller machines. After all, it machines a great quantity of tube, it produces 24 hours per day, five and a half days a week."
The LT8, purchased after some time as initially envisaged, is much appreciated for its speed and excellent cut quality, as well as for its loading and unloading features. The presence of the single bar semiautomatic loader in addition to the conventional bundle loader located at the rear makes it ideal for the several single parts to be cut.
"It is a very useful and efficient configuration" points out Landoll who continues to refer to laser systems in general: "We have gained advantage in manufacturing components that required 90° junctions that can now be carried out with more accuracy and in a different manner so as to facilitate and speed up welding. We have the possibility of carrying out a very high number of machinings on the tube such as holes and slots ".
The winning point of the machine is the bezel that, remaining close to the cutting head, guarantees the suitable precision for automated welding. The facility includes 20 robotised welding units that can be used only if there are precise components.
Thinking about future investments, Landoll states: "First of all it is necessary to be able to seize the opportunities with quality products. All customers want reliable and easy to use products. Of course, cost is also important and efficiency in production must be taken into account. At present, our sales exceed our production capacity. We must therefore increase our production response and control costs and manual labour that is quite considerable".
Certainly, Landoll shows his appreciation for the BLM GROUP products and in particular for laser technology. As for the future, he is rather optimistic, expecting further investments to be made in laser systems designed to operate in the LT8 and LT JUMBO dimensional ranges.