The hooker machine required very similar electrical components as the brusher machine but it also required a gearbox and motor with low RPM that would work in tandem with the Lenze VFD and meet their functionality, safety and programming needs. Being pleased with the level of support received from Lakeland on the brusher machine, the capabilities of the drive, the cost of the drive, and the ease of use, Tim and his team again looked to Lakeland to supply these products and support. When asked why Lakeland, Tim replied, “The delivery and support – we never wait.”
“One of the issues where your drive has really saved the day are the torque capabilities,” said Tim. “Now I can vary how much torque I put out. Without any adjustment, it was either wide open or shut-off. This drive enables us to get the torque to where we want it. This allows us to save parts, money and everything that goes along with that.”
Lakeland and Lenze ensured that the drive was wired and programmed properly to the hooker machine prior to standardizing on this drive for the remainder of the machines within the plant. “Our operators liked and knew how to use the drives, which made Lenze an easy choice,” explained Tim. “We worked together to continue to fulfill our goal of standardizing on one drive throughout the plant.”
The rotary punch press requires enough inertia to punch through the leather. “Every piece of leather is different – from animal to animal,” said Tim. “Years ago you would punch through two layers of leather. Now, they could have three or four layers of leather – and every leather differs not only in its thickness but also in its density.”
“Prior to the introduction of these drives, when a machine stalled due to it not being able to punch through the leather, they would add a larger motor on the machine,” explained Tim. “This caused major issues as the machine then started to destroy parts within it.” This resulted in safety hazards and unnecessary machinist and operator hours.
“The motor on this machine had an open pulley and belt with a jack pulley off of that to drive the hopper and feed the hooks,” said Tim. “We didn’t want any exposed belts as employees hand-feed the shoe through the hooker machine for the anvil to punch down, and this caused safety concerns.” Tim paused there to note, “Their work is amazing – how they get the spacing right every time. The lion’s share of our work is done by hand, which really sets us and the quality of Red Wing Shoe Company apart from other manufacturers.”
Red Wing Shoe Company required a higher level of safety on the new machine they were building internally.