When Orest Lebed made a recent trip to Dusenbery Worldwide, UK, Pauline Covell caught up with the company's president

“We’re taking the best of both worlds; we’ll intermix the expertise and we’ll create a global machinery company,” predicted Orest Lebed, the recently appointed president of the newly branded Dusenbery Worldwide.

The slitter and rewinder company names of John Dusenbery (USA) and Dusenbery Europe (UK) have both disappeared in the bid to market the different technologies previously developed on one or other side of the Atlantic on a global basis. Where before there was almost friendly rivalry between the two operations, now there is a clear desire for joined-up marketing and technology. And at next April’s CMM show, newly styled machinery from both former companies is planned for the booth. A worldwide look is promised.

In an exclusive interview, the previous director of sales and marketing with over 20 years service with the US arm of the company told Converting Today: “The two companies were operating as separate entities. They were chasing different customers and different machines. Now together we will be ‘imagineering’ and our marketing people from both centres are writing global plans.

“We’ll be using the strengths of both teams to bring a presentation of new equipment to the market. In Europe we have the narrow slit width technology, the precision slitter rewinding and automatic handling and, from the USA, the quick changeover systems and the automatic knife positioning.”

Asset change

How did it all come about? John Dusenbery – now chairman of the company – came to three of us with 20 years with the company. The upshot was a transaction where we have 30 per cent of the assets. He wants the name Dusenbery to go on beyond his life,” explained Orest Lebed.

It’s easy to rebrand a company on paper, but how in reality will it be made to work? He expanded: “There is technology developed in the UK which we can use in the USA. Let me give you an example of that intermixing. In the USA we have a conventional trim system, whereas in Europe trim winders are common. The USA market has recently been asking for trim winders – and we can tell them we already make them.”

In a move to integrate the two engineering departments, the company has installed videophones for regular discussions between mechanical and electrical teams as well as technical sales. “It is so refreshing to be able to send conceptual drawings to another set of eyes and to hear someone saying ‘what a great design’. The phrase ‘not invented here’ does not exist in this company,” he emphasized.

“Certainly we will still see centres of excellence – the thermal transfer ribbon (TTR) type slitters are well known from Europe, and flexible packaging film machines are a tradition from the USA end.”

The company’s intention is clearly to look at the highly populated and competitive European packaging film market, it is understood.

How will Dusenbery cope with European requirements? “Our CAD system can easily do the necessary adjustments. Actually the USA is much more receptive to metric than Europe is to Imperial. For making CE required changes it is easier – we can build in the USA and do the electronics in the UK,” he explained.

“This industry is market driven. Technology relies on the input of the market. What we have done is to combine the input and we can now look to find global rather than two local market solutions. And we can truly supply integrated after sales service. Where in the past the UK based people came out to service their customers in the USA, now the US guys have been over to the UK to learn about the equipment and can service the USA.”

He does of course see differences between the two markets. “In Europe there is a demand for more automatic handling and reduced cycle times, whereas in the USA we see reducing changeover times. No one builds inventory in the USA.”

What can we expect in terms of new technology from the company that spent some $450,000 on R & D last year? “We have developed a new full width top riding roll system (lay-on roll) that will take out all the set-up.” Patent approval is expected soon for the system, which will remove much of the operator intervention from the process. The technology will be shown at CMM next year.

In another development the company has been working on core positioning on differential airshafts. “With the laser method there is still some skill needed from the operator – they still have to align to the light. We have come up with two different ways – both requiring no skill. The first is aimed at being a cost effective solution for the converter who can’t afford the Cadillac. The second is the Rolls Royce answer.” Not prepared to reveal more before the roll-out at CMM, he did say that both “positively positioned the cores”.

And markets to look out for? Eastern Europe and China were seen as interesting and industries such as non wovens and synthetic papers are likely to prove positive.