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Stretch wrapper manufacturer named “World’s Greatest,” capping company’s 40th anniversary

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

As Lantech celebrates its 40th anniversary, it is also enjoying national recognition as the “world’s greatest manufacturer of stretch wrapping equipment” by the television program “World’s Greatest!....” Lantech invented stretch wrapping in 1972, and the traits that made the company an instant industry leader, and allowed it to remain at the top for 40 years, are also what caught the attention of the “World’s Greatest!...” producers. “Most every innovation in the stretch wrapping equipment industry can be traced back to Lantech,” said Gordon Freeman, Executive Producer at How2Meida, producers of the show. “That’s what leaders do, they pioneer, grow and lead. And, that’s why this story is meaningful to our viewers.”

With more than 65,000 machines in the field worldwide, Lantech is the premier name in stretch wrapping, something the producers of “World’s Greatest!...” discovered when researching the industry. “When the producers contacted us, they said they asked users to name the best stretch wrapping company, and everyone said they should speak with us,” said Derek Jones, promotions manager for Lantech.

As part of the show, How2Media sent a film crew to the company’s Louisville, KY facilities to find out the story, and show viewers why Lantech was selected as the best in its category. “World’s Greatest!...” is a thirty-minute show dedicated to highlighting the world’s greatest companies, products, places and people. The episode featuring Lantech aired on the ION network in May, however you can see the clip on Lantech’s website at www.lantech.com.

What it takes to be “World’s Greatest”
Recognition as the leader in stretch wrapping is nothing new to Lantech. The company invented the now-standard shipping process of unitizing products on a pallet when it introduced the first commercially successful pallet stretch-wrapping machine at what is now known as Pack Expo, in 1973. The company estimates that approximately 3 billion loads per year are shipped using this technology. Today Lantech holds 175 U.S. and foreign patents for stretch-wrapping, shrink-wrapping and case-erector equipment.

Started in 1972 by brothers Pat and Bill Lancaster, Lantech’s impact on the packaging industry was felt from day one, and little has changed since, as innovation and the development of high-quality, high-efficiency machinery are still driving forces at the company today. Lantech’s 200,000 sq.-ft. headquarters in Louisville is home to one of the largest R&D programs in the industry. In 1992, it was the first packaging machinery manufacturer to institute lean processes in its operations, something that earned it a featured spot in an INC. Technology cover story.

“Our product development focus has always been aimed at improving the customer’s uptime, labor utilization and material reduction,” said Jim Lancaster, CEO. “We have people in customer plants every day, studying their operations to help us stay ahead of changing trends, and help our customers increase productivity.”

Resource conservation is a main driver in stretch wrapping technology today, along with speed and labor reduction. To reduce film usage, the company invented and patented prestretch, which triples the yield on a roll of film, turning one foot of film into three feet. The economic impact of prestretch has made it a standard feature on almost all stretch wrappers.

In November 2006, the company once again amazed Pack Expo attendees when it introduced the fastest stretch-wrapping system in the world, capable of wrapping three pallets per minute.

The most recent innovations from Lantech include LeanWrap technologies like Pallet Grip®, Machine Generated Performance Data, Load Seeking Clamp 4.0 and Metered Film Delivery. The patented Metered Film Delivery system is a new way to dispense stretch film as it’s applied to the load during the wrapping process. Metered Film Delivery overcomes many of the technical problems associated with conventional stretch wrapping. It focuses on the quality of the stretch wrapping while addressing the sustainable packaging initiatives of major retailers who want to make a positive environmental impact with packaging that delivers equal or better functionality, with material and cost savings.

“One of the major benefits of metered film delivery is that it excels at delivering and managing containment force – which is critical to shipping a load successfully – while using less film,” said Jim Lancaster. “This system delivers twice as much wrap force per revolution of film, without crushing or twisting the load.”

Under Jim Lancaster’s management, Lantech has made strategic and complementary additions to its product technologies, and broadened its global footprint for sales and sourcing. The company has nearly 400 employees and operations in the U.S. Canada, England, France, Germany, Australia, Singapore, China and The Netherlands, as well as a 60-company distributor network, to serve customers globally.

“We continue to pursue initiatives that will expand our core technologies and global exposure,” Lancaster said. “Our goal is to complete what my father and uncle started in 1972, by being the dominant global brand in secondary packaging machinery.”

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