Quality measuring systems for all web-type products in various industrial sectors had long been the focus of the machine manufacturer.
For over 70 years, the name Mahlo has stood for high-quality control and measuring technology “Made in Germany”. Now, the US subsidiary, Mahlo America Inc, is celebrating its 50th birthday – and looks to a promising future.
Mahlo America Inc opened its doors for the first time in Spartanburg in 1968. Located in South Carolina, a centre of textile industry, the subsidiary of the German machine manufacturer Mahlo GmbH quickly made a name for itself in field of straightening machines and became synonymous with straightedged products. However, with the increasing move to cheaper Asian production areas, the US textile industry found itself increasingly in a crisis. Roughly 650 textile factories had to close between 1997 and 2009.
Fortunately, Mahlo had already positioned itself broadly. Quality measuring systems for all web-type products in various industrial sectors had long been the focus of the machine manufacturer. The Qualiscan QMS had been introduced decades ago. There is a wide range of sensors, traversing the running web on scanners, measure and control parameters, such as thickness, moisture, or basis weight. It is just the right tool for a fast growing plastics and coating industry.New avenues to success
Mary Heath remembers the exciting years of change. The bright office worker has been with Mahlo America for over 30 years. She had started when the company was still concentrating on textiles and carpets. But then one factory after another closed. “Our focus on the QMS-10, 10A and QMS-12 provided the growth potential that we needed to insure our long term success,” says Heath. Of course, the new path also presented some challenges: Training for sales and service staff, new customers, new sales channels. “Certainly this was a learning curve and a good piece of work to be recognised in another core competence,” says Heath. However, effort was worthwhile. Today, Mahlo is considered as one of the experts in the field of web gauging.
What you see is what you get
Eric Reber made a major contribution to this fact. The Technical Sales Manager is something like the father of web gauging at Mahlo America. He spent many years in Europe and the US working on the development of online measuring systems. “In this way, I have also acquired a certain understanding of the needs of customers,” says Reber. American customers were among the most demanding and knew exactly what they wanted. This experience has also been incorporated into the development of the Qualiscan QMS-12, the latest system. “It has enabled us to catapult ourselves out of our pursuit position in a short time and to overtake the existing technology on the market,” says Reber.
The scanners are built solidly, and the electronics absolutely reliable. After all: “The best sensors are only useful if they traverse reliably and smoothly.” With the Qualiscan QMS 12, these mechanical features, supplemented by easy-to-use software, have been used to produce a complete package that is on the advance. The spectrum of sensors with beta, x-ray, laser and unique optical measurements guarantees a wide range of applications. According to Reber, this means that almost all materials can be measured. This would help the customer to achieve greater efficiency and better quality as well as save costs.
To ensure that every customer receives the optimal system for their application and thus the desired results, the responsible persons in Spartanburg have installed a pilot line. “The interested parties send us material samples and the required parameters and then we check whether and which sensor is suitable,” explains Mike Weathers, who is mainly responsible for the tests. Only when it is certain that the measurement will work as desired will the customer receive a concrete offer. “Otherwise, both sides are only dissatisfied.” Should questions, technical problems or maintenance work arise, Mahlo has a well-trained service department which is available around the clock. The combination of technical leadership and customer proximity has turned Mahlo from an underdog into a valuable player in the field of web gauging technology.
“The many years of experience of our engineers and the constant development of the systems are reflected in our success,” says Alan Lavore, Executive Vice President of Mahlo America Inc. One of the reasons is that Mahlo stands out in terms of measuring reliability, customer service, and technical support. There is also positive news from Mahlo’s second sales market: The carpet and textile industry in the US is recovering, and many companies are investing in new technology to meet customer requirements. “The future looks bright if we keep working hard.” After all, they want to continue the decades of success story of Mahlo GmbH, which is still family-owned. “Being successful in business for over 70 years is a real testimony that we can be proud of,” says Lavore. A large part of this was contributed by the employees. “We not only have highly qualified personnel, but also people who identify with the company and its values.” Like Mary Heath, Service Manager John Flynn, Service Technician Scott Plumley and Technical Manager Mike Weathers. They have been part of the Mahlo family for well over 20 years. Coupled with motivated junior staff, they ensure that Mahlo will remain successful in the decades to come.
Mahlo GmbH belongs to the worldwide leading manufacturers of measuring, control and automation systems for the textile and finishing industry as well as the coating, film and paper sector. Mahlo is located in Saal on the Danube in lower Bavaria but operates worldwide: Six branch offices in Italy, Belgium, Spain, Brazil, China and the US serve as support stations for the key markets. Numerous international agencies and service stations offer customer support throughout the whole world.