Digital Magazine

Q&A: Paul Lembo of New Era Converting Machinery

New Era is a global enterprise focused on providing custom designed equipment solutions for the web handling industry. With decades of industry experience on staff, New Era can apply its engineered solutions to provide customers with web handling equipment tailored to their converting needs. New Era has a great deal of experience with coating, laminating, calendering and drying systems for a wide variety of environments, with a customer base spanning most industries which handle materials in a roll-to-roll fashion. Paul Lembo, Executive Vice President at New Era Converting Machinery, Inc. recently took some time to discuss the company’s diverse experience in the battery and energy space. Here is what he had to say:

What specific types of applications has New Era provided for machinery solutions for the battery market?

New Era’s web handling experience with nearly any material which can be handled in roll-to-roll format has provided the tools for us to be competitive in several market segments, all parts of which are important to battery production. New Era designs and manufactures pilot and production equipment for electrode coating, separator materials and vibration dampening/thermal foams such as polyurethane and silicone. Our vast experience in coating, laminating, calendering and general web handling has positioned us well to be a major player in all of these areas of energy storage component materials.

Are there any unique challenges you’ve seen that battery applications require, or are they similar to most other converting applications?

One of the great things about our industry is that almost every new project has unique challenges, making the need for a wide range of past experiences to lean on even more important. From a process perspective, integrating new technologies and learning how everyone fits into the market will be one challenge. On the production side, converting companies who are used to building one-off pieces of equipment will be challenged to ramp up their production capacities, as many customers in the energy space require multiple equipment lines in order to meet their production needs.

As the battery market continues to grow, what do you see coming for new or different converting applications?

I see converting machinery manufacturers being challenged to offer a range of integrated subsystems outside of traditional roll-to-roll converting equipment to provide clients with a sole source, and more importantly, a single integrator for process lines. Converting equipment manufacturers are being asked to provide and integrate mixing/delivery systems, automate input and output roll handling and even provide robotic solutions for material and part handling. In fact, The Battery Show in Novi, MI this past September brought together a lot of these industry players who in the past have stood alone in their efforts to sell systems to their clients. We exhibited at the show for the first time and it was excellent.

How much of New Era’s current business would you say is related to battery/EV market applications? Do you see that growing over the next few years?

As mentioned above, New Era is involved in a wide range of battery and energy storage input material processes. While this is a large component of our overall business, we are still heavily involved in adhesive tapes, aerospace, membrane/filtration media and construction products such as moisture barriers and roofing materials, to name a few. As far as growth over the coming years, the outlook for the battery market as far as volume of new equipment installations is as bright as anything I can remember. With the number of emerging technologies, all with their own unique needs from a coating and web handling perspective, we are only just getting started.

With all the potential opportunities that this market provides, does New Era plan on growing or expanding to keep up with the new business?

New Era has been growing steadily over the past few years and recently added a second manufacturing facility in Paterson, NJ, not far from our headquarters. We continue to look for good people as well as evaluate opportunities for additional physical expansion.

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