Follow the Money – A Mandrel Sleeve’s Truth

When my children and I are talking about various social, political or other issues, I often find myself using the phrase “FOLLOW THE MONEY”.  It’s funny how often this simple phrase holds true. Many answers to some of life’s question can be answered by this phrase.

Why should mandrel sleeve’s be any different? An example of this hit me in the head when I was talking with a steel producer in New Carlisle, IN. They didn’t think that they had any issues with the life of their mandrel sleeves. They shared with me that they consistently got about 8 months to a year of life on their sleeves and then the sleeve needed to be replaced due what they called “sagging, like it had no rebound or memory”. The plant manager said “It’s been that way as long as I have been here, I don’t feel we currently have any issue’s with the life of our Mandrel Sleeves”. So I asked can we “Follow the Money”?

Because they kept such detailed records on the longevity of their sleeves, it would be that kind of record keeping that would allow us to “Follow the Money” and prove to them that they should and could get a longer life span and more efficiency out of these sleeves.

So we offered the “Kastalon Challenge” – Provide us with all of the specifications, including the application and environment the mandrel sleeve will be operating in. Purchase and run the engineered Kastalon Mandrel Sleeve and if it does not last longer than your current supplier’s Mandrel Sleeve, we will supply them with another mandrel sleeve for no additional cost.

Kastalon manufactured a mandrel sleeve for their high speed steel processing line. At the rewind end of their line they have two rewind mandrels that work in tandem with each other. This would make for a great test. They installed the Kastalon sleeve and their current supplier’s sleeve as well at the same time. After the sleeves were tested for only four months it was clear on inspection some “sagging” was already showing on the current supplier’s sleeve, however, the Kastalon sleeves showed no wear or sagging whatsoever. So “ Follow the Money”. It was clear that Kastalon sleeves did in fact last longer and their assumption that they had no issue with their current supplier sleeves was not adding any profits (MONEY) to the bottom line.

They placed an order for two more Kastalon sleeves giving them a total of three. A year later they ordered one more from Kastalon. This gave them two in use and two spares that they would rotate in and out of production every six months for inspection.

A year later they placed an order for two more sleeves just as a precaution because they have never experienced mandrel sleeves that would last that long. As of today, all four of the original sleeves are still in rotation and the two ordered a year later are still in the storage warehouse yet to be used.

This is a high speed line that usually runs around 2,800 feet per minute. This customer has averaged running at around 78 percent of capacity. You can imagine the amount of times our four sleeves have expanded and collapsed in the past 5 years.  And to think they thought they did not have any issues with their mandrel longevity. I am so glad that we “FOLLOWED THE MONEY”

Mining uncovers polyurethane advantages

One of the by-products of mining involves displacing huge amounts of dirt so it only seems natural that the type of equipment that is used is coined “earth movers”. Equally as logical is the fact that the OEM’s for these types of equipment must consider certain protection from the abrasive nature of dirt and vibration. For many years, Kastalon has engineered a proprietary polyurethane formula specifically for these types of applications.

Recently, a new mining challenge was given to the Kastalon designers for their problem solving. When reeling in a 4″ diameter steel cable, protection was needed to prevent the cable from banging into the steel structure of the equipment. Historically, wood blocks had been used to shield the cable from damage. The downside was that the wood splintered and broke easily. This created a housekeeping mess which required additional labor to clean-up and replace the blocks. If the operators did not take the time for the necessary maintenance, the steel cable would get damaged from banging into the steel structure which shortened the life of the cable.

Using the same proprietary Kastalon Polyurethane® formula used for other mining applications, the designers presented an engineered polyurethane pad that had a much longer life than the wood blocks it was replacing. In fact, the first set lasted over two years, which was unprecedented. The other advantage was that when the pads did need to be replaced, they were easily replaceable.

To learn more about Kastalon mining solutions or to contact a designer for a project that needs improvement, contact Lyn at

Polyurethane improves safety in mills

In a steel or aluminum mills, safety is always a major concern. With many employees staying in the workforce longer, there is a growing concern for reducing injuries that result from heavy lifting.

Recently, an aluminum mill established a goal to limit the maximum weight lifted manually at 50 pounds. In the roll shop this was a major concern because the bearings are held in place by a large steel split ring, known as a thrust collar that is locked into place. The maintenance process of changing out the bearing requires the worker to break the ring free and remove it. These rings can typically weigh more than 60 pounds each.

Interestingly, Kastalon was able to design a custom engineered polyurethane alternative that had all of the same strength and wear characteristics of the steel ring, but only weighed 12 pounds.

The first 4 rings well exceeded the life expectancy by lasting more than a year in continuous service and proved to reduced lost time due to back injuries in that area.

Not only did the mill find a method that would protect their workforce from unsafe practices but also found a way to achieve greater efficiency.

If you would like to learn more about our metal processing solutions, contact Lyn Thorne at

Designing Rollers – Kastalon helps companies save by joining their design team!

When designing a roller assembly it is critical to take into consideration the actual application and environment that rollers will be operating in. Although the drawing might be accurate, it is essential to involve your roller manufacturer in the design phase to assist in choosing the right polyurethane compound that the roller will be covered with. Not all polyurethanes are the same, but understanding how the roller is going to be used and where the roller will be located, is essential in choosing the right material that will result in the best performance.

To avoid over engineering a roller assembly, which can affect the cost and lead time, the roller manufacturer can help choose the proper material with adequate tolerances for the specific application being planned. For example, calling out a very tight tolerance can drive up the cost of the roller unnecessarily.

This is where Kastalon can help.

Recently, a customer gave us a drawing for a new roller assembly for a new process. The engineers called out a TIR of .005. After several months of receiving the rollers as requested, they sat down with us and shared their concern that the cost of the rollers was negatively impacting their ability to sell their new system. Once they shared the actual application and environment with our design engineers it was determined by opening up the tolerance to .015, the cost could be reduced by more 20% with no effect on quality, life expectancy or system efficiency. The lead time was also significantly reduced and the outcome was the customer’s ability to deliver their new system at a lower cost and a reduced lead time.

We like to think that having us on your design team is a win, win proposition!