Martin Automatic – Celebrating 50th anniversary

The Martin corporate headquarters is the largest steel structure the company has ever made (Source: Martin Automatic)

USA • Welcoming the international media to company headquarters in Rockford, Illinois, VP sales & marketing, Gavin Rittmeyer, said Martin Automatic was delighted to be celebrating 50 years of global activity in web automation that embraces both the essential and the extremes of engineering.

Established in 1968 by the late John Martin, and now owned by his son Jordan, the company is vertically integrated, with all design, manufacturing and production at headquarters in Rockford, where 165 employees, including sales and service personnel located around the world, have installed and maintained more than 7,500 unwind, rewind and tension control machines across 56 countries in its 50-year history. Today, around half of all machines sold are based on standard models, with the remainder being purpose designed and manufactured to order.


Along the way, the company has patented many of its inventions, including the inertia compensated dancer roller, the basis for tension control across the company’s wide range of splicing and web handling equipment. More recently, the development of Airnertia idler rollers is beginning to gain global acceptance for the way in which it transports delicate wide webs in high speed, low tension processes in the tissue sector, and highlights Rittmeyer’s claim that Martin’s knowhow in web automation extensive. “We have technology to automate processes that run from 10 to 900 m/min (33 fpm), web widths from 25 to 4000 mm (1” to 157”), and rolls up to 8000 kg with diameters up to 2400 mm (94”). Equally, we have run 30-micron LDPE and 600-Micron paperboard on the same machine”, he added.

The substrates mentioned hint at the broad range of markets served, from labels, laminates and boxes, to non-wovens like disposable hygienics, and roofing shingles and furniture. Currently, business is split approximately 25% each between narrow web, non-woven, board, and other specials.

Earlier this year Martin created an extra 20% production capacity by streamlining its shop floor to cope with increased demand for some of its larger machine types. added. The day was topped off with a visit to the unique Martin corporate headquarters nearby. Originally built for John Martin, it is the largest steel structure the company has ever made, and marks the “extreme” end of the company’s engineering skills. It is striking architecturally, and a fitting legacy to Martin Automatic’s founder.

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