Representing a major commitment to the North American extrusion market, SMS group and R.L. Best have joined forces as of January 1, 2020 to further support extruders with spare parts, modernizations, field service, and installation capabilities. The combined knowledge of each company will enable them to service a variety of extrusion brands, including Sutton, SMS, INNSE, Schloemann, Meer, Farrel, and Watson-Stillman extrusion presses.
The new partnership will leverage the respective strengths of the two companies. SMS group, a leading partner in the global metals world, is the OEM with new equipment, engineering, advanced technology, and after sales services for their large install base. R.L. Best has years of experience in the extrusion industry focusing on field support, rigging, manufacture of replacement components, and equipment demos, installs, and relocations for all presses.
SMS group has been a global leader in the extrusion industry for over 100 years and has been manufacturing extrusion presses since the 1940s. The Sutton brand manufactured over 300 extrusion presses (Figure 1) in the U.S. from 1954 to 2002, which also included several SMS-designed presses for the U.S. market. However, today’s extrusion presses are manufactured at SMS in Germany or OMAV in Italy.
R.L. Best was established in 1976 by Richard L. Best in the Youngstown, OH, area to support local extrusion companies. The family-owned business—led by Ted and Mark Best, who joined their father Richard in the company over 40 years ago—is currently located in Boardman, OH, and Sanford, FL. The R.L. Best team combines their experience with quick mobile field support (Figure 2), in-house part manufacturing capabilities and a complete host of press and handling system upgrades, such as hydraulic upgrade packages. The company has many of the drawings of Farrel & Watson-Stillman presses and can machine and assemble spare parts for these and SMS presses.
SMS group in Pittsburgh, PA, supports their customer base in North America, which includes over 175 SMS, Sutton, Hasenclever, and INNSE presses currently in operation. R.L Best supports over 100 Farrel and Watson-Stillman presses in operation, as well as any other brand extrusion press or handling systems. This means that the new partnership between SMS group and R.L. Best will be able to serve over 270 extrusion presses in the North American market.
Many synergies are being created through this joint venture, including emergency repairs, expansion of field service capabilities, and increased inventory. These services will be carried out from R.L. Best’s 35,000 sq ft facility in Boardman. This facility offers a machine shop and assembly floor that support a number of services and capabilities, including design, machining, welding, assembly, and laser press alignment. R.L. Best’s field installation capabilities include rigging equipment, a 200-ton gantry crane, tractor trailers, forklifts, and equipment relocations. “Together with SMS, we can now take operations at our Boardman plant to the next level,” noted Jeff Best, an engineer at R.L. Best.
SMS group continues to be committed to the North American extrusion market. They have connected with the entire industry by offering advanced training classes on extrusion presses. A minimum of two hydraulic troubleshooting and two mechanical maintenance classes are offered in the U.S. annually as part of their TECademy program. They have trained over 170 customer maintenance personnel and engineers over the past two years in these training classes. SMS will continue to offer exciting new technology in press advancements such as linear guided rail systems for containers and crossheads, automation and control upgrades, press monitoring packages, VFDs, and robotic billet loaders.
“The partnership with R.L. Best gives us a dedicated facility for the extrusion industry,” said John Bergman, SMS general manager Business and Product Development Forging Division. “We’re very excited about this partnership, which will enhance the level of support for extruders in North America.”