LNS: A Steady Partner for Steady Rest Sales and Service

LNS America, a Cincinnati company with roots in Switzerland, invented the first hydraulic bar feeder (the Hydrobar®) in 1975. Since then, they quickly branched out to other machine tool accessories, including steady rests. Their reputation for unmatched products, applications experience, service and support make LNS the solid partner for SMW Autoblok in North America.

LNS started their involvement with steady rests when one of their engineers began working closely with OEMs on difficult steady rest/machine tool integration issues. LNS became the foremost expert in the field with most of their designs being one-offs. Based on their success in solving the most difficult challenges, their steady rest business grew to the point where it became its own department in 2002.

IMG_1730Branching Out
About that time, LNS determined they could increase sales substantially if they collaborated with a workholding company that already had a base product line of stock steady rests. This would reduce the number of workholders that had to be developed from scratch. They began the search for a partner. The right candidate had to have an extensive line of steady rests with quality standards that matched their own. They only found one company that met those criteria: SMW Autoblok.

Application Design Meets Quality Construction
The partnership was attractive to us as well. At the time, we did not have much experience in the integration of our steady rests to a specific machine tool for a given application. This is exactly what LNS brought to the table.

Ed Peter, Manager of Steady Rest and Workholding for LNS America, agrees that it is a win-win partnership. “For our part, SMW Autoblok’s extensive machining expertise means the steady rests we sell are precise and accurate, no matter how fine the specified tolerances are.”

IMG_2046Meeting Challenges Together
The two companies worked together to develop new designs to meet the needs of customers in the oil country, automotive, construction, aerospace and firearms industry segments.

One specific challenge that stands out was for a major construction equipment manufacturer. The team had to design a steady rest to machine a crankshaft for a monster 20-cylinder engine. This project required a tandem mount steady rest, custom designed for both capacity and arm width. It also incorporated a coolant flush at the rollers, which is standard now on most models, but was an innovation at the time.

Major Market Insights
LNS has a special relationship with major OEMs, which offers them access to an extensive database of machine drawings. This makes it easier to create unique designs for each application. They even have knowledge of machines coming down the line so we can be prepared with steady rests that will easily integrate with them in the future.

The Partnership Today
Our product line has expanded to the point that today only 5% of the steady rests the partnership produces are custom designs. But customers are always looking to get more or different capacity out of a steady rest, especially in the tight space limitations within a machine tool. When a new challenge arises, we are readily available to dive into a new project.

For customers who want to deal with a single source for all of their workholding needs, LNS also sells our compensating chuck, retractable jaw chucks, pneumatic chucks and quick jaw change chucks, all which integrate well with steady rest specific applications.

“LNS really helped us expand our steady rest market in the U.S.,” said Kyle Zellmann, our Vice President of Business Development. “Their knowledge of the market, their design expertise and customer feedback have also helped us improve the quality of our steady rests over the years.”

If you would like to discuss a unique or challenging steady rest application, please contact us and see just what our combined talents can accomplish.