About Ludman Industries

A rich history that begins with Allis-Chalmers over 100 years ago

Classic Allis-Chalmers Tractor

The Story of Ludman Industries

In the business for over 100 years

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Ludman Industries & Allis-Chalmers History
Ludman Industries & Allis-Chalmers History

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More on Ludman's story...

When you think of Allis-Chalmers (A-C), you may envision a bold orange tractor plowing a cornfield or the unmistakable historic A-C logo.

Allis-Chalmers Food Division
Allis-Chalmers Mining & Food Divisions

However, Allis-Chalmers, for many years, was synonymous with mining and food-grade machinery, producing materials that you rely on daily. A-C identified demand in many industries for machinery that agglomerated or crushed over- and under-sized product.

Allis-Chalmers Corporation was formed in 1901 by merging the Edward P. Allis, Fraser & Chalmers, and Gates firms. Headquartered in Milwaukee, WI USA, it employed tens of thousands of people and was a massive conglomerate for industrial equipment, until it underwent a series of divestitures in the 1980s.

Allis-Chalmers Machines that compacted material were classified as compactors and briquetters, crushing machines were known as roll crushers or granulators and flake breakers, and machines that flake and shred material were identified as flaking mills and shredding mills. These machines have maintained their names, but have evolved tremendously over the years. A-C began manufacturing these simple, but robust machines with counter-rotating rolls to compress or crush material to achieve the best solution for each end-use, near the beginning of the 20th Century.

Known for innovation and leading technology
Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla
Thomas Chalmers
Thomas Chalmers
Edward P Allis
Edward P Allis

Allis-Chalmers developed the first roll compactor, during in 1955. The company was synonymous for its inventiveness; Nikola Tesla, famed inventor and engineer, worked for Allis-Chalmers in Milwaukee, WI USA from 1919-1922.

Originally, Allis-Chalmers was approached by a rock salt producer looking for a means to convert salt fines to salable granular product.  Successful laboratory tests and implementation of Allis-Chalmers roll compactors to process rock salt drastically changed the salt industry, beginning in 1955.

Potash producers learned of Allis-Chalmers's effective compaction process and began testing their applications with the Allis-Chalmers Roll Compactor.  Impressed by its performance, a large portion of global potash mines integrated Ludman Allis-Chalmers Roll Compactors, some of which were installed as early as 1957. 

Ludman / Allis-Chalmers 2424 Roll Compactors:  The industry standard

The Model 2424 Roll Compactor became the industry's standard machine with 24 inch diameter x 24 inch face rolls. Potash producers installed Model 2424 Ludman Allis-Chalmers Roll Compactors in nearly every mine in the vast Saskatchewan potash reserves, during the 1960s. A majority of these roll compactors continue to be used today. The tremendous durability of Ludman Allis-Chalmers machines points to the engineering, design, and production expertise invested into each machine. A huge reason for Ludman Allis-Chalmers machine longevity lies in the hydrodynamic journal bearing design. The babbitted bushings and circulating oil lubrication system effectively manages the high load and slow speed operation of potash compactors.

Years of Experience Producing Many Applications for Many Industries

Allis-Chalmers and Ludman have produced roll compactors, high-precision crushers, flake lump breakers, briquetters, flaking and shredding mills to process these and many more applications, over the years:

  • Diverse fertilizers for food
  • Raw minerals
  • A variety of chemicals
  • Extensive list of foods
  • Rock salt for wintry roads
  • Food-grade table salt
  • Water softener pellets
  • Gun powder
  • Various coal applications
  • Furnace fuel
  • Recyclable waste materials
  • Water and wastewater treatment applications
  • Cereal
  • Animal feed
  • Grains, hops, barley, etc.
  • Milled grist for beer
  • Coffee beans
    Ludman Briquetter Roll
    Ludman Briquetter Roll
    Flaked Salt
    Flaked Salt
    Flaked Cereal
    Flaked Cereal

This list is just a glimpse at what our machines have processed. For more information about material that you would like processed, call or email us.

Ludman: How we were founded

Ludman Machine Company was founded in the USA by immigrant machinist Louis Jakober in 1968 to perform subcontract work for Allis-Chalmers's Mining and Food Divisions. Ludman purchased product lines from these divisions in 1986 and has continued to build upon the robust tradition of manufacturing rugged and reliable agglomeration and sizing equipment for many industries. 

After Ludman purchased Allis-Chalmers' Roll Compactor product line in 1986, the potash production industry entered into a series of expansions to increase granular potash production.  As a result, Ludman designed and manufactured ten additional Model 2424 Compactors, installed between 1989 and 1996. 

Our customers are a testament to the value Ludman provides

An executive for a potash producer near the turn of the Millennium described their experience, using Ludman Roll Compactors:

For the twelve compactors installed since 1989 and for the three original compactors upgraded since then, maintenance costs due to mechanical failure of these compactors has been virtually zero. By correct design and general arrangement, proper tools, training and spare parts support we are able to change a roll out in less than eight hours.  A hydraulic ram can be replaced in less than two hours, and a complete machine can be erected and running in less than five daysLudman Roll Compactor maintenance costs have become a 'non-issue'. It must be noted that all machines have run continuously, since their startup.  The Compactors operate 365 days per year, 24 hours per day and are maintained on an as-needed basis.

Ludman's President & CEO continues a rich history of innovation and reliability

President & CEO James P. Lenahan changed Ludman Machine Company's name to Ludman Industries in 2011 to match his vision for the company. Ludman Industries provides complete turnkey system process solutions for compaction plants, in addition to designing, building and servicing OEM compactors, briquetters, flake breakers, granulators, flaking mills, and shredding mills.

Other Ludman Industries Products and Service include:

In 2013, Ludman was named a Future 50 Company by the MMAC, under Mr. Lenahan's management.

Future 50 Company - Ludman Industries
Future 50 Company - Ludman Industries

Visit our News Page to keep up with Ludman Industries special product and service releases. If you are interested in learning more about careers at Ludman Industries, visit our Careers Page.