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Intech Power-Core Thermoplastics Engineering Blog

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Roller Assembly Technology that Effortlessly Opens Doors & Partitions

  
  
Manufacturers and designers of precision sliding doors and indoor/outdoor architectural partitions are always searching for rollers that offer quiet performance and ease of operation to meet the customer’s demand for effortless, noise-free operation.

Intech Power-Core™ rollers were originally designed for demanding, high speed, linear motion devices, but have proven to be an ideal solution for use in opening doors and partitions. Intech Power-Core™ rollers and trolley systems have been designed to resist flat development, they will not absorb moisture, and do not wear out the rail. The durable, dimensionally stable tire material carries high load and retains strength over a wide temperature range (-40ºF to +140ºF).

The roller is assembled using a proprietary thermotechnology, rather than injection molding, to ensure precision and stable configuration. When combined with a precision roller bearing, this process creates properties that account for a very quiet and smooth ride.


Power-Core Track and Trolley System
INTECH Power-CoreTM Track and Trolley System



Manufacturers and designers of sliding weight-bearing products have found that Intech Power-Core™ rollers offer a unique excellence in ergonomic presentation, stability and performance under virtually any temperature, moisture or load condition. The Load capacity per trolley is 200 lb, while on our Aluminum Track and Trolley set the capacity is 400 lb.

Applications for Intech Power-Core™ roller and trolley systems include fine furniture, cabinets, sliding doors, office partitions, luxury boats, airplane cargo doors, oversize doors for commercial and industrial refrigeration units, and automatic doors for trains and commercial buildings.

Our team of in-house engineers review each application for suitability and provide expected wheel life calculations. Engineering support and assistance extends to the complete shaft and trolley system design.

Guide rollers hold camera steady on gantry suspended over race track

  
  
The average speed of a NASCAR car varies from one race track to another, it is calculated based on the winner’s lap speed through the entire race. The fastest track on the circuit is the Talladega Superspeedway, where the recorded average speed is about 188 miles per hour (303 kilometers per hour).

In order to capture video images of the race cars as they streak along the track at these phenomenal speeds, a camera needs to resist the buffeting and turbulence generated by the passing cars. Doggicam Systems adapted its patented movie camera system to create the Super Slide, a high speed light weight super-rigid rail system which allows the camera to be moved with precision and tremendous speed and acceleration.

Doggicam Super Slide with Power-Core rollers

The Doggicam Super Slide runs back and forth at high speed in a rail across a suspended gantry over the NASCAR race track


A key component, that allows the Doggicam Systems Super Slide to deliver high speed precision and move safely within inches of the subject, are the Intech Power-Core™ rollers that we supply. These rollers ensure a smooth vibration free rolling transit of the camera system along the rail, with minimum resistance, allowing it to accelerate from 0-24’ / second in just one second and reach a top speed of 25’ per / second.


Doggicam Systems Super Slide Design with Intech Power-Core rollersIntech Power-Core rollers are a key component of the Doggicam Systems Super Slide


Intech Power-Core™ rollers eliminate both the need to lubricate and rail wear and offer an ideal long-lasting solution in the demanding conditions, from extreme heat, vibration, torrential rain, to freezing temperatures, to which the Doggicam Super Slide is exposed.

Intech guide rollers are also used in mechanisms that move cameras in TV studios or on film sets, where smooth, vibration free and quiet camera operation is paramount.

Flat spot development on steel/plastic rollers in skid steer cab door

  
  

We wrote in our last post about wear on steel cam followers, below we have some more images that offer a great illustration of how flat spots occur when metal cam followers are dragged along the rail, typically because over greasing and insufficient radial load has caused the cam follower to stop rotating.

The pictures below show a metal cam follower with plastic sleave in a skid steer overhead cab door application, how the door is installed, and how the cab door roller failed. Since metal rollers were known to wear the aluminum rail, the original cab door cam followers were sleaved with Lubriloy RW-HI material (proprietary alloy of nylon 6,6). The aluminum tracks that the cab door rollers roll in are: extruded aluminum alloy 6063-T5 and 6063-T6, these also wore out to the point that doors jammed and had to be replaced.

Intech was approached by our customer to help them resolve repeated roller failure, using metal cam followers fitted with sleaves made of many different plastic materials. After completing a durability calculation Intech determined that a high load capacity roller is not necessary for this application. Instead we proposed a roller design that swapped out a needle bearing with Intech’s iCamFollower®, this has a ball bearing which offers less rolling resistance and does not need lubrication, as it has a long-lasting lubricant sealed inside the bearing.

 

Worn CamFollower resized 600
Damage can be clearly seen from the flat spot on this cam follower used in a skid slider cab door.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Three different methods were used to test Intech’s Power-Core™ cab door rollers: The first test was a simple endurance test, cycling the door open/close with a target of 4,000 cycles. The engineers let the test run for a total of about 7,000 cycles without seeing any wear on the iCamFollower®.

Worn CamFollower installed resized 600

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The same worn plastic cam follower installed in the door sliding mechanism


Intech Power-Core™ rollers eliminate both the need to lubricate and rail wear and offer an ideal long-lasting solution in the demanding conditions, from extreme heat, vibration, torrential rain, to freezing temperatures, to which the Doggicam Super Slide is exposed.

Intech guide rollers are also used in mechanisms that move cameras in TV studios or on film sets, where smooth, vibration free and quiet camera operation is paramount.

iCamFollower
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intech’s Power-Core iCamFollower®


Encouraged by the results, the final test sequence for the Intech cam followers was to complete a series of cycles while introducing Laredo dust, to simulate the real working environment.

After initial tests with 1290 cycles, there was no material deformation on Intech’s Power-Core™ roller material, and the roller had not caused any wear to the aluminum tracks. “Looking good so far” reported the customer. Several days later he added: “I stopped the test today, as the cam followers have gotten to 6300 cycles (that’s about 4300 more than our requirement). There was no wear on the wheels of the cam followers, and no wearing to speak of on the cab door tracks. We were very surprised.”

After further examination of the set of cam followers in the test stand, it was determined that they were still in good condition, so the testing was restarted, this time covering the tracks and the rollers with Arizona Caliche dust, approximately every hour. Following this dry test, the tracks were sprayed down with water and a wet testing session took place. Once again the Intech’s Power-Core iCamFollowers® surpassed expectation and showed no wear, either on the roller or on the rail.

The force required to open the skid steer cab door using the smooth rolling Intech’s Power-Core™ material was reduced by half from 50lbs to just 25lbs. The ease of opening the cab door was subsequently turned into a key selling point for the machine.

Intech’s iCamFollowers® eliminate both the need to lubricate and rail wear and offer a cost effective alternative to both metal and other plastic cam followers in numerous applications.

Sliding-door roller assembly permitted by fire and building codes

  
  
Fire and building codes were modified a decade ago to permit the use of horizontal sliding door systems in many applications. A key factor determining this change of code was the realization that modern sliding door systems could provide easer passage in an emergency than conventional swinging doors, so long as they ensured an effective barrier to fire and smoke.

The International Building Code elaborates on this issue. Section 1008.1.2 of the code states that “egress doors shall be side-hinged and swinging,” but offers an exception: “In other than Group H occupancies, horizontal sliding doors complying with Section 1008.1.3.3 are permitted in a means of egress.”
Specifically Section 1008.1.3.3 of the International Building Code requires that the horizontal door systems:
* Shall be power operated and shall be capable of being operated manually in the event of a power failure;
* Shall be openable by a simple method from both sides without special knowledge or effort;
* The force required to operate the door shall not exceed 30 pounds…to set the door in motion and 15 pounds…to close the door or open it to the minimum required width;
* The door shall be openable with a force not to exceed 15 pounds… when a force of 250 pounds…is applied perpendicular to the door adjacent to the operating device;
* The door assembly shall comply with the applicable fire protection rating and, where rated, shall be self-closing or automatic closing by smoke detection, shall be installed in accordance with NFPA 80 and shall comply with Section 715;
* The door assembly shall have an integrated standby power supply;
* The door assembly power supply shall be electrically supervised;
* The door shall open to the minimum required width within 10 seconds after activation of the operating device.

As long as the horizontal sliding-door systems meet those performance standards, they are allowed. Notwithstanding, these doors can be extremely heavy requiring a trolley and roller system capable of carrying the load smoothly and free of noise. Intech designed a swiveling trolley for a 500lb door panel with two load carrying Power-Core rollers to ensure that the load to each roller is distributed evenly. Two of the trolleys carry the door panel. A third roller, mounted independently on this custom design was used to prevent the heavy door panel from swinging sideways.


Swiveling two wheel trolley resized 600
Swiveling-two-wheel-trolley with third guide roller for heavy sliding door panel



Intech guide rollers are used in sliding doors on ships, trains and airplanes as well as in many architectural installations, and find their origin in demanding industrial applications. Intech Corporation is constantly striving to improve its roller designs and help our customers extend the life their products in heavy duty applications.

Crystalline structure absorbs energy in high speed Power-Core roller.

  
  
A special design by Intech’s engineering staff, using a composite tire material, a tested method of manufacturing and assembly, all contribute to the exceptionally quiet performance of Intech Power-Core™ rollers.

Image100 Rollers

Intech Power-Core™ rollers


The design marries a precision roller or ball bearing with an Intech Power-Core composite tire. The quiet roller ride can be attributed to the tire material with its tension-free, homogeneously crystalline structure, achieved through a unique casting process. This fine crystalline structure exhibits excellent energy absorbing properties while resisting flat development under load, while the Power-Core tire also protects the metal rail against wear.

Tires are precision-machined, and then heated in an oven to 250° to 300° F before the bearing is pressed in through a specially designed snap-in lip. After cooling, the tire is effectively shrunk onto the bearing. The precision-machined tire, with OD tolerance within 0.0001”, has excellent roundness contributing to the smooth and quiet ride.

The expected life of the roller in number of roll-overs, and flat-free time under load, are determined with a calculation and data developed by a leading university.

Guide Rollers Provide Secure Fit Under Varying Loads & Temperature

  
  
Intech was selected by Bombardier to provide replacement rollers for the guide door openingson the Orlando People Mover System.

Bombardier Transportation, with a reputation for excellence in designing high capacity urban transit systems and automated people movers, required longer wear-life rollers, with increased reliability to reduced maintenance. Our design engineers at Intech Corporation, explored how the newly introduced Intech rollers might address Bombardier Transportation’s requirements.

 

Concave Rollers For Sliding Door Hardware

Concave Rollers for Guide Door Openings

Once application details, including angle, load, door weight, linear speed, temperature variations, humidity levels, rail material and cycling information were presented, Intech was able to custom design a concave roller. The assembly features a precision machined Intech Power-Core™ tire thermally installed over a sealed ball bearing. At a load of 100 ft. lbs. per roller running at 53.82 ft/min, Intech determined roller performance life of between 500 to 700 million door-opening cycles, which could potentially provide the Orlando International Airport with 5 to 7 years of quiet, trouble-free and maintenance-free operation.

Intech Power-Core™ rollers do not absorb moisture and maintain outstanding performance characteristics throughout a temperature range that extends from -40°F to 140°F. The precision thermal-fit tire is credited with providing a reliable and secure fit under varying load and temperature situations.

After one year of continuous operation, there are no visible signs of wear on the roller surface. Additionally, Intech Power-Core™ rollers are being installed on the heavy 200 lb. glass station doors in order to reduce noise and increase resistance to grinding and wear. Station door rollers for Leg A2 are in the process of being replaced at the Orlando site with Intech Power-Core™ replacement rollers. Bombardier field technicians are installing the replacement rollers and, where applicable, will ensure that they are timed to open and close at precision-controlled intervals so that the doors orchestrate perfectly with the opening of train doors to provide a safe, smooth passage.

Please download a white paper showing many of the applications and advantages of intech rollers:

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