Intech Power-Core Thermoplastics Engineering Blog

Simon Barrell

Recent Posts

Guide rollers hold camera steady on gantry suspended over race track

Posted by Simon Barrell on Jun 15, 2010 3:22:00 PM

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.

Tags: minimum resistance, vibration, Intech rollers, guide rollers, Power-Core rollers, rail wear, rigid rail system

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

Posted by Simon Barrell on May 26, 2010 4:00:00 PM

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.

Tags: cam followers, iCam Followers, lubrication-free, roller design, Intech rollers, Power-Core rollers, high load capacity, durability, rail wear, ball bearing, cab door, needle bearing, roller failure, skid steer

Are steel cam followers overrated for use in packaging machines?

Posted by Simon Barrell on May 12, 2010 4:40:00 PM

“Metal cam followers are overrated” said one packaging engineer in a recent conversation when asked why he opted for Intech’s iCamFollowers®. Here is why we agree with his opinion:

It seems that a large number of cam followers, metal ones that is, are used for their convenience not their load carrying capacity. Tap out a hole and you are ready to install a cam follower, providing designers with an instant “wheel” that allows parts of machines to move back and forth. The cam follower was not selected for its load capacity, rather enabling a movement required by the process.

There is a price to pay for this convenience. The rail on which the metal cam follower runs has to be periodically lubricated, as does the needle bearing in the cam follower. Lubrication, especially surface lubrication can contaminate packages and is a constant burden on maintenance. If you do not lubricate, the rail will wear and if you apply too much grease, there is a good chance that some of it will end up on the product. Over greasing of the cam followers’ needle bearing may cause the cam follower to stop rotating and instead be “dragged” along, causing a flat spot on the outer racer and excessive wear on the rail. This can happen when the radial load is relatively light for the heavy duty cam follower or if the radial load drops to zero during the operating cycle, for example on cams where the cam followers are used to exert force in only a portion of 360° rotation of the cam.

To replace a damaged cam follower is relatively inexpensive, while replacing a fixed rail or a cam can cost days of down time. Grease contaminated products carry their own cost.

Intech’s iCamFollowers® eliminate both the need to lubricate and rail wear and offer a cost effective alternative to metal cam followers in most packaging applications. The easy rolling, precision ball bearings thermally installed in the plastic tire offer very little rolling resistance and are lubricated for life. This ensures a smooth rolling motion even in light duty applications. Not to worry, the iCams will also carry heavy loads. Intech engineers developed a load / life expectancy calculation and the resulting load data allows engineers to select a cam follower suitable for the load in their application. So for example the IPC – 1.500 iCam will carry 300 lbs for 100 million cycles (1 cycle = one 360° rotation) without developing a flat or wearing out. Most importantly, it will not wear out the rail, steel or aluminum.

In addition to being able to carry high loads, the plastic tire will absorb shock & vibration, reduce rolling resistance, cut noise by up to 10 dB, and will work in sub-zero temperatures. For wash down applications the cam follower is delivered with stainless steel shafts and bearings. All this without lubrication or rail wear.

Intech’s iCamFollowers® also open up the way to more cost effective designs. Since iCamFollowers do not wear out the rails, designers can run the iCams directly on aluminum frames, without having to use steel or stainless steel strips to prevent rail wear. To further simplify the design central lubrication systems’ need for cam follower lubrication can be eliminated.

Are metal cam followers in your application overrated? Intech engineers can help you to determine that.

Intech iCamFollowers

Intech’s long-wearing, lubrication-free, heavy duty iCamFollowers® replace conventional metal cam followers

Tags: cam followers, iCam Followers, lubrication-free, vibration, roller life, rail wear, flat spot, outer racer, prceision ball bearings, radial load

Power-Core gear segment and pinion in high-speed card feeder

Posted by Simon Barrell on May 4, 2010 4:54:00 PM

A high frequency reciprocating gear and pinion being used in a feeder to insert postcards into magazines was suffering frequent breakdowns. Sealing the gearbox to permit lubrication that would prevent wear was not an option, and so Intech was approached to design a non-lubricated solution that could accommodate shock loads 5 to 10 times higher than the running torque of the application.

Intech Power-Core™ gears exhibit a high load sharing factor, an important quality when handling e-stops or shock loads. The load sharing factor, a measure of multiplying the load-bearing capacity of an individual tooth, is optimized for each application. Because the key way is cut into the metal hub and not the plastic, Power-Core eliminates the weak spot inherent in conventional plastic gears.

The metal hub absorbs all key way stresses, transferring maximum torque to the composite gear teeth. The teeth are made of a lightweight plastic composite, weighing just 0.037 pounds per cubic inch.



Intech Power-Core Segment Gear Pinion
A non-lubricated plastic pinion replaced a metal gear, eliminating breakdowns in a high-speed card feeder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Torque of Power-Core gear approximates that of cast iron, but without the brittleness, weight, lubrication, and teeth breakage. As a result, Power-Core gears can reach higher speeds, increasing the throughput of your equipment. We can precisely calculate torque capacity, allowing Power-Core gears to replace metal gears in many applications.

Power-Core gears can operate without lubrication at pitch line speeds up to 15 feet per second. When a special friction-reducing coating is added, you can double gear speed to 30 feet per second.

Tags: Power-Core gears, lubrication-free, shock load, non-lubricated, plastic gears, friction-reducing coating, load-bearing capacity, card feeder, composite gear teeth, gear speed, metal gears, plastic pinion, running torque

Double-rowed Power-Core drive sprocket in packaging machine

Posted by Simon Barrell on Apr 19, 2010 5:20:00 PM

In food industry applications lubrication is always an issue, so for a packaging machine we designed a composite double-rowed drive sprocket machined from Intech Power-Core™ material with a SS core that prevents abrasion on the steel chain, even at high operating speeds.

This chemical resistant sprocket is corrosion proof and ensures that no lubricant is required which could contaminate the food.


Double rowed drive socket
Double rowed-drive sprocket used in a packaging machine


 

 

 

 

 

 

One drive sprocket is used for two different chain circuits, and this component provides an integrated solution with a cast-in stainless steel hub to securely attach both sprockets to the shaft.

Intech Power-Core™ sprockets are available with or without metal core. The material’s properties lend themselves to superior wear characteristics of the sprocket teeth. Intech Power-Core™ sprockets do not wear out the chain, reduce noise and absorb shock and vibration.

Tags: Power-Core, reduce noise, reduce shock, reduce vibration, stainless steel, drive sprocket, packaging machine, corrosion proof, wear characteristics

Sliding-door roller assembly permitted by fire and building codes

Posted by Simon Barrell on Apr 6, 2010 1:16:00 PM

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.

Tags: Intech rollers, Power-Core rollers, Trolley Assembly, guide roller, horizontal sliding door, International Building Code, sliding door, roller assembly

No Embrittlement on Guide Rollers for Whistler Peak 2 Peak Cable Cars

Posted by Simon Barrell on Mar 31, 2010 1:56:00 PM

When you are hanging a record 1,430 feet above the ground in a heavy cable car you want to be sure that the rollers it is running on don’t suffer from embrittlement at low temperatures (-40°C). The Peak 2 Peak Gondola recently opened in Winter Olympics venue Whistler, British Columbia holds world records for the longest free span between ropeway towers (1.88 miles) and the highest point above the ground—436 meters (those same 1,430 feet).


Cable Car Rollers for Doppe resized 600
Intech Power-Core Roller Mounting for Cable Car


Each of the 28 gondola cabins suspended on the 2.73 mile long cable is carried by a sophisticated roller mounting that has high resistance to abrasion under extreme conditions, as well as sound ultraviolet resistance. Those rollers are made with Intech Power-Core™ material and a rolled aluminum core, and they have a life-span in excess of 10 years to satisfy stringent safety requirements.

If you are lucky enough to spend some time in beautiful Whistler, and travel on the Peak 2 Peak gondola, do so confident in the high fatigue limit of the rollers that are carrying you across the valley. Intech Power-Core™ material is the only existing high-performance plastic which fulfills the broad spectrum of requirements set down by the cable car manufacturer to ensure your safety.


Tags: Power-Core rollers, low temperatures, Power-Core material, aluminum core, embrittlement, fatigue limit, roller mounting, ultraviolet resistance

Combating vibration, shaft bearings are only as good as their grease

Posted by Simon Barrell on Mar 16, 2010 4:02:00 PM

Intech Power-Core™ guide rollers and iCamFollowers™ absorb shock and vibration and their life is typically calculated for 100 million cycles, a performance relying in part on longevity of the roller bearings installed inside the plastic tires. Tests have found that degraded lubrication is the leading cause of bearing failure.

In harsh environments with high shock load frequency, combined with high humidity, some grease types can liquefy, then this will cause leakage from the bearing seals or can produce an added churning-friction effect on the bearing. As a result, in high speed applications, the operating temperatures will rise significantly, compounding the breakdown of the grease properties and resulting in premature bearing failure.

We have identified a new type of lubricant to improve our rollers resistance to shock and vibration by providing lubrication to the bearing when operating under extreme conditions. The grease, NLGI No. 2, has shown a consistent mechanical stability and less churning or deterioration than other lubricants.

We have been able to apply this newly acquired knowledge in a case of premature bearing failure in guide rollers used in a train sliding door in Florida. Exposure to high frequency vibration and high humidity caused a bearing failure while the plastic tire remained intact. By regreasing the guide roller bearings with the NLGI No. 2 grease, we have been able to better match the expected life of both the plastic tire and the bearings.

Intech Corporation is constantly striving to improve its products and certainly the discovery of this grease’s properties helps our customers extend the life of our rollers and bearings in shock and vibration applications.

Cam follower for packaging application 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cam follower for packaging application

 

Concave, v-shaped, flat tire rollers

Concave, v-shaped, flat tire rollers

 Intech Rollers for High Security Door

Intech Rollers for High Security Door

Tags: cam followers, roller bearing, shock load, vibration, roller life, plastic tires, bearing failure, grease, lubrication

“Will plastic rollers or cam followers last in my application?”

Posted by Simon Barrell on Mar 1, 2010 5:22:00 PM

Together with a leading university we developed a roller life calculation, to reassure our customers of the reliability of Intech Power-Core™ rollers. This formula includes calculation of flat development and number of expected life cycles.

The roller life calculation is based on experimental data collected in tests over a period of three years. We can say with confidence that the calculation has become a reliable predictive tool for durability of plastic rollers.

Frequently we get asked about the durability of our plastic rollers and cam followers. We thought it would be good to give readers a quick link from our blog to the Roller Card, which you can download, edit and then send to us with data pertinent to your application:
http://www.intechpower.com/Roller_Calculation.html

Sketch for Roller Calculation Data Card resized 600

Example of Sketch and Input Data for Roller Durability Calculation

Tags: iCam Followers, plastic rollers, Power-Core rollers, durability, roller life calculation

High speed rotating face cams machined from Power-Core™ outlast steel

Posted by Simon Barrell on Feb 2, 2010 1:23:00 PM

Exact steerage requires dimensionally stable cam tracks with narrow tolerances. Our cams are precision machined from solid blocks of cast Intech Power-Core™ material, offering a longer lasting solution than stainless steel.

In high speed machines Intech Power-Core™ cams exhibit damping behavior which leads to reduced stress peaks. Additionally the high performance plastic cam offers exceptional resistance to wear with limited or no lubrication, which is critical to avoid contamination.

The face cam converts circular motion to linear motion or vice versa, typically it is a disc with a groove cut in its face, in which a cam follower travels. The attached image shows such a cam used in a tableting machine.

In this case the customer required self-lubricating material performance and had experienced constant stress problems using cams machined from plastic materials with low levels of crystallinity, such as Delrin®. However they found that Power-Core™ material, with higher crystallinity levels, can be used to produce a more stable cam that does not suffer stress peaks.

Industries in which our cams have been used include packaging, food processing, printing, as well as stitching machines and other general engineering applications.

In high speed machines Intech Power-Core™ cams exhibit damping behavior which leads to reduced stress peaks. Additionally the high performance plastic cam offers exceptional resistance to wear with limited or no lubrication, which is critical to avoid contamination.


The face cam converts circular motion to linear motion or vice versa, typically it is a disc with a groove cut in its face, in which a cam follower travels. The attached image shows such a cam used in a tableting machine.

In this case the customer required self-lubricating material performance and had experienced constant stress problems using cams machined from plastic materials with low levels of crystallinity, such as Delrin®. However they found that Power-Core™ material, with higher crystallinity levels, can be used to produce a more stable cam that does not suffer stress peaks.

Industries in which our cams have been used include packaging, food processing, printing, as well as stitching machines and other general engineering applications.

Face Cam for Tableting Mach resized 600

Face Cam precision machined from cast Intech Power-Core™ material reduces inertia, absorb shock and vibration.

Tags: Power-Core, Self-lubricating, shock load, vibration, non-lubricated, stainless steel, cams, crystallinity, Delrin, face cam, stress peaks, tableting machine