Intech Power-Core Thermoplastics Engineering Blog

Large Cast Power-Core (TM) Propeller Dives Into Paper Pulp Mixing

Posted by Alexander Bartosch on Feb 20, 2014 8:00:00 AM

Most engineering polymers won’t stand up to the harsh conditions found inside the mixing tanks used in pulp and paper processes. High shear forces, elevated temperatures, aggressive chemicals and continuous wear can mean an early death for ordinary polymer pumps and impellers. And in fact, internal mixer components are typically made from expensive stainless steel grades or platings, not plastics.

Our Power-Core(tm) PA12GC Gravity Cast monomer, however, is different than other engineering plastics, and it has emerged as a emerged as a cost effective alternative to composites and metals in tank propeller applications. This ability to withstand the challenging conditions found in pulp and paper processing also makes Power-Core(tm) a natural fit for other types of mixers and processing machines.


Power-Core(tm) has four key characteristics that allow its use in these propeller applications:

  • Resists Aggressive Chemicals. Power-Core resists the strong acids and bases found in pulp and paper processing. As a result, the material avoids the environmental stress cracking and brittle failure that would put an end to propellers made from less capable plastics.

  • Fights Wear. Because of their continuous contact with viscous liquids, mixer propellers tend to suffer from hydroabrasion. Power-Core has an innate resistance to this wear mechanism.

  • Scales Up. The propellers measure 1,500 mm across. So none of Power-Core’s chemical and wear resistance would make much of a difference in this application if the material didn’t lend itself to large structural parts. Regarding size, Power-Core’s proprietary gravity casting process can produce stress-free parts that measure more than 3 meters across. What’s more, the Power-Core gravity casting process allows the polymer to be cast over structural steel parts. The propellers, for example, have a structural steel hub to optimize the power transmission from the shaft to the blades.

Costs Less. No one would replace steel propellers unless there was a clear advantage to polymers. Power-Core has just such an advantage in the form of a longer life than steel, which tends to give into hydroabrasion prematurely. Power-Core also has a manufacturing advantage in that it can be cast net shape, eliminating expensive machining and finishing operations required by stainless propellers.


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Tags: PA12GC, paper pulp mixer, plastic for paper pulp, Voith plastic parts, cast nylon 6, PA12G alternative, PA12C Alterative

Modified Plastic Gears For Electronic Power Steering (EPS) Systems

Posted by Alexander Bartosch on Feb 13, 2014 8:00:00 AM

At the beginning of the 1990s Electronic power steering was just beginning to hit the main stream. Delphi - since bankrupt was on the forefront of the R&D. During a ten year period numerous tests were made with plastic gears as a choice for EPS systems. Power-Core(tm) PA12 Cast Nylon plastic gears were among the top finalists.

The polymer properties of Power-Core(tm), in particular the ability to cast and mechanically bond the polymer around a metal core - aluminum, steel or brass - and insure optimum power transmission with minimum creep. The shock dampening qualities of the material allow the gears to withstand both curb shocks and obstacle ride overs. The natural tendency of the material to  return to its natural position also adds to the quality of driver feel as noticed in cornering and general steering response.

In recent months we have had a number conversations on the topic of electronic steering, the core problems seems to be the same now as they were in 1990. Unfortunately, with more performance automobiles, namely the Porsche 911 and electric cars, moving to electronic steering we are excited to have a renewed interest in our power-core plastic gears and as car people look forward to one day driving a car that we can be certain has the best electronic steering possible.

Tags: EPS, Electronic steering gear, Column Steering Gear, Electronic rack and pinion steering gear

Power-Core Withstands Pulsed High Voltages

Posted by Alexander Bartosch on Feb 6, 2014 8:57:00 AM

The development of high-voltage pulsed power systems for both research and commercial applications has created a tricky design problem related to electrical insulation. Ceramics would be the traditional choice for bushings that insulate the metal electrodes in these systems, but ceramics are bulky and expensive to manufacture.

Intech Power-Core™ has emerged as compact, cost-effective alternative to ceramics. This gravity-cast nylon 12 polymer offers a combination of electrical and physical properties that make it uniquely suited to high-voltage pulsed power applications. These include:

When used in a recent experimental design for a pulsed electron accelerator, the Power-Core insulation was cast over the system’s stainless steel electrode to form an insulating bushing. Often these bushings will have to separate different insulating media—for example, vacuum on one side and transformer oil on another. So both low-outgassing and chemical resistance can come into play simultaneously.

One advantage of casting in this application has to do with the interface between the polymer insulation and steel electrode. Casting the polymer over a knurled surface on the electrode creates a seamless mechanical interface that helps produce a stable vacuum around the electrode and prevents any leak paths between the different insulating media.

To date, we’ve helped design and test insulation for pulsed electron sources up to 400 kV with pulse durations from 20 to 30 nanoseconds in vacuum, oil and gas environments. However, our experimental data suggests that Power-Core insulation bushings could withstand pulsed voltages to 1 MV. With more development work, Power-Core bushings could go even further—to voltages in the 5 to 10 MV range.

For more detailed information about our work insulating our pulsed power supplies:Contact an Engineer

Tags: cast nylon 12, electrically insulated, PA12GC, PA12C, PA12G, Cast Nylon, Nylon 6 vs Nylon12, Nylon Vs Delrin

Intech Gears Could Eliminate Noise From Your Segway Gearbox

Posted by Alexander Bartosch on Jan 30, 2014 8:56:00 AM

Does your segway make too much noise? Have you ever wondered where it is coming from? Segway drive gears in the segway gear box are all metal (figure 1)

Segway Helical gear Gearbox

The metal on metal movement, in this beautifully constructed helical drive gearbox, creates noise. This noise can become worse with time as the gears wear.  See the video below for an example of the noise we are talking about.

Intech has conceptualized a segway replacement gear box to dampen vibration and reduce the noise of the segway metal on metal wear. Our simple bolt on attachment benefits from our  PA12GC Power-Core Cast Nylon (polyamide) which doesn't absorb moisture and won't crack in subzero conditions. The self-lubricating material allows our gears to run quietly and oil free. Removing another annoyance from the maintenance of your segway and its gearbox.

Using plastics to design high load, high shock, and highly critical applications is our specialty here at intech and being engineers the segway was always a toy we've wanted to tinker with. Making plastic gears for an application of this type was not without challenges. The first of which is the tooth root stress, you see metal gears can be much thinner and carry far more load than any plastic. The second is power transmission, very few - if any plastics can evenly and continuously transmit the power needed to drive a segway in the way its meant to operate. Imagine a right gear box transmitting less efficiently than the left and the circles or compensation a rider would need to make. Luckily, Intech's Power-core PA12GC material and its unique gravity casting process allows it to chemically bond to a metal core allowing it to transmit power evenly and continuously while perserving the benefit of a self lubricating gearing.

The retrofit is not inexpensive but if noise or vibration are causing you problems a new intech gearbox might be the solution to give you the quite and smooth riding personal movement device you've always wanted.

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Tags: Power-Core gears, cast nylon 12, gear box, gear backlash, gear design, plastic gears, Power Train Design, Plastic gear box, plastic helical gears

Vacuum Conditions Pose No Problems For Power-Core

Posted by Alexander Bartosch on Jan 23, 2014 9:52:00 AM

Of all the physical properties required of engineering polymers, vacuum stability does not come up all that often. Yet some high-tech aerospace, industrial and medical applications absolutely require polymers that won't degrade or outgas under vacuum. One such polymer is our Power-Core™ gravity cast nylon 12.

Power-Core has demonstrated its vacuum readiness not just in the field but also in testing conducted at NASA's George C. Marshall Space Flight Center. The test (SP-R-0022A) subjected Power-Core samples to a powerful vacuum of 6.0E-7 Torr at elevated temperatures of 125 C. After 24 hours, the samples were measured for total mass loss (TML) and for volatile condensable materials (VCM).  To pass the NASA test, a material must have a TML under 1% of the original specimen mass. The maximum VCM of 0.1% of the original specimen mass.

With a TML of 0.54% and a VCM of 0.01%, Power-Core passed the NASA outgassing test by a wide margin, making the material suitable for use in high-tech systems that require vacuum rated components and materials.  Power-Core's low outgassing performance under vacuum won't make a big difference in most earthbound applications. But think of its vacuum stability as yet another indicator of Power-Core overall stability under challenging environmental conditions.

The need for vacuum stability usually arises in applications that have other types of demanding materials requirements.  So keep in mind that Power-Core's biggest advantage is the ability to combine vacuum performance with other properties such as its insensitivity to moisture, corrosion and chemicals. Many vacuum application also require very high electrical insulation capabilities, which is yet another Power-Core property.


Learn more about vacuum applications

Tags: Clean Room rollers, Clean room cam followers, Clean room approved plastic, Vacuum safe plastic, Vacuum rollers

Cast Nylons Replace Structural Aluminum and Gluing Delrin Parts

Posted by Alexander Bartosch on Jan 16, 2014 10:23:00 AM

P 500 System resized 600

Robotic arms for e-coat systems have traditionally been made from aluminum, whose strength-to-weight ratio made it seem like a good choice for this application. Aluminum, however, has a downside.

Its electrical conductivity allows the arm to attract paint particles whenever the painting system experiences voltage fluctuations. The resulting paint losses quickly build up—typically to more than $300,000 per paint line annually.

To eliminate those losses, a leading paint robot manufacturer and Intech teamed up to engineer an electrically-insulating plastic arm. That engineering proved to be easier said than done for three reasons.

For one, any plastic used in the arm had to offer high-end structural properties and be capable of insulating against 100 kV charges. For another, the part is big—too big to be cost-effectively injection molded in this application. Finally, the part has a challenging geometry.

When looking for a plastic with the right balance of properties, we quickly ruled out common reinforced plastics. Both fiberglass and carbon-fiber reinforced materials would easily have met the structural requirements, but both were too conductive.

Delrin, another possibility, was a suitable insulator, but it was only available in small chunks. The robot manufacturer had also ruled out the possibility of gluing delrin to form the arm.

Ultimately, Intech's knowhow and innovation allowed for a suitable arm to be cast from  Power-Core™ cast nylon 12 and for the last 3 generations of robots has proved to be the best choice for the job. Because Power-core™ met the structural and electrical requirements and could also be cost-effectively cast into large, complex shapes, the manufacturer has been able to successfully file and receive patent protection on 5 aspects of the arm that would not have been possible were it not for Intech engineers.

Plastic Requires Design Changes

Switching from aluminum to plastics did require a rethinking of the arm design to account for differences in tensile strength. With a 40,000 psi tensile strength, aluminum could carry the robot payloads with a 100 x 100 mm cross section. The cast nylon has a tensile strength of 8,800 psi, so the cross section had to be increased and a minimum wall thickness of 15 mm had to be maintained throughout the part.

The finished arm ended up at 120 x 30 x 18 cm at its widest point. It weighs 45 kg and is capable of carrying a 150 kg.

Result: because of the uniqueness of our engineering approach and our ability to push the boundaries of our material supply beyond where other material suppliers could Intech was proud to be rated a sole supplier to the automotive paint robot supplier.

For more details on the design and manufacturing challenges using polymers, please contact us using the form to your left.


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Tags: washdown application, cast nylon 12, electrically insulated, Intech Corporation, forming nylon, non-hygroscopic, PA12C, PA12G, Cast Nylon, Power-Core material, Nylon 6 vs Nylon12, Nylon engineering, fanuc p700, Fanuc P500, Fanuc p1000, Fanuc P-20ia

Food safe Cam Followers Substitue Stainless Steel in Food Processing

Posted by Alexander Bartosch on Jan 9, 2014 10:00:00 AM

Food and beverage machinery is not always the most hospitable place for motion components such as rollers, gears and sprockets. These machines tend to inflict thermal, chemical and moisture damage that can cause many polymer components to fail prematurely. Metal components have problems of their own, in the form of corrosion or excessive wear.

Foodsafe Plastic Rollers

Power-Core™, our cast polymer, works well in these demanding food and beverage applications for two very good reasons:

  • Power-Core tolerates washdown. Power-Core’s inherent chemical resistance and high-temperature performance and Chemical Resistance allow the material to withstand aggressive washdown regimens. But it has another property that sets it apart from other engineering polymers that might seem appropriate for washdown environments: Unlike Nylon 6 and other commonly used engineering polymers, Power-Core does not absorb moisture. So Power-Core components won’t swell or lose their tensile properties in response to food and beverage cleaning practices.

  • Power-Core eliminates lubrication. Lots of applications can benefit from lubrication elimination, but few of them more so than food and beverage machines. Power-Core components require no lubrication whatsoever, which completely eliminates a potential source of contamination from food and beverage lines. Even without lubricant, Power-Core both resists wear and prevents metal-on-metal wear when used in conjunction with steel components. Stopping metal on metal wear eliminates the potential for metal particle contamination.

These two key advantages aren’t the only things Power-Core has going for it. Compared to metals, Power-Core offers cost, mass/inertia reduction and vibration damping capabilities that can benefit any moving machinery application with high-cycle requirements—including those for food and beverage.

To read more about Washdown safe plastics from Intech Power-Core download our Food  Engineering Casestudy:

Intech CS Foodsafe1 resized 600


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Tags: Food Safe Rollers, Vibration Dampening Rollers, High Shock Rollers, Bearing Failure Shock

Eliminating Noise , Malfunction, And Skidding In Sliding Door Rollers

Posted by Alexander Bartosch on Jan 2, 2014 3:15:00 PM

Of all the maintenance headaches associated with sliding doors, rollers cause most of the pain.

Bombardier Station Door Roller resized 600

Metal rollers, while still the default choice for heavy doors, require ongoing lubrication. And even when lubricated, metal rollers can eventually wear out the door track. Plastic rollers, which are too often made from common engineering thermoplastic materials, lack dimensional stability when exposed to temperature extremes and moisture. They also tend to creep, developing flat spots under static load.

When poorly designed or maintained, both metal and plastic rollers can also be noisy. In the case of metals, the noise occurs because of the metal-on-metal contact with the track. In the case of plastics, the dimensional changes and flat spots make for a rough, noisy ride.

We’ve been able to address the most common pain points associated with sliding door rollers by combining Power-Core™ materials with high-end roller bearings. These hybrid rollers have started to appear in a variety of sliding doors, including ones with

  • High-cycle requirements
  • Heavy loads
  • Demanding operating environments

These applications include cargo van doors, mall security doors, machine tool doors and more. Power-Core rollers have a number of advantages over both metals and other plastics in sliding door applications:

  • What goes around stays round. Power-Core produces highly concentric rollers that stay that way in use. The concentricity comes from precision machining of roller surfaces. And the dimensional stability is an intrinsic material property. Unlike most polymers, Power-Core does not swell if exposed to moisture. Its also stable across a wide operating temperature range of - 40 to 80ºC.
  • No flat spots. Power-Core features an entirely crystalline molecular structure that makes it more resistant to creep that results in flat spots when rollers are statically loaded over time.
  • A nice quiet ride. Power-Core rollers can damp vibration more effectively than metals. Power-Core also exhibits lower rolling resistance than metals. Taken together, these two factors result in sliding doors that operate smoothly and quietly.
  • Keep on rolling. Power-Core rollers eliminate the metal-on-metal wear that can prematurely end of the life of metal sliding door rollers and tracks. And Power-Core needs no lubrication to keep rolling.

For more information on sliding door applications—including load capabilities and design tips—read our sliding door white paper.Overmolded Plastic Roller Alternative

Dowload Your Sliding Door Whitepaper

Tags: roller design, roller bearing, Heavy Duty Rollers, over molded rollers, sliding door hardware, van door rollers, train door rollers, Acetal rollers, UHMW rollers, Neoprene Rollers, Nylon Rollers

Plastic Conveyor Rollers Support 30 tons in Pipe Handling Industry

Posted by Alexander Bartosch on Sep 26, 2013 12:42:00 PM

Of all the large, load-bearing applications for our Power-Core cast polymer, one of the most challenging has been the driven conveyor rollers for spiral welding systems. These plastic conveyor rollers, which have a v-shaped profile, can carry 60-inch oil, gas or chemical pipelines weighing up 33 tons.

describe the image

With a weight of nearly 180 pounds and a diameter of 17 inches, these heavy-duty conveyor rollers go a long way in demonstrating Power-Core’s load bearing capabilities. But there’s more to these large parts than their ability to withstand heavy loads. Power-Coreoffered three other key benefits in this heavy-duty application:

  • Wear resistance. While steel conveyor rollers could easily withstand the forces exerted by the heavy pipeline sections, the resulting metal-on-metal wear would have dramatically shortened the life of the rollers and potentially damaged the pipeline itself. Power-Core completely eliminated this wear mechanism. Power-Core also won out over urethane-coated conveyor rollers, which are commonly used in pipe coating and welding. Like Power-Core, urethane coatings protect the pipeline from metal-on-metal wear. And like Power-Core, urethanes are are non-marking, which is important in many pipe coating applications. However, Power-Core’s wear properties allow it to last two to three times longer than urethanes in pipe transport applications.

  • Dimensional stability. Compared to other thermoplastics and rubbers, Power-Core has an entirely uniform crystalline structure, extremely low internal stresses and an insensitivity to the effects of temperature and moisture. These factors enable the material to remain dimensionally stable over time. Even when continuously exposed to elevated temperatures and high forces found on a welding line, the large rollers hold their roundness specification without developing any flat spots.

  • Assembly friendly. Power-Core’s casting process makes it possible to integrate features, which allowed the roller to be integrate easily with its motor assembly. To take one example, the shaft that connects the rollers to the gear box and motor have been cast directly into the roller, which ensures the plastic won’t separate from the shaft as often happens in coated conveyor rollers.


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Tags: Pipe conveyor roller, Plastic Conveyor Rolls, Coated Pipeline roller, urethane Conveyor Rolls

Next Generation Motion Control and Engineering Meet in a Short Film

Posted by Alexander Bartosch on Sep 25, 2013 1:37:00 PM

In a recently released film named BOX, Bot & Dolly teamed up with the design director of Tron to take engineering design software and motion control technology to the next level. These robotic motion control systems have many other equally astounding applications in manufacturing. The precision of these systems is terrific, we hope you enjoy the video above.

Intech has long worked with the leaders in motion control to create elegant solutions to motion systems. As such our components play a large part in quiet, self lubricating, and maintenance free motion control. Recently we began working with pick and place robotic systems to eliminate the noise and wear associated with constantly operating robotics.

Bot and Dolly's Kuka systems robots are a great example of where Intech Power-Core components could one day reduce wear and noise and potentially improve the live production quality of a CG projected and robot controlled screen show. Our Current work in motion control has been focused on improving linear and rotary motion with our patent pending iCamfollowers, a quite rolling, self lubricating, maintenance free cam follower. As well as, our self lubricating cams for cam driven mechanical operations.

These two advancements in material application allow us to create or retrofit components in the most advanced mechanical systems on the planet. When coupled with our long term advancements in self lubricating gears, we are proud to offer a complete engineering solution for advanced self lubricating motion control and power transmission systems.

We look forward to one day seeing a BOX type production at our local theaters and hopefully helping make the motion as silent and worry free as possible.

Download our packaging design case study below to see how Intech components have already improved volume, speed, and longevity of production lines.

Download the design case study

Tags: self-lubricating gears, BOX Bot & Dolly, self lubricating motion control, Quiet cam followers, self lubricating cams