Below is the first look at our newest product: A non-lubricated linear Slide.
Intech Power-Core Thermoplastics Engineering Blog
Tags: cam follower, cam followers, maintenance, Power-Core, precision machined, minimum resistance, iCam Followers, lubrication-free, reduce noise, reduce shock, reduce vibration, plastic rollers, Self-lubricating, wear life, composite material, cast nylon 12, Linear Motion Devices, Precision Linear Slides, electrically insulated, energy efficiency, Clean rooms, Wash-downs
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.
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®.
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.
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
“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’s long-wearing, lubrication-free, heavy duty iCamFollowers® replace conventional metal cam followers
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:
Example of Sketch and Input Data for Roller Durability Calculation