Intech Power-Core Thermoplastics Engineering Blog

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.









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

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

“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:

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

Self-Lubricating cam followers replace steel in outdoor applications

Posted by Simon Barrell on Nov 16, 2009 11:09:00 AM

Our customers have been asking us to help them with components for machines that will operate in ever harsher conditions. Intech iCam Followers® and Power-Core™ guide rollers feature a unique crystalline structure that is resistant to flow under static load, and provides long-wearing, non-lubricated performance. The devices do not wear out the rail, do not absorb moisture and, when fitted with stainless steel bearings, are suitable for wash downs and harsh and corrosive environments.

Unlike other plastic material, Power-Core™ does not become brittle in low temperatures. iCam Followers® and Power-Core guide rollers reduce maintenance and down time by retaining good bearing fit from -40° to 160° F, retaining elasticity, and absorbing shock and vibration in sub-zero temperatures. The devices are not only quiet and easy rolling, they do not generate metal particles, which can further increase down time potential.

Intech Rollers for High Security Door
Intech Rollers for High Security Door

Intech Power-Core rollers, cam followers, and trolleys are assembled from precision machined high performance, self lubricating engineered plastic tires and quality roller bearings. The plastic part of the roller fully envelopes and embraces the bearing outer racer which in turn provides high capacity to carry side loads.

The Power-Core rollers and iCam Followers® are available in stock sizes with load capacity from 60 to 500 lbs. Trolley assemblies feature aluminum track and trolley systems with attachments. Custom sizes and dimensions and tire shapes can be developed to meet specific applications.

Tags: Power-Core, self-lubricating gears, guide rollers, Power-Core rollers, Trolley Assembly, low temperatures, plastic tires, bearing fit, iCamFollowers, roller bearings, trolley assemblies