Intech Power-Core Thermoplastics Engineering Blog

Actuator Redesign For High-Speed Belvac 795 Can Making Machine

Posted by Alexander Bartosch on Feb 25, 2013 12:01:00 PM

Though the necker on a can making line performs a very specialized task, the mechanical subsystems found on this machine offers a number of design lessons that can be applied more broadly by any engineer working to improve the performance and reliability of high-speed equipment.

Consider, for example, the necker’s cam-driven ram actuators. Mounted on a rotating turret and moving at speeds up to 250 strokes per minute, these rams push the round can shell onto a series of shaping dies that gradually reduce the diameter of the can to form its neck.

Traditionally, these Belvac rams have consisted of a round moving pin that translates axially within a barrel-like steel housing, with a machined keyway to keep the pin from rotating. The ram was driven directly via a pair of metal cam followers that mount on the rear end of the pin and engage a stationary cam.

That design, however, suffered from three problems in the field. For one, it required an aggressive lubrication regimen to combat ram and cam wear. For another, it allowed the pin to lift and twist in the barrel, causing premature wear that extends all the way back to the can. And lastly, the traditional design limited the operating speed of the necker.

We eliminated all three problems with a radical redesign of the ram that:

  • Eliminated the need for lubrication. The redesign replaced lubrication-hungry metals with lube-free polymers wherever possible. The redesign completely does away with the metal-on-metal wear between the cam and cam followers, which had been the primary failure mode with the traditional ram design.

  • Optimized the geometry of the ram. The redesign features a square ram, rather than round. The square ram does a far better job at managing the actuator’s on- and off-axis forces. It also guides the pin more effectively, reducing wear.

  • Removed moving mass. Thanks to the use of polymer components and structural aluminum, the redesigned ram weighs in at less than half the weight of the traditional round ram design. Total reduction of moving mass on a 10-stage line is nearly one metric ton.

Now in use by can makers around the world, the redesigned ram has offered a compelling payback. It has resulted in reduced maintenance costs, including the elimination of expensive automated lubrication systems. It has also contributed to reduced defect rates and faster line speeds.

Learn more about the redesign in our latest design case study, Redesign Improves High-Speed Can Making Machine. The case study offers a deeper look at our design process, including a glimpse at the finite element analysis (FEA) work that guided some of our decisions. The case study also highlights the side-benefits of designing for lubrication elimination.

 

Download the design case study

Tags: Belvac 595, cam follower, cam followers, reduce noise, reduce shock, reduce vibration, Self-lubricating, non-lubricated, cams, PA12GC, iCamFollowers, Cast Nylon, can making, low inertia, high load capacity, friction-reducing coating, production line shut-down, Belvac necker, Belvac 795, Belvac super k

Powercore Offers Unique Balance Of Properties

Posted by Alexander Bartosch on Jan 7, 2013 2:40:00 PM

From cheap plastics to the world’s most expensive composites, many types of polymers have been machined, molded or cast into power transmission components.  We’ve focused our development efforts on the use of a proprietary, gravity cast Polymer called Power-Core®.

Thanks to the interplay of its intrinsic physical properties and low-stress casting process, Powercore represents the ideal material choice for power transmission applications. Here’s why:

Remains Stable and Dampens Vibrations.  Power-Core has an unparalleled ability to maintain its physical properties under a broad range of operating conditions. This stability allows us to make highly accurate predictions of the material’s behavior and lifecycle even when the application has variations in moisture, temperature and chemical exposure.

In particular, Power-Core’s stability in persistent high-humidity or total-immersion conditions makes it uniquely well-suited to power transmission applications and sets it apart from other polymers. Unlike Power-Core, most high-performance polymers absorb moisture. As they do, they lose their tensile strength and swell. Power transmission components made from moisture absorbing, or “hygroscopic,” polymers can end up too weak to carry the loads they were designed for and too swollen to work with mating components.

For an idea of how severe the moisture problem can be, consider the difference between Power-Core and the much more common nylon 6. While both are nominally “polyamides,” powercore outperforms other nylon 6 and nylon 12's dramatically as moisture content increases.

Power-Core also exhibits excellent vibration damping characteristics, which contributes to its ability to reduce noise and absorb the shock loads commonly seen by power transmission components.

 

Eliminates Internal Stresses. Power-Core isn’t just a material but also a manufacturing approach that encompasses gravity casting and precision machining. We gravity cast the Power-core over metal hubs or thermally install it over rollers bearings to produce the beginnings of a cam follower, roller or gear. We then precision machine these blanks to form a finished component.

With engineering polymer applications, the interplay between manufacturing methods and the inherent polymer properties matters as much as the choice of the polymer itself.

Power-Core is no exception. In this case, the gravity casting contributes to low internal stress state that gives the polymer an inherently uniform crystalline structure. As a result, Power-Core components have a consistent machining resistance that improves overall machining precision–and allows the material to retain that precision over time. And under external load, the dense crystalline structure helps thwart the stress-induced cracks or swelling that sometimes force molded plastic components to fail prematurely.

 Contact an Engineer

Tags: Power-Core, plastic rollers, Self-lubricating, plastic gears, PA12G, Power-Core material, Nylon 6 vs Nylon12

How to avoid design compromises when the equipment function calls for cam followers

Posted by Alexander Bartosch on Sep 10, 2012 10:40:00 AM

 

How to avoid design compromises when the equipment function calls for cam followers

Engineering design is an art of compromise. To achieve a design goal — for example, a certain machine function — engineers select components based on several criteria such as functionality, reliability, component’s availability, cost, and lead times. Pro and cons are analyzed and final selection made.

In the case of cam followers, in the past engineers did not have a choice other than selecting the manufacturer. With few options available, the engineers were forced to accept a host of costly requirements and operational limitations.

Intech iCams

Whether the application calls for high or low load capacity, the design has to provide for lubrication either manually or through a central lubrication system. Rail or cam surfaces have to be hardened. In operation, lack of lubrication of the bearing or the rail surface can lead to a catastrophic failure. Over-greasing can lead to the cam follower’s skidding, causing wear, and excess grease can contaminate the product being processed.

In addition, shock and vibration can cause metal to metal impact that has to be considered. Metal particles and grease contamination often prevent equipment manufacturers from entering the growing clean room market. The relatively low rotating speed of needle bearings, their high rolling resistance, and inertia may be limiting factors in high speed equipment design.

When selecting Intech iCamFollowers® the designer can eliminate most of the disadvantages of metal cam followers. This is especially the case in designs where the cam follower’s primary function is to transmit motion and not its high load carrying capacity.

Today the trend is toward high speed, light weight, and light duty machines in processing, packaging, medical, and semi-conductor machines, which account for about 40 percent of applications. In these applications, Intech iCamFollowers® can easily carry the load, help simplify design, and better achieve the design goal.

Considering the cost associated with design and operation of metal cam followers, it pays to better understand the actual load carried by the cam followers in the application. With load data, including radial and axial forces, load duty cycle, and desired linear speed, Intech engineers can use a unique plastic roller life calculation to quickly assess whether an iCamFollower can be used.

The load capacity of Intech standard iCamFollowers® is listed on Intech’s web site and represents the maximum load the cam followers can safely carry for 100 million cycles, under both static and dynamic loads, without developing a flat or excessive wear. A consultation with Intech engineers may lead to an alternative designs, opening the way to eliminating wear and lubrication as well as the number of modifications in the machine’s design.

If iCamFollowers® can be used, the advantages, compared to metal followers are many:

For New Equipment:
* Simplified design- cost savings
* No need for surface hardening- c
an run on aluminum rails
* No rail or cam wear
* No need for lubrication- manual or automatic
* Reliability
* Higher machine speed- Lower inertia, low rolling resistance
* Shock absorption
* Wash Down- stainless steel bearings and shafts, sealed design
* Sub-zero temperatures
* Elimination of lubrication and metal particles c
an open new markets

In plant Operations:
* Eliminating Lubrication
* Eliminating rail and cam wear
* Cost savings on maintenance

* Cost savings on production shortfall
* Longer maintenance cycles
* Noise reduction
* Low cost to try if iCams work

 

Learn More

 

 

Credits: As featured in Design World May 9 2011. http://www.designworldonline.com/how-to-avoid-design-compromises-when-the-equipment-function-calls-for-cam-followers/#_

Tags: cam followers, reduce noise, reduce shock, reduce vibration, Self-lubricating, cast nylon 12, Clean rooms, moisture absorption, PA12GC, iCamFollowers, PA12C, PA12G, sub-zero temperatures, Cast Nylon

Introducing Intech Non-lubricated Linear Slides

Posted by Alexander Bartosch on Feb 2, 2012 1:09:00 PM

Below is the first look at our newest product: A non-lubricated linear Slide.

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

Cam Followers for RT Light Testers in Can Making Production Line

Posted by Simon Barrell on Aug 27, 2010 11:26:00 AM

In a high speed can making production line, light inspection is required to find pin holes and split flanges after the necking process. Once cans have been coated and sealed, these finished cans are tested for leaks using a light tester, which can detect holes 0.002” wide, smaller than a human hair, and also spot cracked flanges as small as 0.015”.

When Intech iCamFollowers® are installed on the light tester ram they ensure that 3,000+ inspections can be performed per minute, more than sufficient to keep up with the high speed can production line and offer several important benefits.

After installation, the lubrication lines originally used to grease the metal cam followers can be disconnected, cutting down on periodic maintenance and possible contamination of the can. Another important benefit is the fact that the cam propelling the ram back and forth is now protected from wear by the IPC tire.

Fitted with precision ball bearings the Intech iCamFollowers® are easy rolling and the plastic tire does absorb shock and vibration for overall smoother performance.

The Intech iCamFollowers® have also been running successfully for many years in the necking operation on Belvac neckers, both on rams made by Intech, the light weight, self-lubricating square ram, as well as on the original Belvac rams.Light tester and cam followers

Tags: cam follower, cam followers, Self-lubricating, shock load, vibration, can making, icamfollower, light tester, necking operation

Drive sprocket for Escalator handrail extends maintenance intervals

Posted by Simon Barrell on Aug 10, 2010 5:06:00 PM

“Shut down for maintenance, use the stairs please.”shut escalator

We have grown accustomed to signs like these in public places like airports, hotels or department stores. The reason for the maintenance or repair shut down is often wear or broken teeth on the main driving sprocket.

The self-lubricating, precision machined Intech Power-Core™ escalator driving sprocket helps to extend the time intervals for scheduled maintenance, is wear resistant, absorbs shock and vibration, and reduces noise for a smooth and quiet ride. They are also suitable for outdoor use as the sprocket material does not absorb moisture and teeth do not break in sub-zero temperatures, when other plastic materials become brittle.

EscalatorDrive Sprocket for Handrail

Tags: maintenance, Power-Core, precision machined, Self-lubricating, moisture absorption, sub-zero temperatures, drive sprocket, escalator

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

“Green” Manufacturing Initiative from Power-Core

Posted by Simon Barrell on Aug 7, 2009 12:38:00 PM

As manufacturers, transport operators, processors and service providers seek to achieve more environmentally benign operations, Intech Corporation steps up to the challenge with the environmentally friendly Power-Core material and Engineering calculations to predict performance wear-life and cost-savings.

Specially formulated, self-lubricating Intech Power-Core™ composite material exhibits a characteristically tension-free crystalline-structure that provides exceptional stability, quiet performance and outstanding tensile and flexural strength.

Power-Core material reduces wear, noise, vibration, maintenance, lubrication and contamination.  A key characteristic of the Power-Core material is its exceptional self-lubricating, long-wearing performance in demanding high temperature, sub-zero, high moisture, high voltage, high friction and weight bearing applications that often cause metal components to fail.

Lubrication-free Power-Core components eliminate the need for hand or centralized lubrication and the attendant problems they cause when lubricating pipes or lines dry out or the content becomes too viscous or runny and clogs or overflows into the machinery—resulting in unscheduled production line shut-down, emergency cleanup, product waste and damage to machinery, equipment, personnel, plant facilities and the environment.

Similarly, the environmentally friendly Intech Power-Core products avoid safety concerns related to worker exposure to noise and direct contact with the lubrication, lubricated parts, hazardous odors, spills, falls resulting from spills and seepage from stored lubricant or wastes.

In addition, Power-Core materials are perfect for long-wear, accuracy and quiet performance like those required in ski lift operations, high speed paper processing and converting, airplane cargo door hardware, packaging equipment, elevator guides, neo-natal incubators, x-y linear positioners, electrically insulated car painting robots and in-plant equipment subjected to demanding high speeds or frequent wash-down cycles.

Power-Core rod with cast-in metal core for machining into gears

Power-Core rod with cast-in metal core for machining into gears


 

Our Engineering team at Intech offer custom sizing and design assistance for replacing cast iron, steel, nylon and Delrin® parts with Power-Core materials.

Tags: maintenance, Power-Core, Self-lubricating, wear life, production line shut-down, high temperature