Virtually every manufacturing and distribution operation utilizes conveyor systems to move parts and finished products from one location to another and from one process to the next. Regardless of the products being conveyed or the processes with which the conveyor system interacts, all conveyor systems have the same basic components: belts, rollers, guides, bearings, and drives, to name a few. These are the components that provide the power and motion that enable the conveyor system to function.
However, the one conveyor system component that is easy to overlook is also one of the most critical – the conveyor transfer plate. This is the key part of the system that enables the things being conveyed to safely and efficiently move from one part of the conveyor system to another.
There are two types of transfer modes. Transfer Plates provide a smooth surface that allow for products to slide over the plate on to the next conveyor. Transfer Modules are constructed of an acetal frame and rollers or beads that provide a reduced friction solution to transfers
Improved productivity is the focus of every manufacturer as Lean manufacturing strategies continue to gain popularity. Companies are constantly looking to minimize downtime, maximize operational efficiencies, and reduce costs. What some manufacturers fail to understand, though, is that productivity can only be as good as your equipment.
Production managers everywhere are being asked to make do – and make more — with less. Less resources, less maintenance time, less skilled help. While this is certainly a challenge for anyone working on a shop floor, there is one major tip that can help maximize efficiency while minimizing maintenance and downtime – use plastic components in your manufacturing, processing, assembly, and distribution systems.
Why plastic? Because nothing resists wear, corrosion and chemicals quite like plastics. Plastic is:
It’s not hard to understand why some product designers and engineers would hesitate to use plastic bearings in their designs. After all, they’re probably used to rugged product and subsystem components like bearings being made from alloys such as steel and bronze or they simply don’t think plastics can handle tough applications or extreme environmental conditions.
The truth of the matter, though is that modern plastic bearings can endure extreme temperatures, heavy loads, and high speeds. However, it’s important to understand both the advantages and disadvantages of the options available.
Self-lubricating polymer bearings contain solid lubricants embedded in millions of tiny chambers of the fiber-reinforced material. During operation, the bearing transfers lubricant onto the shaft to help lower the CoF. Unlike a sintered-bronze bushing, polymer bearings release solid lubricants as soon as the bearing or shaft is set in motion. The fiber-reinforced materials inside the bearing withstand any high forces or edge loads. Plastic bearings can also be used on many different shaft types.
Plastics have long been identified as some of the safest and most efficient materials for a variety of uses in the food industry. Plastic sprockets are a fundamental part of any food industry conveyor system and processing machinery because their physical properties including wear resistance, wide operating temperature ranges, and superior tensile strength offer a number of crucial benefits. Plastic sprockets combine light weight, durability, and easy cleaning to provide food handling equipment manufacturers with a durable, reliable, and versatile component for a variety of food preparation and transportation systems.
In applications that require moving parts to come into contact with food being processed, FDA-compliant plastic sprockets provide superior protection against contamination because they’re easy to sterilize and tolerates disinfectants without breaking down or degrading. Plastic sprockets and other plastic components are well-suited for food preparation systems because they are strong, easy to clean, and provide non-porous surfaces that won’t harbor contaminants and bacteria or absorb odors.
While we might be better known for our standard high-quality, precision plastic molding and machined plastic parts for a wide range of industries and applications, we also provide quality custom plastic assemblies.
At Slideways, we provide full-service plastic fabrication and assembly service. Whether you need a simple plastic component assembly or a critical multi-part, tight tolerance plastic assembly, we can help. Our complete, in-house service will save you time, money, and headaches with one-stop manufacturing, assembly, and packaging processes – all with one supplier.
Our custom plastic assembly services include:
When considering a plastic compound to use for a custom machined part and a specific application, some typical properties to evaluate are temperature, impact strength, and wear resistance. Thinking about how much water a plastic component can absorb might not come immediately to mind.
But like many materials, plastics can absorb water – various plastic compounds absorb various amounts of water and the presence of absorbed water in plastics can significantly affect their performance in different ways. The rate of water absorption can cause some plastics to be preferred over others for applications that include use under water or in high humidity.
Plastics today are used in almost unlimited number of applications, many of which were previously handled by metal components, especially when the application required the part to be exposed to harsh conditions such as temperature extremes. Today’s modern plastic formulations are superior in many ways to previous generations of plastic materials; however, they come in a wide range of compounds and not all plastics are suitable for all applications. Every plastic formulation has its own unique characteristics, such as durability, tensile and impact strength, temperature range, and more.
If you’re selecting a plastic material for a specific application, it’s important to choose it based on the critical properties associated with it, such as thermal expansion – the plastic’s ability to change in shape, area, and volume in response to temperature changes. The coefficient of thermal expansion is the degree of expansion divided by the change in temperature. The higher the coefficient number, the more change in size.
Unlike metals or ceramics, plastics are viscoelastic materials – that is, they respond to stress as if they’re a combination of a viscous fluid and a plastic solid. In other words, while plastics have solid-related characteristics such as stability of form, strength — and, yes, elasticity — they also possess fluid-like properties such as flow, which can be affected by temperature, rate, and time as well as the amount of loading.
For designers and engineers used to working with metals and ceramics, plastics can be tricky – they don’t exhibit a linear stress/strain relationship. As a result, designers working with plastics for the first time often select and specify the wrong plastic materials for their applications. This unfamiliar non-linear relationship makes it vital for designers to understand stress relaxation, creep, and fatigue properties of plastic.
Plastic compounds come in a staggering array of formulations and materials for a wide range of industries, applications, and products. Selecting the right plastic material that offers excellent heat resistant properties is critical for any application in which thermal properties can be adversely affected by the environment.
High speed material handling conveyor systems are often subjected to temperature extremes. After much research into various plastic formulations that could be appropriate for high quality plastic-component conveyor systems, we determined the best plastic material for heat resistance and the applications we address is polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), commonly known by its brand name, Teflon®. PTFE is a fluorocarbon solid with a high molecular weight and one of the lowest coefficients of friction against any solid, making it ideal for high-speed, high-temp conveyor system components. In fact, PTFE performs significantly better than nylon and acetal and is comparable to ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE).
A proprietary, new high performance ultra-high molecular weight (UHMW) polyethylene compound incorporates solid lubricants to offer a lower coefficient of friction for significantly improved chain and belt performance in a wide range of conveyor and other material processing systems.