How Custom is a Custom Roller?

How “custom” is a custom roller? At Slideways, the short answer is “as custom as you need it.” We have extensive experience in manufacturing all kinds of conveyor system rollers in a wide range of materials for any number of applications, including unit material handling systems, food processing equipment, and conveyor chain and belt returns.

Our engineers can help you determine just the right roller solution to fit your specific need. Our custom and semi-custom rollers all come with the benefits of our high quality plastic bearings, including quiet performance, low maintenance, washdown resistance, and self-lubrication.

Does your conveyor system need to meet FDA or other regulatory compliance standards? We can manufacture custom rollers with tubing made from plastic, carbon steel, stainless steel and other materials; bearings in UHMW, nylon plastic, and steel; and shafting in carbon steel, stainless steel, as well as stub shafts. In fact, we can supply conveyor rollers with a variety of sprockets, custom shafts, special tubing material and many other specialty components. All we need for most standard conveyor systems is the between-frame dimension, measured from inside the frame to inside the frame, the conveyor roller diameter and the roller axle size.

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What are slider beds and how do they work?

Slider bedsSlider beds are guides used to improve the life and performance of the various types of timing belts.  Timing belts are normally used in conveying applications that require accurate placement and/or positioning.

At Slideways, we provide much more efficient, low-friction UHMW-PE guides specifically designed for covered and profiled timing belt conveying applications. These low-friction slider beds produce much less wear and tear on conveyor belts, allowing for more efficient conveying operations for increased through-put and decreased costs.

Our high performance UHMW-PE slider beds, are the backbone of your slider bed conveyor system, offer:

  • Reliable and low cost operation
  • Longer functional life
  • Low maintenance
  • Available for  K, KC,G, GC, F and FC style belts in most standard widths

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5 Things You Need To Know About UHMW

UHMW plasticsUltra-High Molecular Weight (UHMW) is the highest quality polyethylene (PE) available, engineered for extreme performance and a wide range of applications. Because UHMW plastics resist so many different kinds of abuse we use it for machining plastic components and chain guides destined for high-wear operations such as commercial and industrial conveyor systems.

Ultra High Molecular Weight is the secret of this polymer’s unique properties. Its high-density polyethylene resin has a molecular weight range of 3 to 6 million, compared to 300,000 to 500,000 for high molecular weight (HD-PE) resins. That difference is what ensures that this material is strong enough to withstand abrasion and impact better than lower level plastics.

UHMW-PE cannot be transformed and molded by conventional plastic processing techniques (injection molding, blow molding or thermoforming). Instead, it is shaped using techniques more commonly used for metals. Compression molding and extrusion are the most common conversion process used with this resin because it produces a stronger, more consistent product.

All types of UHMW plastic used in our custom-fabricated parts offer the following five key characteristics:

  • Noise reduction UHMW compounds interact as moving parts in such a way as to generate less noise through friction and contact with other components
  • Self-lubrication The unique molecular structure of UHMW polymers results in a self-lubricating material which exhibits excellent wear and abrasion properties as well as adding extremely high impact strength.
  • Corrosion resistance UHMW polymers resist corrosion, making them ideal for applications that put them in contact with corrosive chemicals, such as acids
  • Low friction UHMW polymers feature a low coefficient of friction, well-suited for manufacturing chain channel, wear strips, belt scrapers, guides, and rollers.
  • Low moisture absorption UHMW has an absorption rate of less than .01%, making it popular for a wide range of marine and other applications that require exposure to high levels of humidity and moisture.

The high molecular weight is what gives UHMW-PE a unique combination of high impact strength, low co-efficient of friction and abrasion resistance that outwears carbon steel 10 to 1. That’s why UHMW-PE is more suitable for many applications where lower density grades fail.

To learn more about UHMW-PE and its uses, contact the UHMW polymer professionals at Slideways. We can help you select just the right UHMW product for your product and application.

Why Conveyor Transfer Modules and Plates Are So Important

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

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Productivity can only be as good as your equipment

Thermal ExpansionImproved 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:

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What Are the Benefits of Using Plastic Bearings?

The benefits of plastic bearingsIt’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.

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Benefits of Plastic Sprockets in the Food Industry

Benefits of Plastic Sprockets in the Food IndustryPlastics 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.

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Custom Plastic Assemblies

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:

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Selecting the Right Material: Water Absorption

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.

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Selecting the Right Plastic Material: Thermal Expansion

Thermal Expansion 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.

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