At Slideways, We Thrive on Design Challenges!
Customer Challenges are a big part of Slideways’ new product development program. We encourage challenges from our customers and develop inventive customized solutions. Here are two examples of how using the right weight and type of custom plastic extrusion (UMHW or ABS) resolved the problems:
1. Slideways’ Design Eliminates Rejects on Assembly Machine
The Challenge: The existing part could not maintain a necessary flatness. The warped part damaged leads on the electronic components, which caused boards to be rejected. Static buildup on the part also created rejects.
Slideways Solution – Close coordination with the customer identifies the problem and develops a custom chain guide to eliminate the reject problem. Slideways worked closely with the customer to determine how the existing design was failing. The customer wanted to stay with UHMW for its no-maintenance, long-life properties. Using our knowledge of the application and properties of UHMW, we designed a new part comprised of an aluminum base and an anti-static UHMW chain guide. The base is mechanically fastened to the chain guide, giving the UHMW the stability it needs to allow proper setting of each electronic component in the grippers and final installation in the circuit board.
2. Slideways Knowledge of Materials Prevents Machine Jams
The Challenge: A central distribution center, a CDC for a nationwide retailer was having trouble with its conveyor. Tilt trays would occasionally fail to return to a horizontal position after dumping their load. When the conveyor attempted to place a package on the vertical tray, it would jam the machine, typically damaging between one to 10 trays per occurrence. The customer was very concerned about the high cost of replacement tilt trays for their conveyor OEM.
Slideways Solution: Custom designed Plastic Tilt Trays:
Cost was the primary driver for this project, so we worked with our distribution and the CDC to develop a lower cost tray.
ABS plastic was selected for the trays because it is durable, rigid, relatively easy to bend when heated, and less expensive than plywood. We initially tried using the 1.4 inch thick ABS to keep costs down, but the tray was not rigid enough. A second prototype made of 3/8-inch thick ABS had the right combination of rigidity, bend ability, ease of assembly and low price.
As a result, Slideways has manufactured several lots of tilt trays for the customer. These ABS tilt trays have considerably lowered maintenance costs for the customer.
3. Slideways Just-In-Time Delivery Improves Productivity for Conveyor OEM
The Challenge: A major conveyor OEM had been producing its own roller chain guides in-house. They needed to free up the chain guide manufacturing area for higher value activities, but could not allow chain guide shortages to slow-down their production. Space was an issue, and availability was vital.
Slideways Solution: After reviewing the needs of this conveyor OEM, Slideways offered this solution: Slideways was chosen to supply roller chain guides to the conveyor OEM because of its “Just-in-time stocking program,” which helped the company meet their chain guide needs, reduce inventory levels and saved them storage space.
4. Slideways UHMW Guide Solves Contamination Problem in Glass Plant
The Challenge: The anti-static acetal belt guide being used in a glass manufacturing plant was contaminating glass used for making picture tubes.
Slideways Solution: Slideways designed a UHMW guide that could be made in 20-foot lengths. Not only did this solve the contamination issue, it also reduced installation time, the guide had a longer life and the belt life was extended. The success of this solution saved the company money by reducing rejects and minimizing maintenance costs.