Retractable conveyors basically “pull the rug out from under” a product so that it drops down to a second conveyor that’s going in another direction. They also must be able to handle frequent wash-downs.
The main challenge for KLEENLine has been one of conveyor reliability-specifically to find components that could overcome friction problems in various locations within the conveyor. This friction also caused excessive noise.
“Friction was stopping us from fulfilling our goals,” says Richard A. Glazier, automation engineering manager. “We needed higher speeds and output for the machines, without having to bump up the size of the motors, which gets expensive.”
To meet this challenge, KLEENLine turned to Intech Corp., a company that designs and manufactures plastic gears, rollers and cam followers. Within 24 hours of meeting with and understanding KLEENLine’s needs, Intech created a series of customized PowerCore components made of nonhygroscopic plastic.
The PowerCore components include pinions, gears and concave cam followers that produce low friction and are self-lubricating. The pinions and cam followers provide excellent corrosion resistance, operate quietly, absorb shock and vibration, do not wear out the rail and can be washed-down frequently. The cam followers also do not score the shaft they run on.
KLEENLine used the components to eliminate friction and noise in three areas of the conveyor. The old metal-on-metal rack-and-pinion system was removed and replaced with cam followers and pinions. Cam followers also were used in place of the conveyor’s linear bearings. And a precision-machined gear replaced the stainless steel pinion in the rack-and-pinion drive, eliminating the need to lubricate the conveyor after wash downs.
The components enable the conveyors to run smoother at higher speeds, while using less energy. By running smoother, the conveyors offer low inertia, less vibration and limited environmental impact.
Food processors also like the conveyors’ turnkey system and operator interface. The turnkey system lets users load bakery pans in either direction, while the user-friendly interface allows for array flexibility.
For more information on plastic components, call 877-218-2650 or visit www.intechpower.com.