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igus® and Doel Engineering collaborate to increase throughput for packaging machinery

At igus®, our motto has always been to “improve what moves” and working with Doel Engineering, we achieved just that. The partnership between supplier and customer ensured that the end goal of “improving what moves” was met.

You can read about another successful collaboration between igus® and another satisfied customer, the record player maker Rega here: https://blog.igus.co.uk/turning-tables-with-igus-and-rega/

Why did Doel Engineering come to igus®?

The machine manufacturer Doel Engineering designs and builds a wide range of processing machines, often in small batches or one-offs. To plan production efficiently, the machines need to work correctly and accurately with high throughput and minimum adjustments. A packaging and processing machine needs to have reduced drag, improved rigidity, increased throughput and a high hygiene standard and this was achieved with the addition of iglidur® IC-05 tribo-coating on a mitre bar within the machine. Already satisfied with the quality of igus® products, Doel Engineering reached out for assistance.

The problem

On one of the machines, the Pad seeker, used a Doel Engineering had been using hollow rollers to take bubble wrap and/or food tray liner material from a web, stretch and cut it in sections for placement in plastic trays. An igus® drylin® linear rail system moves tension rollers in two axes, back and forth and up and down, to manipulate the web. The issue was this failed to apply adequate tension in the material for an accurate, high rate cut, resulting in a low throughput rate.

In addition, after stopping the operation the rollers would continue to spin or run-on, having inertia, which meant waiting for the roller to slow or stop, before the next cycle could start, reducing productivity.

Solution

After evaluating the process with production manager Adam Deighton, it was recommended to replace the rollers with solid metal bars tribo coated with iglidur® IC-05, an FDA-approved tribologically optimised polymer in powder form.

The newly coated bars have several benefits:

  • Being solid not hollow, the bars have better rigidity, so the machine performs better, running smoother and faster using the more solid components.
  • They exhibit zero run-on and the start / stop operation is instant, increasing throughput.
  • The IC-05 coating protects the bar substrate, reducing wear – like all iglidur® materials, iglidur® IC-05 coating powders are tribologically optimised and provide excellent friction and wear values.
  • This 60 -100 micron coating is FDA-approved, with no risk of contamination and blue in colour for visibility.

The previous rollers were made of non-coated metallic material which could potentially risk contaminating the absorbent pack. The IC-05 coating will not expose any bare metal to food reducing the chance of oxidising food products like meat.

The engineering challenge

Doel Engineering machine

On the pad seeker, the material comes in from one direction and gets diverted “off course” using a ground bar run on drylin® linear bearings. Another pair of bearings move the second machined bar in to position so the web of material aligns. The length of the bar and the stroke of the drylin® T bearing system makes it easier to position the web and adjust for different material widths. The user can adjust the dimensions of this for specific products within their line or allowing for complete product diversification. 

The iglidur® IC-05 coated bar solution remains solid between the two carriages of the bearings that provide that low friction bearing movement. Product Manager at igus®, Dean Aylott, says “The material runs over these tubes at high speed and for long periods. By replacing the standard ground bar with a wear-resistant coated bar we are reducing the friction and drag, enabling the user to maintain the tension in the material but without the ‘run on’ created by a roller solution.  

If you have an application that you think could benefit from tribo coating, please get in touch!

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