Intech Corporation Blog now integrated in website design

January 10, 2011

Intech Corporation has redesigned and relaunched its website. As part of this initiative we have migrated our blog history and all the content is now contained in an integrated website. You can read about Intech Power-Core gears, rollers, iCamFollowers and our other products on the new blog: http://www.intechpower.com/blog/

We wish all our customers and contacts a successful 2011.

Here is a QR code that you can use to bookmark the blog, if you use a mobile web device:

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Stainless Steel Chain Drive in Plating Drum replaced by lubrication free Intech Power-Core™ Gears

November 16, 2010

One of our customers, who use an aggressive liquid bath in a plating process for coating metal parts, was experiencing a frequent breaking of the stainless steel chain drive which was corroding in the highly aggressive environment.

The parts are loaded into a large plating drum with a mesh exterior, which is then lowered into a tank containing a highly corrosive solution and heated to high temperatures between 120°F – 150°F. After coating, a series of cleaning and coating cycles are repeated across a battery of baths. A motor engages the drum drive, which needs to rotate slowly and steadily while carrying a high load into each step of the cleaning and coating process. The heavy metal parts in the drum can shift suddenly as the drum rotates, causing heavy shock load to be absorbed on the drive. The stainless steel chain, weakened by corrosion would give up under the shock load.

Intech engineers designed a large lubrication free Intech Power-Core™ gear and included a circular series of 2” diameter cast in ports made of Inconel™ in order to securely attach the gear to the drum. They also integrated a Power-Core bearing block in the shaft.

The Intech gear is resistant to the corrosive environment and was designed to absorb the sudden shock load, and proved to offer substantial savings to the customer.

Plating drum gears

Plating Drum Gears

Intech iCamFollowers® for RT Light Testers in Can Making Production Line

August 27, 2010

In a high speed can making production line, light inspection is required to find pin holes and split flanges after the necking process. Once cans have been coated and sealed, these finished cans are tested for leaks using a light tester, which can detect holes 0.002” wide, smaller than a human hair, and also spot cracked flanges as small as 0.015”.

When Intech iCamFollowers® are installed on the light tester ram they ensure that 3,000+ inspections can be performed per minute, more than sufficient to keep up with the high speed can production line and offer several important benefits.

After installation, the lubrication lines originally used to grease the metal cam followers can be disconnected, cutting down on periodic maintenance and possible contamination of the can. Another important benefit is the fact that the cam propelling the ram back and forth is now protected from wear by the IPC tire.

Fitted with precision ball bearings the Intech iCamFollowers® are easy rolling and the plastic tire does absorb shock and vibration for overall smoother performance.

The Intech iCamFollowers® have also been running successfully for many years in the necking operation on Belvac neckers, both on rams made by Intech, the light weight, self-lubricating square ram, as well as on the original Belvac rams.

Light tester and cam followers

Intech iCam Followers Light Tester installed on a RT6 at Brazilian can making plant

Non-lubricated drive sprocket for escalator handrail extends time intervals for scheduled maintenance

August 10, 2010

“Shut down for maintenance, use the stairs please.”

We have grown accustomed to signs like these in public places like airports, hotels or department stores. The reason for the maintenance or repair shut down is often wear or broken teeth on the main driving sprocket.

The self-lubricating, precision machined Intech Power-Core™ escalator driving sprocket helps to extend the time intervals for scheduled maintenance, is wear resistant, absorbs shock and vibration, and reduces noise for a smooth and quiet ride. They are also suitable for outdoor use as the sprocket material does not absorb moisture and teeth do not break in sub-zero temperatures, when other plastic materials become brittle.

Escalator sketch

Escalator


Drive Sprocket for Escalator Handrail

Low inertia Intech Power-Core™ spur gear permits increased output on caplet machine

July 27, 2010

One of our customers, who manufactures packaging machines for the pharmaceutical industry to produce caplets, sought to improve its competitive standing by eliminating the need to lubricate the 16” cast iron main drive gear and replacing it with a lubrication free Intech Power-Core™ gear.

Upon installation of the lubrication free Intech gear, the engineers ramped up the output to 600 caplets per minute (cpm), the industry standard, and discovered that there was no vibration previously experienced with the heavy cast iron gear. Encouraged by the performance of the low inertia Intech Power-Core™ gear, they increased the output to 700…800…, all the way to 1200 cpm. Even at this speed the machine was running smoothly and without vibration.

This was in contrast with all the previous experience using the cast iron gear which reached its critical RPM around 700 RPM, at which point the machine shook violently, and the reason why the output had been established at 600 cpm.

The customer settled on an output of 800 caplets/min as a standard for the company’s brand, a 25% increase over competitive machines. The first reward came shortly after introduction of the new machine. A company producing caplets used in automotive air bags sought to increase its capacity by 2400 caplets/min. Our customer was able to satisfy that demand with three machines that don’t require lubrication, where all its competitors quoted four machines that required constant lubrication and frequent shut down for maintenance.

Spur Gear Installed in Caplet Machine

Low Inertia Spur Gear Installed in Caplet Machine

Low inertia often becomes the dominant, albeit unexpected benefit of changing to self-lubricating Power-Core™ gears. The main drive in the DaVinci surgical robot is another good example.

Guide rollers hold camera steady on gantry suspended 10” over race track with cars accelerating past at over 150 mph

June 15, 2010

The average speed of a NASCAR car varies from one race track to another, it is calculated based on the winner’s lap speed through the entire race. The fastest track on the circuit is the Talladega Superspeedway, where the recorded average speed is about 188 miles per hour (303 kilometers per hour).

In order to capture video images of the race cars as they streak along the track at these phenomenal speeds, a camera needs to resist the buffeting and turbulence generated by the passing cars. Doggicam Systems adapted its patented movie camera system to create the Super Slide, a high speed light weight super-rigid rail system which allows the camera to be moved with precision and tremendous speed and acceleration.

Doggicam Systems Super Slide with Intech Power-Core rollers

The Doggicam Super Slide runs back and forth at high speed in a rail across a suspended gantry over the NASCAR race track


A key component, that allows the Doggicam Systems Super Slide to deliver high speed precision and move safely within inches of the subject, are the Intech Power-Core™ rollers that we supply. These rollers ensure a smooth vibration free rolling transit of the camera system along the rail, with minimum resistance, allowing it to accelerate from 0-24’ / second in just one second and reach a top speed of 25’ per / second.
Doggicam Systems Super Slide Technical Drawing with Intech Power-Core rollers

Intech Power-Core rollers are a key component of the Doggicam Systems Super Slide


Intech Power-Core™ rollers eliminate both the need to lubricate and rail wear and offer an ideal long-lasting solution in the demanding conditions, from extreme heat, vibration, torrential rain, to freezing temperatures, to which the Doggicam Super Slide is exposed.

Intech guide rollers are also used in mechanisms that move cameras in TV studios or on film sets, where smooth, vibration free and quiet camera operation is paramount.

Development of flat spots and failure of steel and plastic rollers used in skid slider cab door

May 26, 2010

We wrote in our last post about wear on steel cam followers, below we have some more images that offer a great illustration of how flat spots occur when metal cam followers are dragged along the rail, typically because over greasing and insufficient radial load has caused the cam follower to stop rotating.

The pictures below show a metal cam follower with plastic sleave in a skid steer overhead cab door application, how the door is installed, and how the cab door roller failed. Since metal rollers were known to wear the aluminum rail, the original cab door cam followers were sleaved with Lubriloy RW-HI material (proprietary alloy of nylon 6,6). The aluminum tracks that the cab door rollers roll in are: extruded aluminum alloy 6063-T5 and 6063-T6, these also wore out to the point that doors jammed and had to be replaced.

Worn Cam Follower

Damage can be clearly seen from the flat spot on this cam follower used in a skid slider cab door.


Intech was approached by our customer to help them resolve repeated roller failure, using metal cam followers fitted with sleaves made of many different plastic materials. After completing a durability calculation Intech determined that a high load capacity roller is not necessary for this application. Instead we proposed a roller design that swapped out a needle bearing with Intech’s iCamFollower®, this has a ball bearing which offers less rolling resistance and does not need lubrication, as it has a long-lasting lubricant sealed inside the bearing.
Worn Plastic CamFollower installed

The same worn plastic cam follower installed in the door sliding mechanism

Intech’s Power-Core iCamFollower®

Intech’s Power-Core iCamFollower®


Three different methods were used to test Intech’s Power-Core™ cab door rollers: The first test was a simple endurance test, cycling the door open/close with a target of 4,000 cycles. The engineers let the test run for a total of about 7,000 cycles without seeing any wear on the iCamFollower®.

Encouraged by the results, the final test sequence for the Intech cam followers was to complete a series of cycles while introducing Laredo dust, to simulate the real working environment.

After initial tests with 1290 cycles, there was no material deformation on Intech’s Power-Core™ roller material, and the roller had not caused any wear to the aluminum tracks. “Looking good so far” reported the customer. Several days later he added: “I stopped the test today, as the cam followers have gotten to 6300 cycles (that’s about 4300 more than our requirement). There was no wear on the wheels of the cam followers, and no wearing to speak of on the cab door tracks. We were very surprised.”

After further examination of the set of cam followers in the test stand, it was determined that they were still in good condition, so the testing was restarted, this time covering the tracks and the rollers with Arizona Caliche dust, approximately every hour. Following this dry test, the tracks were sprayed down with water and a wet testing session took place. Once again the Intech’s Power-Core iCamFollowers® surpassed expectation and showed no wear, either on the roller or on the rail.

The force required to open the skid steer cab door using the smooth rolling Intech’s Power-Core™ material was reduced by half from 50lbs to just 25lbs. The ease of opening the cab door was subsequently turned into a key selling point for the machine.

Intech’s iCamFollowers® eliminate both the need to lubricate and rail wear and offer a cost effective alternative to both metal and other plastic cam followers in numerous applications.

Are steel cam followers overrated for use in packaging machines?

May 12, 2010

“Metal cam followers are overrated” said one packaging engineer in a recent conversation when asked why he opted for Intech’s iCamFollowers®. Here is why we agree with his opinion:

It seems that a large number of cam followers, metal ones that is, are used for their convenience not their load carrying capacity. Tap out a hole and you are ready to install a cam follower, providing designers with an instant “wheel” that allows parts of machines to move back and forth. The cam follower was not selected for its load capacity, rather enabling a movement required by the process.

There is a price to pay for this convenience. The rail on which the metal cam follower runs has to be periodically lubricated, as does the needle bearing in the cam follower. Lubrication, especially surface lubrication can contaminate packages and is a constant burden on maintenance. If you do not lubricate, the rail will wear and if you apply too much grease, there is a good chance that some of it will end up on the product. Over greasing of the cam followers’ needle bearing may cause the cam follower to stop rotating and instead be “dragged” along, causing a flat spot on the outer racer and excessive wear on the rail. This can happen when the radial load is relatively light for the heavy duty cam follower or if the radial load drops to zero during the operating cycle, for example on cams where the cam followers are used to exert force in only a portion of 360° rotation of the cam.

To replace a damaged cam follower is relatively inexpensive, while replacing a fixed rail or a cam can cost days of down time. Grease contaminated products carry their own cost.

Intech’s iCamFollowers® eliminate both the need to lubricate and rail wear and offer a cost effective alternative to metal cam followers in most packaging applications. The easy rolling, precision ball bearings thermally installed in the plastic tire offer very little rolling resistance and are lubricated for life. This ensures a smooth rolling motion even in light duty applications. Not to worry, the iCams will also carry heavy loads. Intech engineers developed a load / life expectancy calculation and the resulting load data allows engineers to select a cam follower suitable for the load in their application. So for example the IPC – 1.500 iCam will carry 300 lbs for 100 million cycles (1 cycle = one 360° rotation) without developing a flat or wearing out. Most importantly, it will not wear out the rail, steel or aluminum.

In addition to being able to carry high loads, the plastic tire will absorb shock & vibration, reduce rolling resistance, cut noise by up to 10 dB, and will work in sub-zero temperatures. For wash down applications the cam follower is delivered with stainless steel shafts and bearings. All this without lubrication or rail wear.

Intech’s iCamFollowers® also open up the way to more cost effective designs. Since iCamFollowers do not wear out the rails, designers can run the iCams directly on aluminum frames, without having to use steel or stainless steel strips to prevent rail wear. To further simplify the design central lubrication systems’ need for cam follower lubrication can be eliminated.

Are metal cam followers in your application overrated? Intech engineers can help you to determine that.

Reciprocating gear segment and pinion with high shock absorbing properties in a high-speed card feeder.

May 4, 2010

A high frequency reciprocating gear and pinion being used in a feeder to insert postcards into magazines was suffering frequent breakdowns. Sealing the gearbox to permit lubrication that would prevent wear was not an option, and so Intech was approached to design a non-lubricated solution that could accommodate shock loads 5 to 10 times higher than the running torque of the application.

A non-lubricated plastic pinion and gear for a high-speed card feeder.

A non-lubricated plastic pinion replaced a metal gear, eliminating breakdowns in a high-speed card feeder.


Intech Power-Core™ gears exhibit a high load sharing factor, an important quality when handling e-stops or shock loads. The load sharing factor, a measure of multiplying the load-bearing capacity of an individual tooth, is optimized for each application. Because the key way is cut into the metal hub and not the plastic, Power-Core eliminates the weak spot inherent in conventional plastic gears.

The metal hub absorbs all key way stresses, transferring maximum torque to the composite gear teeth. The teeth are made of a lightweight plastic composite, weighing just 0.037 pounds per cubic inch.

Torque of Power-Core gear approximates that of cast iron, but without the brittleness, weight, lubrication, and teeth breakage. As a result, Power-Core gears can reach higher speeds, increasing the throughput of your equipment. We can precisely calculate torque capacity, allowing Power-Core gears to replace metal gears in many applications.

Power-Core gears can operate without lubrication at pitch line speeds up to 15 feet per second. When a special friction-reducing coating is added, you can double gear speed to 30 feet per second.

Double-rowed drive sprocket in a packaging machine

April 19, 2010

In food industry applications lubrication is always an issue, so for a packaging machine we designed a composite double-rowed drive sprocket machined from Intech Power-Core ™material with a SS core that prevents abrasion on the steel chain, even at high operating speeds.

This chemical resistant sprocket is corrosion proof and ensures that no lubricant is required which could contaminate the food.

Double-Rowed-Drive-Sprocket

Double rowed-drive sprocket used in a packaging machine

One drive sprocket is used for two different chain circuits, and this component provides an integrated solution with a cast-in stainless steel hub to securely attach both sprockets to the shaft.

Intech Power-Core™ sprockets are available with or without metal core. The material’s properties lend themselves to superior wear characteristics of the sprocket teeth. Intech Power-Core™ sprockets do not wear out the chain, reduce noise and absorb shock and vibration.


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