Tougher TPU-coated rollers extend wear-life and productivity
Specially formulated thermoset polyurethane offers superior longevity through added cut resistance, abrasion resistance and load bearing capabilities
If you’re in an industry that uses rollers, you know that roller toughness and longevity really count. The Achilles heel for many applications is the roller surface, where challenges such as cut-resistance, abrasion resistance and load bearing capabilities can make a dramatic difference in the productivity of a plant.
Because roller changeover and resurfacing are both time-consuming and costly, many plants run theirs as long as possible in order to maximize production until replacement is mandatory.
“In many applications there is no in-between, the rollers are either operable or defective,” says Matt Menges, President of Menges Roller Company (Wauconda, IL). “But the toughness and impact-resistance of the surface covering can improve wear life by months or even years.”
For example, Menges says, in the steel coil industry, coils are stretched almost as tight as piano wire. Because the steel is very abrasive and usually has rough edges, cut-resistance is a major factor. As a result, standard rubber-coated rollers wear out relatively quickly, resulting in both maintenance, loss of product and downtime costs.
One of the solutions to greatly improving the wear life of roller coverings is the use of more advanced materials than can be tailored to an application. The use of thermoset polyurethane (TPU) plastic, for instance, provides the toughness and abrasion-resistance needed by most applications while at the same allowing the latitude to make the coating as hard or soft as the application requires.
“Industries that can benefit from TPU-coated rollers include steel, aluminum, paper, roofing, converting, and others,” says Menges. To meet those needs his firm has developed a special line of TPU-coated rollers known as Tiger-Max. The new rollers are designed to outlast cast polyurethane, resulting in added uptime and reduced maintenance costs.
A graphic demonstration of the powerful benefits of TPU-coated rollers may be found in the production of blown-film packaging at PPC Industries, Pleasant Prairie, WI. Because PPC runs its plants 24/7 for 365 days a year, the company’s engineering, production and maintenance people decided to investigate TPU-coated rollers to see how much additional longevity they could provide.
In addition to productivity, another major goal with adopting the TPU-coated rollers was the avoidance of having to replace large, heavy rollers that are sometimes at considerable heights. For example, the rollers on our top nip section are 60 feet up, are 5 to 10 feet wide and can weigh between 4,000 and 6,000 lbs.