By Greg Cober, Product Training Manager, Altra Industrial Motion
Finding exciting product news in the industrial marketplace can be a challenge. Minor new cellphone features are trumpeted on the evening news in ways that expect a collective "wow" from us all. Yet, a wide variety of equally simple incremental
improvements can go unrecognized. In the world of mechanical
power transmission, small changes are providing a big impact.
Pushbutton Torque Adjustment
Many bottle capping operations have achieved multiple savings
opportunities over the past several years by upgrading their capping
ger life –
as much as
double – has
been a wow
soft drink and water bottlers, as well as for other products.
A 2013 upgrade of these clutches to include a tool-less torque
setting process might appear as a subtle improvement, but in the
older style system a change in torque required simple loosening of
two set screws with an allen wrench, a twist of an adjusting collar,
and retightening of the set screws.
The new tool-less design provides a simple pushbutton. Depress
the button, twist the adjusting collar to the desired position and
release. Making the adjustment on a 16-head capping system using
the set screw method may take an hour, as each head is accessed
and changed. The new tool-less system can cut that time in half.
When production rates are upwards of 1,000 units per minute, that
could mean an additional 10,000 to 20,000 bottles.
No "Hot Work" Permit
Combining two common mounting techniques into a single design
Simple Magnets Extend Gearbox Life
can create some significant improvements; such is the case with the
Bibby Torsiflex extended
shaft flex-disc couplings
for the petrochemical
industry. It has been
chemical processes to heat shrink couplings to pump or compressor
shafts to ensure a solid joint. By replacing the standard shaft bores
and keyways with Torsi-Lock hubs, it is possible to design out the
need for heat shrink mounting of the coupling to the shaft. The result
is that "hot work" permits are no longer needed. Not only is safety
enhanced by removing a heat source from a hazardous environment,
ease of unit removal in the future is achieved as well.
A third example of a small feature having an impact is the use of
magnets in Boston Gear 2000 and 2000R helical gearbox designs.
Since the gears in most helical gearboxes are steel, it is possible
to incorporate magnets into the housing of the gearbox to capture
wear particles as they occur and keep them away from the gears.
This reduces gear wear by trapping the abrasive particles away
from the gears.
Basic Fastener Reduces Coupling Failure
The addition of serrated 'teeth' to a coupling fastener might seem
like a minor feature. However, in TB Wood's Dura-Flex couplings,
where the fasteners are external and can rotate at speeds of up to
7,500 RPM, the fastener engagement can be a major safety issue.
The fastener is designed to grip into the sleeve of the coupling
so that under vibration and rotation, the fastener and the sleeve
remain safely engaged to the coupling hub enhancing the safety of
the installation when tightened to the proper torque.
Component Resizing Yields Extended Life
Airport baggage handling applications can be among the most
strenuous for clutch/brakes. The Warner Electric heavy-duty UM180-
1020 is an example of how seemingly small changes can impact
unit performance. An increase of the width of the armature spline
has resulted in a 44% decrease in the compressive stress between
armature and hub – a common area of wear in these high-cycle rate
applications. Similarly, a widening of the bearing supporting the
output shaft has increased sideload capability by 47%. Both changes add up to extended life in aggressive baggage handling clutch/
New Water Jackets Reduce Weight By 75%
Over the past three years, designers have benefitted from the
use of composite materials in the Aquamakks clutch design from
Wichita Clutch. Replacing cast iron water jackets with a composite
material has resulted in a 75% reduction in weight while reducing
system inertia. Further, the composite materials are corrosion-re-
sistant, providing longer life in many harsh, corrosive, water-
cooled clutch applications.
Little things combined can have a significant impact. Looking
for ways to incorporate small improvements in facility operations can make a significant difference in efficiency, productivity,
and safety in a highly competitive global environment.
Small Changes Help
Factor in Power
push button design
requires allen wrench