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Keeping production rolling: durable urethane rollers reduce downtime. (Revision X).

When Phil Cagiano's pager goes off in the middle of the night, he knows it's work, but he's sure it's not his assembly line rollers again. Prior to replacing his metal compliant rollers with those made of urethane, Phil's late night pages would almost always be caused by a roller that had worn out and halted assembly at his metal fabrication facility.

Now with urethane rollers made by American Urethane, Phil's production downtime is down over 40%. "We chose urethane over plastic or rubber to replace the metal rollers because of its durability mainly. This is tough stuff and lasts much longer than other materials," says Phil. "Best of all," he adds, "American Urethane helped us create a roller that is flexible enough for all of our materials regardless of thickness, yet doesn't leave marks or abrasions on the product. That made the switch to urethane rollers an easy decision."

"Phil came to us with a fairly common complaint about his current compliant rollers," says Jude Masters, president of American Urethane. "His assembly line is a busy one. For several months each year, the line runs two to three shifts. Long production runs were wearing out the metal rollers and causing major downtime. The rollers also had a tendency to damage the product with scratches and indentations. We worked with Phil's team to create one size of compliant roller that was flexible enough to work on all thicknesses of materials, last much longer than other types of rollers, and does not damage the product. They've had the rollers over five months and are very satisfied."

While not a new material, urethane has grown in use because its specifications can be "dialed up" to fit the task at hand. Hardness, flexibility, durability, chemical resistance and color are all easily achieved. Prototypes can be created in two weeks and can even include bonding complicated parts to materials such as metal, plastic or wood. As for urethane compliant rollers, they can work with many types of product such as steel, wood, paper, and even fragile materials like ceiling tiles made of cardboard and gypsum, avoiding the need to swap out roller assemblies. They usually do not disfigure the product and are more chemically resistant to acids and solvents than steel, rubber, or plastic.

When asked why his pager buzzes now, Phil responds, "It's usually because of a lack of raw material, but that's another story."

For more information:

Circle 202 -- American urethane, or connect directly to their website via the Online Reader Service Program at
COPYRIGHT 2001 Nelson Publishing
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Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Mandel, Richard
Publication:Medical Equipment Designer
Date:Nov 1, 2001
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