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Solid lubricants.

ELTECH Systems Corp., Chardon, OH, provides a wide range of products, technology and services to the electrochemical industry. Standard and customized product lines include proprietary-design dimensionally stable anodes (DSA) and related equipment. The DSA anodes are utilized throughout the world in a broad range of applications including the production of chlorine and chlorate, and special application technologies and processes.

The production of components for such tough environments tends to be accordingly rigorous. In the case of ELTECH anodes, the coatings applied to many of the company's products require curing at temperatures above 1000[degrees]F, for varying lengths of time. The production line employs an overhead rail with trolleys attached to a chain propelled, in turn, by a separate drive chain. The path of the rail, chain and trolleys moves up to 6500 lbs of production parts up and down different levels and through the curing oven. Between the heat of the oven and outgassing from the coatings into the heated oven air, lubricant life in the trolley carrier bearings was fleeting, at best. Regular maintenance called for a 4-hour downtime each week for relubrication of the bearings.

Ohio Gear and Transmission, Eastlake, OH, had been working with ELTECH's production line for about 15 years, improving and maintaining the gearboxes for the drive system. According to Carl Bauer, sales engineer with Ohio Gear, he was thinking about the possible uses of a new solid lubrication system presented by a visiting sales representative the day before, when it occurred to him to try it with the ELTECH line. The replacement of the carrier wheels took place in February and March of 2004, and ELTECH senior plant engineer, Kevin Garland, has yet to perform maintenance on the new wheels.

The lubricant involved was Cobra Solid Lubricant from Unique Technologies Associates (UTA), Avenel, NJ. The proprietary process involves loading steel bearings and conveyor wheels with a paste-like graphite mixture, which is then cured. When the process is complete, the lubricant is solid, dry, and fills the space between the races for the width of the wheel or bearing. The dry solid lubricant deposits a 2[micro]m thick film of graphite on all friction surfaces. The microscopic clearance between the lubricant and the metal rings of the bearing additionally provides protection from dirt, dust, or other contaminants. Wheels and bearings spin free, reducing chain stretch and allowing longer life for drive motors and gear boxes. The process can be applied to most full complement or caged conveyor wheels, ball or roller type bearings, self-aligning, cylindrical, tapered or housed units, with IDs as small as 1/8 in. or an OD as large as 25 in.

The ELTECH installation required no re-engineering of the conveyor line. New conveyor wheels and wheel brackets were shipped directly to UTA and processed at the UTA facility. The brackets were then attached, and the complete units shipped to ELTECH for installation.

Owing to the success of the ELTECH installation, Bauer has since applied Cobra Solid Lubricant into other job sites, including a major food-processing plant. This solid lubricant provides such an installation with a bearing that is "drip-less and free spinning" regardless of temperature, and can withstand wash downs.


Circle 291--ELTECH Systems Corp., or connect directly at

Circle 292--Ohio Gear and Transmission, or connect directly at

Circle 293--UTA, or connect directly at
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Title Annotation:Why We Use ...
Author:Mandel, Richard
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2005
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