Drive rollers are mechanisms that facilitate the movement of many different types of machine parts or systems. Primarily, they are relied upon as either the main motion component in conveyor roller systems or the secondary motion component in chain and belt conveyor systems. These systems and others are found in industries including automotive manufacturing, chemical processing, construction, food and beverage, healthcare, lumber processing, digital machinery, bulk material handling, mining, office equipment design, and packaging. Some of the many specific applications of drive rollers include timing belts and other automotive power transmission systems, imaging equipment including computerized axial tomography (CAT) scanners and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners, plywood machinery (machinery used to rotate logs and peel their wood) and commercial printers and scanners.
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Drive Roller Manufacturing Process
Drive rollers work by providing pulleys upon which products can be propelled forward, often in conjunction with chains or belts. Manufacturers usually use one of two molding processes to create drive rollers, injection molding or compression molding. Injection molding is a process that begins with the collection of raw rubber material, usually vulcanized rubber, silicone rubber, or polyurethane (PU). Once collected, the raw rubber material is heated above its melting point until it becomes molten, and then it is injected into a mold cavity. Once inside the cavity, cool water is run over the mold in order to cool, form and cure the roller. Compression molding begins the same way as injection molding. That is, it begins with the gathering and subsequent heating of a raw rubber material collection. After the melting of the rubber material, however, compression molding follows its own path. Instead of injecting the material into a closed mold, manufacturers pour it into an open and heated mold. Once inside the mold, they apply extreme pressure by closing it with a plug member or top force. This pressure causes the molten rubber to push out against the walls of the mold, taking on its shape. Held in place by pressure and plied with continuous heat, the new roller eventually becomes cured and fully formed. After the roller has cooled and hardened, it may be removed from the mold with both methods.
Secondary Processing for Drive Rollers
After a drive roller has been molded, manufacturers have to put it through secondary processing for aesthetic or functional enhancement. For example, to create better fits or better serve individual applications, drive rollers may be designed with grooved or otherwise altered surface areas. To achieve this, manufacturers often put the rollers through a forming process known as knurling. Knurling is usually performed on a lathe, which is a tool that can create rough patterned textures on the surface area of metal or rubber parts. Another way that drives rollers can be customized for their application, and another way that they differ in general from other types of rubber rollers is through the creation of integral shafts with specialized keyways that allow gears or sprockets to run them. Other types of rubber rollers include polyurethane or urethane rollers, guide rollers, ink rollers, laminating rollers, and industrial rollers. In addition to the surface design area and keyway specializations, manufacturers create different style drive rollers to account for varying material strengths, speeds, load carrying capabilities, and materials. They can also create rollers that meet the requirements of various industry or government-related regulations, such as those outlined by International Standards Organization (ISO), International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Association for Iron and Steel Technology (AIST), the Federal Drug and Food Administration (FDA), Mil-Spec (military specifications), Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS), and Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH).
Applications of Drive Rollers
Drive rollers are essential to the functioning of many different types of applications. They improve efficiency and reduce associated costs, reduce labor and labor costs and keep chain and belt conveyor systems from malfunctioning by providing backup. They are available in diverse styles and sizes, making them useful in industries as different as chemical processing and office equipment design. Drive rollers are fairly inexpensive and an investment worth investigating. Interested parties are encouraged to reach out to one or more experienced drive roller manufacturers, such as those listed near the top of this page. Get your application rolling with drive roller services provided by an expert supplier today. The right manufacturer will help guide a customer in the right direction in selecting these and other types of rollers. They will also provide a customer with roller refurbishment services for old or worn-down rollers if need be.