Urethane rollers are a type of roller, or impact roller, made from the synthetic elastomer known as polyurethane. While they have "urethane" in their name, urethane rollers are not actually made from urethane, as, in this case, the words "urethane" and "polyurethane" are used interchangeably. Therefore, urethane rollers are not to be mistakenly thought to contain ethyl carbamate, which is also called urethane.
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Benefits of Urethane Rollers
Urethane rollers display many of the positive qualities of polyurethane, including durability, strength, shock resistance, elasticity and formability. They are harder than countless other elastomeric materials, such as silicone, while, at the same time, they do not become as brittle as other elastomeric materials. Also, they do not cause damage to the objects with which they come into contact. In addition, urethane rollers are quite inexpensive to produce. All in all, urethane rollers are one of the most popular types of rubber rollers. They are used in a variety of commercial and industrial industries, among them packaging and assembling, material handling, office equipment, printing, measurement systems and data storage.
Injection and Compression Molding
Urethane rollers are used in a number of settings as components of many different types of commercial and industrial processing equipment, among them printers, conveyors, and laminators. They enjoy a wide range of usage because they can be thermoformed into nearly any shape or size. To do so, manufacturers typically engage either the process of injection molding or the process of compression molding. Both processes begin the same way; manufacturers gather a collection of raw polyurethane stock and then heat it beyond its melting point. This makes it easier to form. Once the raw stock has been sufficiently heated, the paths of injection molding and compression molding diverge. In the case of injection molding, the next step is to inject the now molten stock into a closed mold cavity. Once the stock is inside the cavity, water is run over the mold in order to cool, form and cure the roller. In the case of compression molding, the step after polyurethane heating is to pour the molten material into an open and heated mold. Once the polyurethane is inside this mold, manufacturers apply extreme pressure to it by closing the mold 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. In the case of both injection molding and compression molding, after the roller has cooled and hardened, it may be removed from the mold. Injection molding and compression molding are equally effective and efficient methods of roller fabrication.
After the rollers have been formed, manufacturers may ready them for shipment or they may send them on to have further processing. One common type of secondary processing is knurling. Knurling is a process by which the surface area of rubber or metal parts can be given a rough, patterned texture. Typically performed on a lathe, the purpose of knurling in this context is to add grooves or otherwise alter the surface area of a roller, thereby creating better fits for individual applications. Generally speaking, urethane rollers are modified in ways that serve either a functional or an aesthetic purpose. Their most common variances in design are related to required load carrying capabilities, material strengths, system speeds and industry or government regulations.
Standards and Specifications for Urethane Rollers
To make sure their customers have a sense of confidence in their rollers, manufacturers typically offer to form rollers up to various codes, such as those outlined by International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), International Standards Organization (ISO), the Federal Drug and Food Administration (FDA), Association for Iron and Steel Technology (AIST), Mil-Spec (military specifications), Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) and Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH).
Things to Consider When Purchasing Urethane Rollers
Urethane rollers are an excellent investment. To countless applications, they offer both elasticity and shock resistance and strength and formability. Hard but never brittle, they stand out from the crowd of rubber rollers. Urethane roller production is quick, easy, customizable and inexpensive. Note that most manufacturers, in addition to new roller forming, offer roller refurbishment/remanufacturing services, and they can typically also reverse engineer existing rollers. To find out more about your urethane roller assembly options, contact an experienced roller manufacturer today. For the best results, start your search by browsing the list of well-respected roller manufacturers listed with IQS Directory. You can find them near the top of this page.