Machinedesign 1318 0412 Balluff 0 0

Design by Objective: Extreme Environments

April 1, 2012
Tackling tough conditions with materials science

Motion components used in extreme environments require equally extreme designs to handle the onslaught of humidity, turbulent weather, extreme temperatures, abrasive washdown procedures, thermal cycling, dust, and more. Here we present several new products, materials, and surface treatments built to fortify your next design.

Sensors stand up to welding applications

Factor 1 inductive proximity sensors are designed with welding applications in mind, as the PTFE coating helps protect them from weld slag and flash. A new weld immune Factor 1+ sensor now features longer sensing distances. It also incorporates a multi-coil design that enables it to sense all metals, both ferrous and nonferrous, at the same distance without needing to de-rate the sensing distance based on the target material. Sensors are suitable for use where high levels of magnetic interference originate from transformers, motors, drives, welders, and other sources.

Balluff Inc.
(800) 543-8390

Ball rail system suits wet settings

The NFRG ball rail system is suitable for use in humid and wet production environments. Both the profiled rail and ball runner block are made entirely of corrosion-resistant steel according to DIN EN 10088 and of certified plastics according to EU Directive 2002/72/EC and U.S. regulation FDA 21 CFR. The systems come in five sizes and can withstand relative humidity above 70% and temperatures above 30° C. Plastic parts also resist weak acids, lyes, organic solvents, oils, and alcohols.

Bosch Rexroth AG
(847) 645-3600

Enclosures protect outdoor and washdown applications

SCE-ELSSLPPL series NEMA 4X electrical enclosures house electrical and electronic controls, instruments, and equipment in areas that may be regularly hosed down or are located in very wet conditions. These 304 stainless steel electrical cabinets protect against dust, dirt, oil, and strong jets of water, and are available in sizes from 24 × 20 to 60 × 36 in. Possible applications include food and chemical industries, as well as outdoor settings. Mounting hardware, sealing washers, and hole plugs are included. Rated to IP66.

Omega Engineering Inc.
(800) 826-6342

Keypad panels handle harsh environments

Keypad versions of AKI series HMI panels help maintain screen clarity and provide tactile feedback to gloved users or operators with soiled hands. Panels are available in 5.7 and 10.4 in. screens and are equipped with LED status indicators. Programming is accomplished using the Kollmorgen Automation Suite Visualization Builder software. Full-size AKI touchscreen HMI models are available in several sizes and configurations.

(540) 633-3545

Electrically conductive adhesive resists thermal cycling

Developed for bonding and sealing in demanding manufacturing applications, EP3HTSMED epoxy features a rapid cure schedule and tensile shear strength exceeding 1,000 psi. It is 100% reactive and meets USP Class VI requirements for medical applications. The silver-filled adhesive/sealant may be used in temperatures from -60° to 400° F and resists severe thermal cycling, as well as many chemicals, water, fuels, oil, and most organic solvents. EP3HTSMED bonds well to a variety of substrates including metals, glass, vulcanized rubbers, ceramics, and many plastics.

Master Bond Inc.
(201) 343-8983

New gear units, surface treatments suit washdown settings

In certain industries — including food, beverage, and pharmaceutical production — designing for washdown conditions is of utmost importance. Machines and facilities must be kept as contaminant-free as possible when manufacturing goods intended for human consumption. Intensive cleaning and sterilization processes are carried out on a regular basis, increasing the demands placed on drive technologies used in these facilities.

Engineering firms that supply these industries are continuously developing new methods and components to meet the rigors of washdown environments. One such manufacturer, Nord Gear Corp., Waunakee, Wis., has developed a new series of gear drives for use in washdown facilities, as well as a surface conversion process that helps aluminum parts survive in harsh settings. All external surfaces of the two-stage helical bevel gear units are designed with wide radii and optimized for cleaning solutions to wash off easily in all positions. The series includes five frame sizes with torque ranging from 800 to 5,800 in.-lb.

With the NSD tupH surface conversion process, washdown and corrosion-resistant characteristics can be imparted to aluminum components. These attributes are comparable to those found in stainless steel units. During the conversion process, gear cases are not simply coated. Instead, surfaces undergo a treatment that alters the outer gear case at the molecular level — a catalytic process that increases the aluminum part's surface hardness by six or seven times. As a final step, sealant is applied to the part to create a smooth surface.

Even after a year of salt water rinsing, which includes the use of aggressive chemicals and high-pressure cleaners, NSD tupH surfaces sustain zero damage. The enhanced surfaces are also more resistant to chipping than those of standard gear drives. Protective gear-drive coatings such as varnish, nickel, or nickel/teflon can chip and peel. With the NSD tupH process, treated surfaces are scratchproof, chemical resistant, and do not corrode.

Unlike stainless steel models, which most manufacturers provide for only a few drive types, the NSD tupH treatment is available for a wide range of products including virtually all aluminum gear units. Because aluminum weighs considerably less than steel, the drive is substantially lighter and makes installation easier. What's more, NSD tupH units cost significantly less than stainless steel systems. For more information, visit or call (888) 314-6673.

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