Signed, sealed, delivered

June 1, 2003
Scanning platform demands simplicity and strength from its control.

Imaging Business Machines (IBML) is a manufacturer of total scanning solutions for commercial applications. The company’s imaging platforms are used in the banking, financial services, insurance, healthcare, legal, pharmaceutical, and transportation industries. They are ideal for applications in which a high volume and wide range of documents of varying paper stock, size, and characteristics must be scanned, saved, barcoded, etc. Applications include state-revenue processing, health-insurance claims, and prescription processing.

The ImageTrac scanner, the second generation of the system, is designed to support printing applications which require a more versatile print head. The system captures images in high-quality 24-bit color and can be rendered in multiple formats. The system can feed and transport documents of all shapes and sizes. It even tolerates staples, clips, wrinkles, and creases.

Motion-control components are required to position the ink-jet printer, which is designed to print over any portion of a document as it is transported through the machine. The company’s SoftTrac software positions the unit’s versatile print head by sending information to a motor, which actuates the print head’s motion.

According to ImageTrac Project Engineer Todd Lyter, the following requirements needed to be met by this motion control component:

Simplicity: a single, drop-in assembly to fit directly into the existing product designs. This means less onsite inventory and decreased labor time for product manufacturing.

Strength and durability: customers have high-volume scanning needs and no time for work stoppages to repair or replace one faulty component.

Cost: incurring excessive cost for the parts could potentially necessitate a cost increase to the end-user.

To meet their requirements, IBML engineers chose Marathon Norco Aerospace’s Miniature Rollnut, a leadscrew actuator that converts rotary motion to linear motion or vice-versa. The small, lightweight component is different from conventional ballscrews and nuts in that a roller (instead of a ball) rides in a thread groove. This results in line contact, not just point contact, with the shaft for smooth, vibrationfree, and precise motion. The roller assembly consists of a hardened, ground tapered roller rotating in sealed, lifetime-lubricated ball bearings. Coupled with the use of dry lubricant surfaces in the thread grooves, this yields virtually maintenance- free operation. The nut assembly has centralizing bearings at both ends, allowing it to tolerate side loads and assuring accurate alignment even at high linear velocities. Also, its durable construction can withstand harsh conditions including dirt, dust, moisture, and high vacuum.

According to John Boscia, Norco’s vice president for power transmission products, the Miniature Rollnut can be customized to meet the specific requirements of practically any application. This custom production capability is a core competency of the company.

Norco’s design team can specify a Mini Rollnut with materials of any type, including stainless steels and alloys, plastics, fiberglass, and other compounds. Designs can be combined and assembled with a variety of timing belt drives, sprockets, and pulleys.

Lyter explains, “The team was eager to meet our design requirements and worked hard to meet our deadlines. In the end, the component’s strength, durability, and custom capabilities were our primary reasons for choosing the Miniature Rollnut.”

Working together, the companies were able to develop a single, reasonably-priced component for its printer head, adding value for end-users without adding cost.

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