Machine Design

In the rough

A switch from standard vinyl to a PVC elastomer lets SoftSwipe cleaners better withstand abuse as golfers scrape mud, sand, and grass from their nonmetal spiked and cleated golf shoes.

Debris in golf shoe cleats can contaminate tees and greens by spreading poanna grass. Poanna grass is undesirable on tees and greens. Its growth is difficult to stop. Golf courses having golf carts outfitted with SoftSwipe cleaners say they have cleaner clubhouses and greens. The design of the cleaning rods (inset) makes it easy to rinse away debris with water.

The injection-molded devices from Carolina Engineered Products LLC mount on the floorboard of a golf cart, giving easy access for golfers.

"Steel-bristled brushes clean old-style metal cleats, but can't do the job on the smaller, shorter, and more intricate plastic cleats on today's golf shoes," says Wes Jolly, Carolina Engineered Products product development manager.

SoftSwipe cleaners feature 7-in. (18-cm) diameter disks with molded-in rods. Rubber-like performance is important for removing debris trapped in golf shoe cleats. Carolina Engineered Products first used a standard thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) for its cleaner, then flexible vinyl, before turning to the 80 Shore A durometer Flexalloy compound.

The switch from vinyl to Flexalloy elastomer from the Vinyl Div. of Teknor Apex Co., let the cleaning rods better endure abuse and temperature extremes, says Jolly. "Golfers not only scrape their cleats on the cleaners but step on them and kick them. And the black cleaners can reach temperatures of 150°F in the hot summer sun. Golf course operators store the carts in sheds and clubhouse basements during the winter months, where the cold can make the cleaning rods from standard materials become brittle and break off."

Flexalloy PVC elastomers are based on ultra high molecular weight PVC resin, which differs considerably from PVC used for compounding the vast bulk of vinyl formulations, says Philip R. Morin, Teknor Apex industry manager. This not only boosts toughness, but also improves resistance to temperature extremes. "Flexalloy elastomer provides the look, feel, and rubber-like elasticity of more widely known polyolefin and styrenic TPEs and surpasses them in tear and tensile strength and resistance to flexural fatigue," says Morin. "And, unlike standard flexible vinyl, it is truly elastic. It also has superior low-temperature flexibility and tear strength."

More Information:
Carolina Engineered Products LLC
Vinyl Div., Teknor Apex Co.

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