Coating Factory Utilizes Self-Lubricating Bearings

Coating Factory Utilizes Self-Lubricating Bearings

Contributed by: VescoPlastics

Dam linings, billboards, butchery aprons, upholstery materials, place mats, tents, tarpaulins, and jumping castle fabrics are some of the items that will soon start being produced by Arthur Dowson (Pty) Ltd. in Johannesburg, South Africa. The laminating and coating factory will utilize a production line that will be introducing Vesconite Hilube support bearings for the fabric roll shaft.

Arthur Dowson maintenance manager Roy Rodgers reports that the company had previously used Teflon and nylon support bearings before switching to Vesconite, a self-lubricating high-load-bearing polymer, that was shown to last two to three times as long as Teflon and nylon.

Vesconite proved a success compared to the alternatives, which tended to be ground down by the rolling action that they were exposed to, he says.

Upon deciding to re-establish the laminating and coating factory, a decision was made to change to Vesconite Hilube, the more advanced version of the polymer Vesconite that boasts a lower co-efficient of friction and requires less lubrication.

Rodgers explains that, at the start of the production process, the fabric roll shaft, with the raw material around it, rests on a Vesconite Hilube support bearing.

This curtain-like material will roll off the fabric shaft at 12 meters per minute and then be coated with an anchor coat (or bonding coat) before it receives a top coat that is set in an oven.

Once it has received the coatings on the one side, the material is rolled onto another fabric roll shaft that is supported at the other end of the production line with more Vesconite Hilube support bearings.

Roughly 1,000 meters of the roll is typically transported back to the start of the production line so that the reverse of the material can also be coated.

The process is then repeated, and the roll of fabric gains in weight and volume as it receives additional coatings.

Rodgers reports that the fabric rolls can weigh up to 2 tons after coating, with some clients requiring more coatings that result in an even greater fabric weight.

The decision to use the current plain support bearing design was motivated by the fact that roller bearings have to be removed with the fabric shaft. The current design, which is a block shape with an open end that allows the fabric shaft to be lowered onto it and moved, is an easier-to-operate design, explains Vesconite Bearings mechanical engineer Juan van Wyk.

Using Vesconite or Vesconite Hilube also offers the advantage of allowing for easy cleaning, since the polymers are resistant to many acids and alkalies, including acetone, paraffin and turpentine, he says.

Rodgers reports that the material coating company lubricated the previous Vesconite support bearings to reduce wear and is likely to continue the practice with the Vesconite Hilube support bearings.

Wear becomes particularly important on the support bearings at the end of the production line, since the coupling of the drive-end attachment and the material shaft have a small range for engagement, he says.

Rodgers reports that the company had three production lines running 24 hours a day previously, and that the coating firm will expand according to need following the successful implementation of the initial production line.

VescoPlastics is South Africa’s leading manufacturer of low friction, low wear polymer bearing materials for a wide range of industries in over 100 countries across the globe. (


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