Efficient material handling is critical in modern manufacturing. A century ago, moving materials from one place to another depended primarily on manual labor. It was cumbersome and time-consuming. Today, advanced technologies and equipment design innovations automate much of the work. To remain competitive, however, manufacturers must constantly search for ways to further streamline their operations.
Solutions in Motion™
Cleanliness matters in all manufacturing facilities, but in certain situations, extreme sanitation is priority number one. Food and beverage processing, for instance, cannot allow contaminants to accumulate on equipment because they could get into products. And pharmaceutical manufacturing requires sterility down to the microbial level. Therefore, in all these environments, equipment must be washed down frequently.
Wash down involves high-pressure cleaning with very hot water and/or chemicals. This process is designed to kill bacteria and other microorganisms. Since it is both frequent and intense, it’s imperative to have industrial components that can withstand such harsh conditions as well as deliver desired performance reliably. Food packaging equipment, for instance, generally requires components that can achieve high-speed actuation and withstand the rigors of repeated, caustic washdown.
Equipment often has to meet stringent standards set by an array of government and industry entities. Those standards also directly affect equipment design and component choice.
Machine builders are being asked, or sometimes pushed, by their clients to do more, which means the automated machinery they design needs to do more. Machines need to have high throughput, better accuracy, improved reliability, more
It's no different with components used in automated machinery. Machine builders desire performance and value of the components they use. Let's look at pneumatic rodless cylinders, which are commonly used in various types of automated machinery.
At W.C. Branham, we're all about "Solutions in Motion." For more than three decades, we have engineered and manufactured components that enable all sorts of machines to move, many of them in industrial applications. Providing versatile components and choosing the right pieces for the intended motion is vital when creating the most appropriate solution. Take packaging machinery, for example.
Packaging facilities might handle anything from sealing roasted peanuts in bags to shrink-wrapping pallets. Processes involve multiple steps, and machines have to move in a multitude of ways as they transport and coordinate products and wrapping materials. Gearboxes are the “traffic cops” that keep things moving so processes function smoothly and seamlessly. Helical and spiral bevel gears are both used in packaging machinery but for different purposes.
As an industry, food processing covers a lot of ground. It’s candy bars in wrappers, potato chips in bags, shrink-wrapped meat, and any number of prepared products in cans and boxes. It’s beverages, too, with production and bottling of everything from water to beer or wine in plastic, glass or aluminum containers. And these containers must be flawlessly sanitary.
If you're in the packaging industry, you've likely heard of the PACK EXPO, which just wrapped up this past week in Las Vegas. Whether you’re new to the industry or a packaging veteran, the PACK EXPO is a great opportunity to explore manufacturing options or start a conversation with others in the industry.
Here at W.C. Branham, we are especially proud of the role our company and products have played over the years in helping improve packaging equipment design and functionality. Versatility is critical when it comes to equipment design options, because “packaging” covers a lot of ground. Products come in all sizes, shapes, and weights, all of which present certain design challenges. But all equipment requires actuators to move the process along and stop/hold at certain points.
Things happen and sometimes repairs are inevitable. That’s part of life when you’re working with any type of equipment. Pneumatic cylinders used in industrial applications operate in high-stress environments, so it's likely they will need repairs at some point—even if they are built to last.
Here are four things you can do to extend the life of your pneumatic cylinders:
1. One thing you should get in the habit of doing is regularly inspecting and maintaining your pneumatic cylinders. There are times when something just breaks or goes askew, but most often, repairs become necessary due to wear and tear. Cylinders that receive regular attention perform the best and last the longest.
Topics: Pneumatic Cylinders
During the engineering design process, you have to map out every component you'll need. If you need a gearbox for your application, how do you know which type? These products are very popular with design engineers because they are extremely versatile, but that also means there's a lot to choose from.
Some styles are particularly well-suited for certain applications. For instance, W.C. Branham makes continuous recirculation lubrication (CRL) models that are an excellent choice for heavy-duty, high-cycle applications, whereas our spiral-bevel models are ideal for high rpm applications. For packaging and similar applications, you may want to consider our Include-A-Shaft gearboxes.
Topics: Right Angle Gearboxes
Actuators move or control devices or system components. Linear actuators operate in a straight line. They can be powered with air, fluid, electricity, or even the human hand—although for industrial applications, a hand crank is a bit rustic. Let us clarify for you the differences between pneumatic and electric linear actuators.
In some ways, both types of actuators are the same. Both electric and pneumatic designs are compact, and they are both cost-efficient, though in somewhat different ways. Electric actuators offer excellent design flexibility when it comes to control options, good for when you need extreme precision. Pneumatic actuators are known for their quick response and defined stroke. They can deliver force anywhere between 4,000 and 2,000 pounds.
Increasingly, space is a major consideration when designing equipment for industrial applications. Compact air cylinders are becoming more popular than ever, because of their short stroke and low profile which can accommodate tight spaces where traditional cylinders would not fit.