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Industrial Hardware and Machine Parts

Innovating food processing equipment with custom metal parts

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Have you ever had a piece of equipment that worked perfectly…except that one little part that gave you trouble — say, a filter that kept getting clogged or an electrical connector that was always on the fritz? Wouldn’t it be great if you could redesign just that one piece to improve the operation of the entire machine?

These are exactly the kinds of problems Switzer is equipped to solve.

The family-owned custom metal parts manufacturer works with customers across industries — aerospace, medical, telecommunication, optics and photonics, and food processing, and many others — to design and fabricate precision metal parts for use in a variety of innovative technologies. They even worked with X, Google’s R&D division, on Project Loon, which uses balloons flying in the stratosphere to provide Internet access to remote areas. Switzer developed custom metal components for the balloons’ power supply.

To learn more about their work in the food industry, we spoke with Joseph Dunlop, the company’s vice president of business development.

Tackling a common food and beverage industry challenge: Filtration

“Everyone’s trying to be better, smaller, faster, and more efficient with less field service required,” Dunlop says.

That’s certainly true in the food industry, where competition, low profit margins, and a shrinking workforce are pushing processors to improve their operations while cutting their costs. Switzer recently tackled these issues for a notable OEM.

Currently, most filters fall into the commodity category. They’re typically an inexpensive woven wire mesh that can be cut to size. Woven wire mesh may be cheap, but it has two major downsides:

  1. Blinding. Blinding occurs when particles get caked on the filter and prevent working fluids from moving through. This impairs the filter’s performance until it’s no longer usable. As a result, the filters have to be replaced frequently. It has a similar impact in grinding and pulverizing applications.
  2. Structure degradation. Over time, the fiber structure of wire mesh weakens. “The distance between the wires will grow and shrink based on how much media is going through the woven wire mesh filter, and how much fatigue it witnesses,” Dunlop explains.

The OEM wanted to eliminate these problems. They also imposed an additional caveat: the new filter had to fit into the same space as the old one. The goal wasn’t to redesign the entire machine, just to provide higher-quality, longer-lasting filtration.

“This was a cool engineering problem for us,” Dunlop says. What Switzer developed was a metal filter that was thinner and more efficient than the traditional wire mesh. “When we make filtration media, it’s a single piece and it’s flat. We don’t weave anything, so there’s no three-dimensional component, no Z direction.” The single-piece construct is also more durable than woven wire, so the filter doesn’t have to be replaced as often.

This is just one example of the kind of “bleeding edge” technology innovation Switzer can bring to the food industry. The possibilities are endless.

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Industrial Hardware and Machine Parts

Less planning effort for material flow solutions

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With the inclusion of the new stacker crane and transfer cars in its planning software, Interroll has once again expanded the range of applications of the popular Interroll Layouter Tool. With this application, which can be seamlessly integrated into the AutoCAD design program, planners and system integrators can now visualize even complex conveyor systems end-to-end at the click of a mouse and make them available for quotation and ordering processes. By digitalizing the necessary process chain, planning times for customers can be dramatically reduced—by up to 90 percent, depending on the initial situation.

The ability to visualize technical planning has always been one of the central requirements in the project business with modern material flow solutions. But even today, the path from the first plant design to the detailed technical project planning, which leads to the preparation of a quotation and the concrete award of the contract, is in most cases still characterized by time-consuming breaks in the work processes. For example, initial visualizations of the overall solution must later be broken down to all the required individual components of the desired plants. The fact that this process step can be avoided is demonstrated by the Layouter Tool that Interroll makes available free of charge to enable customers worldwide to shorten their planning phase significantly.

“With our application, which can be seamlessly integrated into AutoCAD as a plug-in, planners and system integrators can not only visualize the planned conveyor solution based on the desired parameters,” explains Marcus Dörr, Global Product Manager for the Modular Pallet Conveyer Platform (MPP) at Interroll. “The Layouter Tool also simultaneously specifies all the necessary technical components of the respective solution. In addition, the plug-and-play modularity of Interroll’s conveyor platforms ensures that the engineering effort required to put together the overall solution is eliminated”.

The advantages of this approach are impressive: Already with his first design, the AutoCAD user has all the technical information for the desired conveyor solution and, in the case of special framework agreements, even the necessary price information. This means that the planning data can easily be reused for the subsequent quotation or ordering process.

The Interroll Layouter Tool can be used for Interroll’s modular platform offers, such as the Modular Conveyor Platform (MCP), the MPP, or the company’s flow storage solutions. The free application is available as a plug-in for a full version of AutoCAD from version 2014. The Layouter Tool is compatible with Windows 7 to Windows 10; Microsoft Excel is required on the workstation computer.

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Industrial Hardware and Machine Parts

A surefire adrenalin kick

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In Europe´s biggest roller coaster, the Helix at the Liseberg amusement park in Gothenburg, POG 10 HeavyDuty incremental encoders from Baumer monitor the speed of the carrriage’s drive as it approaches the start ramp. The HeavyDuty technology guarantees high reliability and precision under extreme environmental conditions – serving up both thrills and reassuring safety for riders.

Liseberg in Gothenburg is Sweden’s largest amusement park. The Helix roller coaster is one of the attractions that swirls up an adrenalin kick. With a 1380 meter track, Helix is the longest looping roller coaster in Europe and the second longest in the world. It hurls its riders at up to 90 km/h through six loops and exposes them to up to five times their own bodyweight. This is the first time anywhere in the world where half of the riders, Helix takes up to 28, sit facing backwards, making the ride even more exciting. Before the start, the riders have to be brought to the start ramp at a height of 41 meters. Controlled asynchronous drives with 315 kW of power are used to move the carriages into the start position. The speed of this drive is recorded by the original Hübner Berlin POG 10 HeavyDuty encoder from Baumer. No easy task, as the roller coaster is freely exposed to the elements – heat from the sun, moisture from rain or wind currents. Hence the decision to go for HeavyDuty encoders from Baumer, making sure the riders experience the thrill as a pleasure too.

Reliability is critical

The POG 10 incremental HeavyDuty encoder and its sister model, the HOG 10 with hollow shaft, are among the most versatile product ranges of the Baumer HeavyDuty encoders. They deliver reliable speed data in a host of potential applications and operate under the toughest conditions. As a result, they help prevent failures and maintain the availability of machines and systems. This saves downtime costs in a host of applications. With the roller coaster, it even makes a valuable contribution to the safety of human life – a malfunction in the drive of a carriage would at best be annoying for the riders, and at worst a life-threatening experience.

The HeavyDuty technology of the POG 10 guarantees high reliability under challenging environmental conditions through numerous specific features. Thanks to solid and generously dimensioned wall thicknesses and a warp-resistant design, the die-cast housings are extremely robust and highly resistant to vibration and shock. Bearings at both encoder shaft ends and the metallic incremental disk offer huge power reserves and unparalleled durability through extreme resilience to axial and radial forces. For outdoor use, in a roller coaster for example, the excellent anticorrosive properties of the CX category of HeavyDuty encoders to EN ISO 12944, achieved through an optimal choice of material and high-resistant coating, are also extremely important. These properties allow the encoders to be used even on or in the ocean, in the Arctic, in the tropics or in the desert.

The combination of labyrinth and shaft seals also protects the inner workings of the HeavyDuty encoders from solid, moist and paste-like contamination. This sealing concept conforms to protection classes IP 66 and IP 67 within a broad temperature range of up to 95 degrees Celsius. Current-insulated bearings ultimately protect the ball bearings of the encoder from current flashovers, and this averts any impairment of the lubricant effect. The result is an almost indestructible full package that effectively prevents potential malfunctions and failures, even during tough continuous use in a roller coaster. This is all the more important as a replacement can get very costly – not because the encoder itself is expensive, but because it is typically mounted in barely accessible locations, as is the case on a roller coaster.

HeavyDuty as an all-encompassing performance promise

HeavyDuty means highly resilient. This is not only about a tight, solid housing and protection against the elements. The intrinsic values have to be right as well. “Of course, it’s always the strong ones, so to speak, that are used when the going gets tough, explains Steffen Günther, Head of the HeavyDuty Business Unit at Baumer. “Yet HeavyDuty offers an all-encompassing performance promise: such encoders must, first and foremost, function under extreme conditions at all times. Secondly, however, their signal accuracy must not suffer under these adverse conditions. For an encoder to be called HeavyDuty, it must be absolutely durable, impermeable and precise.”

Reliable precision is ensured by the interference-immune scanning function with highly robust, optical circuits (Opto-ASIC). This guarantees optimum electromagnetic compatibility with a burst strength for high-voltage pulses of up to 4 kV. In addition, the Enhanced Monitoring System (EMS) continuously checks numerous encoder functions, swiftly detects connection and encoder errors and transmits the encoder status to the inverter or to the control via an error output. The HeavyDuty encoders achieve the best possible SinCos signal quality through the LowHarmonics technology for outstanding control quality, low drive heat-up and high energy efficiency. The incremental square signal outputs also have short-circuit proof, powerful transistor drivers for peak currents of up to 300 mA. They ensure reliable signal quality even over long-distance transmissions of up to 350 meters.

These features – resilience and precision – make an important contribution to ensuring that the Gothenburg roller coaster riders are brought to the start ramp safely and at the correct speed. A good thing too, since this ascent to 41 meters is thrilling enough without any failures.

Baumer with Hübner Berlin as world leader for HeavyDuty encoders

Baumer guarantees to keep this all-encompassing performance promise every time with original Hübner Berlin technology through rigorous sample tests and by putting each and every HeavyDuty encoder through a full inspection before it leaves the factory. Resistance to electromagnetic fields, vibration, shocks, dust, hose water, salt spray and much more is ensured on test benches during series production. Detailed quality certificates confirm that these tests have been passed and give the customer the confidence that their encoder won’t leave them high and dry.

Baumer’s undisputed world leading position as a supplier of original Hübner Berlin HeavyDuty encoders is another such guarantee. The manufacturer can draw on experiences garnered in this encoder class since the 1950s. For 25 years now, the HOG 10/POG 10 product range has been considered the Non-Plus-Ultra in the segment. An original, often copied by the competition, but never equaled, in pursuit of offering more “Beyond the Standard” – more precision, more functionality, more resilience and more benefits for the user. A “more” that can be achieved only through the know-how created from decades of experience with the subject.

It can be assumed that the riders on the roller coaster in the Liseberg amusement park have no idea what’s going on. This promise of resilience and precision, however, keeps the operators safe in the knowledge that their ride will never become a roller coaster of feelings for them.

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Industrial Hardware and Machine Parts

Interroll intensifies exchange of expertise with digital channels

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Exchange of information and experience at the click of a mouse: Interroll is expanding and deepening interactive contact with its customers with new online services. From now on, training events for customers can be easily booked and conducted via the Internet, meetings with experts can be organized, and short videos on important industry topics can be accessed.

An important cornerstone of the new offering is the Interroll Academy, which for many years has been the driving force behind the transfer of knowledge between employees, customers and partners. The integrated learning programs offered by the Group-wide training and collaboration center ensure a seamless combination of different learning methods, techniques and materials. In this way, what has been learned can be optimally deepened and applied. The Interroll Academy cooperates with leading organizations such as the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics in Dortmund, Germany, and Krauthammer.

With the new e-learning offering by the Interroll Academy, users can access online training content from anywhere at any time. One example of the range of programs on offer is the user training course on the Interroll Layout designer, the popular planning software for the user-friendly design of complete material flow solutions.

Another possibility for a fast, targeted and worldwide exchange of know-how is the online booking of personal expert discussions, for example on technical or industry-specific issues. In addition, informative short videos—educational clips—provide interested parties with a quick introduction to topics that affect important industries such as the food or fashion industry.

“Our customers and partners rely on quality, speed and easiness from Interroll. We consistently deliver on this promise in the digital world as well. By further expanding our channels for virtual interaction, they can now access our expertise even more easily and enter into a professional exchange with us,” explains Jens Karolyi, Senior Vice President Corporate Marketing & Culture of the Interroll Group.

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