H&S ad­dress in­dus­trial noise is­sues at their source


Noise can be a ma­jor safety hazard in in­dus­trial and re­sources pro­cess­ing, pro­duc­tion au­to­ma­tion and trans­port lo­gis­tics plants, where the sound of heavy ma­te­ri­als han­dling ma­chin­ery op­er­at­ing can dis­tract at­ten­tion from the job in hand and drown out the sound of mal­func­tion­ing ma­chines, alarm sig­nals or a warn­ing shouts.

Noise ex­po­sure is also Aus­tralia’s most com­mon pre­ventable cause of oc­cu­pa­tional hear­ing loss, with Work­safe Aus­tralia es­ti­mat­ing that a mil­lion em­ploy­ees in this coun­try may be ex­posed to haz­ardous lev­els of noise at work. Dam­age to hear­ing can oc­cur when noise lev­els are higher than 85 deci­bels, which is about the loud­ness of heavy traf­fic.

“One highly ef­fec­tive way in which the noise prob­lem can be ad­dressed at its root cause (rather than through hear­ing pro­tec­tive de­vices, valu­able though they are) is in the sub­sti­tu­tion of en­gi­neer­ing plas­tics in ap­pli­ca­tion ar­eas where quiet run­ning, low weight and low fric­tion are ad­van­ta­geous,” says Cut To Size NSW Man­ager Mr Pat Flood, who has more than

30 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in tai­lor­ing light, tough and quiet in­dus­trial en­gi­neer­ing plas­tics to in­di­vid­ual ap­pli­ca­tion needs.

He says one of the most ver­sa­tile ma­te­ri­als in­creas­ingly sub­sti­tut­ing for more ex­pen­sive met­als in­cludes the Wear­lon fam­ily of ny­lon poly­mers, which ex­tends from the most com­monly used and cost­ef­fec­tive PA6 semi-crys­talline polyamides through to espe­cially for­mu­lated types such as PA12, which is used where greater shock loads and vi­bra­tions damp­ing ef­fi­ciency are re­quired in rollers, gears and pin­ions. Cut To Size man­u­fac­tures ma­chin­ery com­po­nents from such ma­te­ri­als for ap­pli­ca­tions across Aus­trala­sia from its Head of­fice in Syd­ney where fa­cil­i­ties in­clude CNC ma­chin­ing fa­cil­i­ties cou­pled with Gibb­sCAM and Solid­works soft­ware.

“Wear­lon ny­lon is used across many in­dus­tries to re­duce noise and re­duce ma­chin­ery rail wear, with ap­pli­ca­tions in­clud­ing food and bev­er­age, min­eral pro­cess­ing, agribusi­ness ma­te­ri­als han­dling and in­dus­tries that want to avoid cor­ro­sion or the need to use lu­bri­cants that can con­tam­i­nate pro­duc­tion.

Ny­lon rollers, for ex­am­ple, of­fer high wear re­sis­tance, low fric­tion and lower noise where a part slides over the roller sur­face. Ny­lon rollers also of­fer sav­ings in main­te­nance costs and, be­ing non- cor­ro­sive, of­fer all-weather per­for­mance in out­side in­stal­la­tions, in­clud­ing min­eral pro­cess­ing plants and lo­gis­tics op­er­a­tions. Uses in­clude beam trol­ley rollers, mono­rail rollers and turntable rollers, as well as vi­tal parts on con­vey­ors and belts.

“Cast ny­lon trun­nion wheels can also be used to re­duce plant op­er­a­tion noise and re­duce wear on ro­tat­ing bar­rels,” says Mr Flood. Ny­lon trun­nion wheels can be used in noise and vi­bra­tion- prone ap­pli­ca­tions where they sup­port ver­ti­cal bar­rel loads and dual thrust loads.

Wear­lon trun­nion rollers pro­tect their run­ning sur­faces while pro­vid­ing good damp­ing of vi­bra­tion and noise in ap­pli­ca­tions such as rotary drum screens, wire ca­ble win­dows and rollers and guide wheels in trans­port ve­hi­cles, crane car­riages, crane tracks, trol­leys, stor­age and re­trieval sys­tems, as well as han­dling sys­tems and ap­pli­ca­tions with rolling move­ments (such as ver­ti­cal con­vey­ors, bucket el­e­va­tors and trough con­vey­ors).

Cut To Size ex­trudes com­po­nents man­u­fac­tured from ny­lon rod di­am­e­ters be­low 50mm and casts them above this mea­sure. Com­po­nents made from sheet ma­te­rial 10mm thick and lower is ex­truded, while 10mm and above is cast.

“Cast ny­lon is bet­ter for ma­chin­ing the larger com­po­nents, be­cause it is slightly more duc­tile, has less in­ter­nal stresses and has more con­sis­tent den­sity com­pared with the ex­truded ma­te­rial in th­ese sizes. So, we use cast­ing to de­liver op­ti­mum long-term per­for­mance in larger com­po­nents,” says Flood.

While the Wear­lon fam­ily of­ten of­fers a highly cost- ef­fec­tive so­lu­tion to noise, fric­tion and wear abate­ment is­sues, Cut To Size also en­gi­neers com­po­nents from a full range of en­gi­neer­ing plas­tics from world class sup­pli­ers, in­clud­ing ny­lon, ac­etal, PTFE, polyurethane and spe­cial­ist high- per­for­mance prod­ucts.

Spe­cial­ist prod­ucts in­clude the Wear­lon fam­ily of L iN NOT AM Hi PER­FOR­MANCE poly amid es, for ex­am­ple, which are par­tially crys­talline, ther­mo­plas­tic high- per­for­mance polyamides which, us­ing care­fully for­mu­lated ad­di­tives and mod­i­fiers, have been spe­cially de­signed for the de­mand­ing re­quire­ments of spe­cialty com­po­nents in ma­chin­ery de­sign.

Th­ese in­clude pro­duc­tion- crit­i­cal ap­pli­ca­tions, such as pro­duc­tion au­to­ma­tion and high-vol­ume prod­uct pro­cess­ing and con­vey­ing where down­time costs are con­sid­er­able, and pro­duc­ers wish also to avoid the haz­ards of re­plac­ing heav­ier and more labour-in­ten­sive ma­chin­ery com­po­nents.

The high- per­for­mance polyamides are part of Cut To Size’s na­tion­ally avail­able Wear­lon ranges from the in­ter­na­tional man­u­fac­turer and fab­ri­ca­tor of en­gi­neer­ing plas­tics, Licharz, which pro­duces the glob­ally proven LiNNOTAM fam­ily of light but rugged polyamides for easy ma­chin­ing and espe­cially long ser­vice lives.

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