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Item forges ahead on the aluminium frame front

11 February 2011

Following a period of extensive development, Item has introduced three completely new systems to extend its aluminium building kit system, all of which is available in the UK from Machine Building Systems, along with free design advice for customers

Item's new D30 aluminium tube system has been designed with ease of use and flexibility in mind. The only tool required for assembly is a 5mm Allen-headed screwdriver making it a perfect choice for creating bespoke equipment at the side of production lines or workstations.

Users are presented with a choice of lightweight anodised aluminium extrusions: a plain cylindrical tube, a profiled tube that ensures perfect alignment for trouble-free assembly, and a selection of profiles with grooves that accept fittings from Item's Profile 6 range of accessories.

The assembly process couldn't be easier - or more forgiving. The corrosion resistant die-cast aluminium fastening components allow high clamping forces to be generated that prevent twisting, thus creating stable constructions. The forgiving nature of the fasteners – lengths can be cut up to 5mm shorter than required – means that cutting can be done on-site with a simple hacksaw, as a square cut-off is not necessary.

An electrostatic discharge (ESD) contact is automatically generated by all fasteners within this system, to ensure safe dissipation of damaging electrostatic charges by default. This makes the D30 the natural choice for electronic component assembly areas.

For heavier loads, parallel fasteners allow multiple struts to be connected in order increase strength and reduce deflection, and bracing struts are available for supporting those joints that are subject to bending moments.
The completed frameworks can be securely attached to Item MB System Profile 8 grooves, or any flat surface, using adaptors or end connectors. Alternatively, for stand-alone applications, threaded inserts allow adjustable height knuckle-feet or castors to be fitted.

Multiblocks, panel fasteners and tube clamps allow ancillary parts to be readily attached, whist Kanban shelves and conveyor lines can easily be created using the ESD roller conveyors and slide strips, which are included in the D30 tube system range.

Ergonomic workbenches
There are plenty of choices for configuring work-space for manual assembly with Item's new Ergonomic Work Bench System. Based on a modular concept utilising three different types of height adjustable table frames, with a further choice of four work-top materials in six sizes, a selection of 80 different types of workbench can be constructed - and that's before adding options for customising the working environment.

Using Item's easily-accessed on-line software, the user can build his or her own virtual customised bench to suit the application, which can then be turned into a CAD model or sent electronically for a quotation request.
Height adjustment is achieved either manually with the Workbench F or, if the flexibility of changing from sitting to standing is required, electrically with the Workbench E or the heavier duty Workbench 4E.

All work-tops are available in sizes from 1,200x600 to 1,800x750mm, so the working environment can be adapted to the products being handled. They are available in 40mm beech multi-ply, 30mm HPL, 25mm laminated chipboard or, for an electrostatically safe environment, 30mm HPL with ESD conductivity. ESD requirements are also served by using Item's ESD table mat, wristbands and connecting cables.

The workbench can be adapted with the addition of an optional fully adjustable upright and overhang which utilise Item MB System Profile 8 grooves for attachment of an array of ancillary components, including parts containers, flicker-free lighting and overhead tool balancers. E-type workbenches can also be complemented with the addition of a cable duct for channelling power and data cables.

There is a choice of pivot arm to place everything within easy reach or for mounting HMIs, plus a range of hooks and holders that can be used for the safe storage of tools, cloths and cups. It is also easy to integrate a PC into the workstation using Item's fully adjustable PC mount and keyboard shelf, whilst written instructions can be accommodated using display panels or magnetic notice holders in standard A4 sizes.

New aluminium profiles
OEMs now have even more possibilities for optimising machine frame construction with the introduction of Item's new Line 10 aluminium profile system. Based on a 50mm module, there are seven new aluminium extrusions from 50x50 to 200x100mm, all with 10mm T-slotted grooves to accommodate heavy-duty fastenings.

Capable of accepting tensile loads up to 7,000N, these anodised aluminium extrusions utilise the same type of high strength fasteners that have been the cornerstone of the Item machine construction system for over thirty years. The extrusions themselves have an enhanced profile cross-section for optimised use of raw materials whilst retaining the familiar external shape and profile grooves. A comprehensive range of accessories is also available for the construction of heavy-duty assemblies, including components for the attachment of levelling feet and panels.

All three systems described in this article are in stock now at Machine Building Systems’ Ripley factory, where design assistance is freely available.

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