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Chains unleash conveyor capabilities

12 May 2013

iwis accumulation and plate chains are performing a variety of demanding power transmission tasks as vital components of German machine builder Schnaithmann Maschinenbau's modular product assembly and transfer systems.

Based in Remshalden close to Stuttgart, Schnaithmann manufactures transfer and assembly systems for automation, assembly, material flow and handling tasks. The family-owned company was founded in 1985, and its formula for success is based on the development of two key product lines: Modular Transfer Systems (MTS) catering for an enormous range of applications and offering an extensive selection of belt systems, and Flexible Profile Systems (FPS), which contain components for feeding and handling equipment as part of a complete modular system. 

By combining these two systems and integrating third party components such as linear drives, grippers and robotics, it is possible to create fully customised materials transfer system for applications ranging from automotive assembly to machine tool sequencing. The systems are capable of handling products weighing up to 150kg apiece.

Schnaithmann’s BS 11 modular transfer system, for example, is mainly used in automotive manufacturing, for vehicle and automotive component assembly, but it is also suitable for use in the consumer goods field, for transporting and assembling domestic appliances and the like. The belt transfer system is designed for maximum flexibility, and comprises a standard MTS to which other components can be added as required by the customer, including stoppers, positioning devices, turning stations, and so on. Belt segment load capacity is up to 1,500N/m.

The rugged and reliable BS11 is compatible with third party systems and offers a number of innovative features. For example, when several segments are connected to form longer conveyor systems, the maintenance segments that were previously essential with conventional systems can be omitted entirely, because when a return or drive unit has to be replaced, the modules concerned can simply be removed to one side with very little space requirement.

A 1/2 in accumulation chain from iwis is used to transport the work piece carriers in this transfer system, the hardened steel accumulation rollers ensuring a long service life and sintered rollers reducing friction, keeping the surface clean and dry. Optional chain and product guards are available to cover the chains completely from above, so the system can also be implemented in applications subject to contamination by dirt or work piece chippings.

These low friction chain drives are energy efficient and it is possible to extend configured conveyor lengths by up to 30 percent without having to increase driving power. This also means that, compared with more conventional accumulation chain installations, motor power can be reduced for similar conveyor applications.

Another of Schnaithmann’s modular transfer systems in which iwis chains are used is the BS 86 pallet conveyor. These systems are often used to transport components and billets to and from machine tools, and even into the machining area of the spindle. They are suitable for loads of up to 800N/m, but a heavy duty version can also be supplied if needed. Like the BS 11, this conveyor system is also extremely flexible, and its modular construction, comprising standard MTS components, allows components such as stoppers or lift indexing elements to be added if required.

The BS 86 belt power transmission system is provided by an iwis type LR 4810 hardened plate chain, which provides good resistance to swarf and dirt. The plate surface layer undergoes an additional heat treatment process to give exceptional hardness, thus increasing strength and abrasion resistance.

The flatness of the plates ensures smooth, quiet running and provides a flat bearing surface for components and work piece carriers. Moreover, the surface is completely closed, thereby excluding any risk of injury. A special geometric design enables tight angular radii, so multi-lane applications will have very narrow dividers, minimising the incidence of dead areas.

Besides accumulation chains and plate chains, iwis also offers a comprehensive product range for all power transmission applications and conveyor technology. The complete product programme comprises precision and high-performance roller chains, conveyor chains, maintenance-free and corrosion-resistant chains, accumulation chains, special-purpose conveyor chains, flyer chains, flat-top chains and modular belts for industrial applications, chains and accessories for agricultural machinery, and timing drive systems for the automotive industry.

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