Custom Belt Fabrication of a Transport Belt for Dental X-ray Equipment

A manufacturer of dental x-ray processing equipment was experiencing a quality issue with a carrier belt in one of their systems. The problem arose from the belting system they were using to transport the x-ray film. The belt which is used to carry the finished film to viewing was made from woven polyester fabric with a silicone cover. The problem stemmed from the polyester fabric which was showing through the silicone cover distorting the x-ray image.

To mitigate this issue, we developed a belting system made from a clear Ultem substrate that was also coated with silicone. The transparent nature of the substrate prevented x-ray image distortion. This further enhanced the knitted endless and spin casting manufacturing process that was utilized. This innovative solution delivers a seamless belt that offers higher strength and longer service life.

The finished belt featured dimensions of 171 mm in circumference, a width of 30 mm, and a thickness of 1 mm. This transport belt project was completed to tightest tolerances of +0/-0.01 mm on length and delivered to the client in 6 weeks.

At Megadyne Belt Corp, our ability to manufacture innovative, specialty belting solutions makes us leaders in the industry. In this project we provided a unique solution to solve the client’s image quality problem and delivered a trouble free conveying solution. For information on this project, please contact Megadyne Belt Corporation of America.

  • Company using a woven polyester belt with a silicone cover to process dental x-ray film.
  • Client needed to improve quality of the x-ray image since the fabric tends to show through the silicone.
  • Megadyne Belt Corporation of America’s solution: a clear spin cast Ultem substrate with the same silicone surface cover.
  • Still being tested for life cycles.

Product Description

Used in the transportation of dental x-ray films.

Capabilities Applied/Processes

Primary:
Knitted Endless
Spin Casting
Secondary:
Coated with Silicone

Overall Part Dimensions

Circumference: 171 mm
Width: 30 mm
Thickness: 1 mm

Tightest Tolerances

+0 / -0.01 mm on Length

Material Used

Fabric Substrate – Polyester
Silicone Cover
Ultem

Material Finish

Knitted Endless

In process testing/inspection performed

Dimensional Inspection

Industry for Use

Dental x-Ray Equipment

Delivery/Turnaround Time

6 Weeks

Delivery Location

Worldwide

Standards Met

Customer Specifications, 2D CAD Drawing

Product Name

Transport Belt

Why did you choose this project to show case?

Our problem solving capabilities to solve a different problem.

Capping—Not Crushing—Plastic Bottles

We are now in an age where manufacturers and consumers alike are increasingly conscious about the environmental impact of their actions. One of the effects of a greener philosophy is a push towards using less plastic in everything from shopping bags to water bottles. This posed a unique problem for one of our customers, who used machines to cap plastic bottles. BCA helped this customer adjust to the wave of eco-friendly packages on the market today.Capping.jpg

The problem, according to the distributor, was that the newer bottles were too delicate for their equipment. The bottles utilized less plastic, and thus had thinner walls that were easily crushed when their machines reached out to grip and stabilize them. The distributor’s previous supplier was unable to help them solve the issue, so they turned to us for assistance.

Our solution was to develop a bull-nose profile and mold a soft cover made with natural rubber to the back of the belt. Our gripper belts featured a rounded, convex shape that perfectly matched the profile of the plastic bottles. Thanks to the new, rubberized surface, the belts were capable of grabbing and spinning the plastic bottles without crushing them, allowing the machines to apply and torque the caps successfully.

We also improved the design of the machines so that the belts would grip the bottles around the neck, rather than in the middle. The bottle necks were thicker and sturdier than their flimsy, middle portions. This design modification further improved the performance of our gripper belts by minimizing the risk of damage during the bottling process.

BCA was able to provide our customer with an innovative solution for an unusual problem. Our specially-designed gripper belts did not crush the newer, eco-friendly plastic bottles like the customer’s original equipment did. By modifying the position of the belts so that they gripped the bottles at their sturdiest point, we also further minimized the risk of damaged products in the future.

Case Study: Stamping Mylar Balloons

A manufacturer of Mylar balloons approached Belt Corporation of America with a unique problem. Their balloons were made on a large piece of equipment that stamped sheets of Mylar to create the balloons. In a short amount of time, the belts were growing worn and damaged due to the abrasive stamping procedure. Belt Corporation of America was asked to make an improved belt with better performance and a longer service life.

mylar_baloonsThe customer was originally using a fully endless felt belt with a silicone cover. The belts were not only expensive, but their supplier could only provide a 40A durometer silicone. This durometer is similar to the hardness of a pencil eraser. As a result, the stamping blades would sink easily into the silicone cover during production, damaging the belt. The manufacturer wanted to maintain a silicone cover on the belt, but could only keep the silicone if it had a harder durometer that could withstand the abrasive stamping motion of the equipment.

To meet the customer’s demands, the team at Belt Corporation of America was able to work with one of its material suppliers to create a silicone with a durometer of 50A, which is between the firmness of a pencil eraser and a car tire tread. This new material was tougher than the original and more resistant to cuts. The balloon manufacturer has found the silicone to be superior to their previous cover.

At Belt Corporation of America, we were able to go above and beyond the capabilities of typical suppliers to find a solution to our customer’s issues. The new belt that we produced was not only more efficient but also less expensive than the belts that the customer had been using in the past. We were able to meet the customer’s requirements and deliver cost savings, customized service, and high quality at the same time.

Case Study: Saving Time and Money at the ATM

At Belt Corporation of America, one of our specialties is reverse engineering. Reverse engineering is a process in which manufacturers disassemble a product and rebuild an improved version of it. We used reverse engineering to help one of our customers in the banking industry upgrade the belts on their ATM machines.

Diebold_ATM_restart-1-1The customer was a third party repair contractor who was experiencing quality issues with the belts inside Diebold ATM machines. While new belts performed well, they had a very limited lifecycle. Compounding this problem, the OEM responsible for making the replacements was running behind schedule. The contractor asked us to reverse engineer the part to make it more reliable and durable over a longer time span.

To meet this challenge, the engineers at Belt Corporation of America received the current belt from the customer, along with information about the machine in which it was being used. We analyzed the belt and its application in order to design a modified version. Our solution was to develop a belt from a longer-lasting compound. The EPDM rubber compound that we ultimately used contained carbon, which made it better suited to long-term use.

In addition to meeting our customer’s requests for a tougher ATM belt, we were also able to cut costs and ensure timely delivery. The improved belt not only lasted longer than the original, but also had a lower initial cost. These factors, combined with reliable shipping, helped us earn the trust of our customer and made this project a success.

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Case Study: Improving the efficiency of a Food Packaging OEM

Belt Corporation of America helped one OEM in the food packaging industry increase production by making their equipment more efficient. In this case, the OEM had issues accommodating larger packages using their vertical form fill seal machine for potato chips.  Our role was to refine the belts on the equipment, making it faster and more productive.

plastic-bag-thumbA form fill seal machine is a three-in-one piece of equipment that makes bags, fills them with product, and then seals them. It relies on a pair of belts to pull the bags through the machine to complete the process. The problem with the OEM’s machine was that it could not maintain its normal speed of production with a larger bag. The OEM  was not making enough bags, and came to us looking for a way to address this issue.

To solve the problem, we selected a pair of belts with a high coefficient of friction and designed it with a row of vacuum holes. This reduced slippage made it easier for the distributor to increase the speed of production and create more bags. The belts were also more efficient at pulling the larger-sized bags through the bagging machine.

Belt Corporation of America has years of experience with using belts to improve and solve manufacturing issues. A positive outcome of our success with this project is that we are still in touch with this manufacturer today. As this case illustrates, we have the expertise and knowledge to design high quality, practical belts for a number of different applications.

Automatic Towel Dispensers

Our ability to manufacture mini-pitch belts helped Georgia Pacific implement a new design for automated paper towel dispensers. The belts that we delivered were small, but also constructed from strong and durable materials suited for a high volume output. The success of this project has led to the deployment of tens of thousands of towel dispensers, each equipped with BCA’s products.

paper-towel-dispenseAt the start of this project, our customer expressed a desire to build a compact automatic paper towel dispenser. Typically, these dispensers relied on ratchet gears to advance sheets of paper from a roll. Although effective, the gears were also bulky. Our role was to provide the customer with a belting solution that had the smallest possible footprint.
We solved the problem of size by utilizing mini-pitch timing belts to drive the mechanism. As its name suggests, these belts were very small and featured a very fine pitch. These precision manufactured synchronous timing belts were a perfect fit for this application.

We further improved these belts by manufacturing them from urethane Kevlar. Urethane Kevlar is an extraordinary compound that boasts excellent strength and durability.  This insured that the belts would provide improved performance and durability, decreased noise, and increased lifespan of the product compared to the ratchet gear models.

Our mini-pitch belts not only met but exceeded the design requirements set by our customer. They easily fit within a smaller unit, and had the ability to handle repeated use over time. As a result, our unique design has been replicated in automatic paper towel dispensers all over the world. In fact, it’s quite likely that you will see our belts at work the next time you reach your hand out for a sheet.

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Case Study: Improved Belts for Tree Harvesters

Belt Corporation of America has a proven history of success in solving belt problems, both large and small, for distributors as well as for OEMs.  Often businesses will come to us with a specific problem that needs to be addressed, and in these instances, our engineers have applied innovative solutions to solve their most difficult belting issues.

harvested-treesIn one such case, a distributor approached Belt Corporation for help. The customer needed to improve the performance of a belt – that they were using – that was simply not doing the job.

The belt in question was being used for a tree harvesting operation.  These particular belts are used to pull whole tree trunks and limbs through a machine that strips away the bark and branches.  The process involved using a two-belt system, each with a cover that fit inside the other one.  However, the belts the customer was using were not lasting long enough to be effective. The customer needed a belt with increased durability and longevity.  In addition, the pre-cured rubber compound cover glued onto the belts was not suitable for prolonged outdoor exposure, as it resulted in cracking.

Our solution was to produce a belt with a molded cover – a specialty of Belt Corporation of America. Molded covers are truly endless and contained no splices that could potentially compromise the performance of the belts. This feature is critical for use in a heavy-duty, rough application such as tree harvesting.  The newly developed belt easily handled the severe-duty tree harvesting application.

In addition, our engineers developed a compound that is both abrasion and oil resistant.  The resulting product provides increased durability while maintaining flexibility in varied weather conditions.

Our distributor continues to order what has now become one of our standard belts, and still looks to Belt Corporation of America to solve their customers’ difficult application issues.