New hydraulic motorized pulleys designed for the meat and poultry industries.
Tech-Roll Inc., a Washington State-based company, manufactures a line of hydraulic motorized pulleys, or drum motors, as they are also known. The concept of motorized pulleys has been utilized for some time, but mainly for electrical applications. Tech-Roll’s president, Ulf Hansson, had the idea of a hydraulic motorized pulley while working with the North Pacific fishing industry, which has many large factory trawlers with a multitude of hydraulically driven conveyors.
The traditional way of driving these conveyors is by mounting hydraulic motors on a direct extension of the roller shaft with a flexible coupling in between. This can make a motor project out as far as 20 inches from the frame of the conveyor. As floor space is extremely precious on a fishing vessel, the concept of a motorized pulley was very welcome. One advantage was the fact that clean up at sea is done with high-pressure sea water, making motors and shafts prone to rusting. This was all eliminated with the Tech-Roll.
Entering meat and poultry industries
With the motor mounted inside a stainless steel roller with stainless steel bearings, and after ample testing in the fishing fleet, Tech-Roll introduced the product to the meat and poultry industries where it has gotten acclaim for the ease of sanitation and durability. With the introduction to the meat and poultry industry, a smaller-diameter roller that could accept sprockets for modular plastic or wire belting was needed, and Tech-Roll responded with its most common workhorse, the 4.5-inch diameter roller. The size will accommodate most common pitch diameter sprockets in use today. Being hydraulic, the 4.5 inch diameter can accommodate motors from 0.25hp to 10hp in the same 4.5-inch diameter envelope making it extremely versatile. The latest development is a 2.7-inch diameter roller for small loads such as trim belts that can accept a 4-inch pitch diameter sprocket.
For extreme loads, Tech-Roll builds an 8.5-inch diameter roller, which can accommodate single or dual motors up to 15 hp each. Presently, the maximum diameter for a Tech-Roll is 12.5 inches.
The Tech-Roll design is very simple. Tech-Roll President Ulf Hansson says with the present design, “We believe we have the most modular and simple design in the market.”
In fact, the Tech-Roll can be dismantled in its major parts in a few minutes and assembled within the same time frame.
Since there are no gears or oil bath inside the Tech-Roll, only a standard hydraulic motor and a commonly available ball bearing, any service on the Tech-Roll can be done in house without need for factory service. The manifold for the Tech-Roll is housed in a standard pillow block or flange bearing making it very simple to adapt to existing conveyors and giving it a small outboard profile.
The Tech-Roll is now in use in plants of most major corporations, and it is being specified for new equipment in several plants. The advantages of the Tech-Roll are many, says Hansson. The hydraulic motor is precision aligned, and side load on the motor shaft is virtually eliminated with the internal ball bearing in the hub taking 90 percent of the load. This makes for a very long life of the motor and minimizes costly down time. The motor, being internal, eliminates the need for painting or plating of motors, which can flake and contaminate product. Harsh detergents will not harm the motor shaft and seals, which again leads to long life. The absence of a protruding motor keeps platforms and catwalks free from obstructions.
One customer claimed he had never been praised by an OSHA inspector until he installed a Tech-Roll where a traditional drive extended across a catwalk. The ease of sanitation with only smooth stainless steel surfaces instead of overhung load adapters, boxes, and couplings reduces clean up time. The Tech-Roll is simple and gives you a virtually maintenance-free drive. NP