Rubber and urethane are materials that most people don't think about when using everyday appliances.…
Grounded in a rich history of scientific innovation, the rubber industry today offers highly customizable, cost-effective, durable products for a variety of industrial applications. A prime example of the benefits of rubber parts in industrial equipment can be seen in the evolution of roller systems from leather, wood, and metal to a partnership between metal and rubber with metal merely at the core of modern industrial rollers and rubber bearing the brunt of surface contact.
A “Brief History of Conveyor Belts” explains how the Industrial Revolution ushered in belts of canvas and leather which later evolved into automated roller conveyors to handle heavier weights such as metal and lumber. Historically, this shift to new technology allowed “to produce goods at a faster and more accurate rate than their competitors” and the assembly line became an industrial staple.
Automated rollers, like the ones seen in this video clip of a conveyor system, are usually made of a light metal. Today, the same basic physics behind the revolutionary roller conveyor belts extends to rubber rollers that can be used both independently and in a variety of industrial machinery.
Many of the heavier industries, such as mining, use rubber conveyor rollers in their systems. The oil and gas industry relies on V-shaped rubber rollers such as the ones pictured here for pipelay projects to expand the production and transportation of natural resources.
In these cases, rubber is a distinct modern advantage as it is more durable than metal which is susceptible to cracking, rusting, and other forms of damage over time. Not only is rubber more resilient, it also handles heavier weights better as it has a natural give and flexibility which allows for even weight distribution throughout the roller instead of concentrated pressure at the point of contact.
Rubber rollers come in a literally limitless variety of sizes and shapes. From hourglass, to V-shaped, from conveyor belt rollers and pipe conveyor rollers, to sheave rollers and paper mill rollers, custom specifications can easily be met with custom molded polyurethane.
At varying lengths and radiuses, colors and hardnesses, they serve a variety of industries including automotive, food, agriculture, textile, and oil and gas. An additional customization occurs in the thickness of the custom molded rubber coating and whether it is attached to an open cylinder or solid rod at the core. Pictures of varying sizes and types can be seen here.
Less expensive than metal production, more durable, and far more customizable, custom molded rubber rollers must have once seemed futuristic to businesses used to wood, leather, and metal equipment. Today, production rates would decrease sharply and businesses expenses would grow significantly if custom molded rubber rollers were no longer available to the industrial world.