Adjustable steering column benefits forklift operators

Adjustable steering column benefits forklift operators

A major manufacturer of forklifts and other industrial vehicles designed a tilt steering column that can be adjusted to accommodate operators getting in and out of them.
Facilitating movement of the column through a 30° arc are two special, solid polymer bearings that GGB produces using self-lubricating thermoplastic compounds LATILUB by LATI.

The uniquely shaped bearings feature an elongated face flange to prevent misalignment of the system with holes at either end for securing them with fasteners. They center and support a 145mm long shaft that oscillates, allowing the steering column to be tilted for safer, easier entry and exit from the vehicle.
The bearings have an inner diameter of 25mm, an outer diameter of 28 – 30 mm on the slightly flanged back side of the bearing, length of 22.5mm, and width of 35mm. Overall length of this configuration is 75mm.

Operating speeds are negligible; loads on the bearings are relatively small at 600 to 700 newtons; and movements can range from 5 and 30 times per day, depending on how and where the vehicles are used.
The company turned to GGB Bearing Technology to replace these bearings, providing drawings and specifications. The bearings it had been using contained glass fibers which accelerated wear on the system’s oscillating shaft.
GGB selected the material for the new bearings based on application data supplied by the company.

The material selected by GGB is its EP®22 thermoplastic bearing compound developed by LATI. Bearings made of this material perform well in both dry and lubricated applications, are corrosion-resistant, and comply with EVL, WEEE and RoHS regulations. EP®22 is an extremely robust, PTFE-modified polybutylenterephtalate (PBT) material with low moisture absorption, low friction and excellent machinability. It can withstand operating temperatures of -50°C to +170°C. Maximum sliding speed is 1.0 m/s, and coefficient of friction is 0.22 to 0.37. “This material does not contain glass fibers, which was important to the customer,” explains GGB Automotive Project Engineer Andreas Epli. “
In addition it provides a damping effect, making the eystern operate more smoothly.” GGB developed the tooling for injection molding sample bearings for testing by the customer.

The bearings performed extremely well in these tests, according to Epli, and GGB is receiving serial orders for full production. LATI offers to its Customers outstanding properties of LATILUB compounds and know-how of its technicians.

STOP to food contamination with plastics

STOP to food contamination with plastics

As is known, the costs associated with the withdrawal from the market of entire supplies of finished product due to quality or safety problems may be really significant.

For a company operating in the food sector, this is a huge risk in terms of image, reliability, and credibility, which are elements often built with years of strenuous industrial and marketing choices.
One of the most frequent causes of withdrawal is the food contamination with plastic parts from the various stages of production, conversion, packaging and storage.
The release of harmful substances may also occur in the presence of foreign elements in the food.
So removing the contaminant particles is often not enough, and more drastic and expensive interventions are required, such as the destruction of whole foodstuffs and supplies.

The basic problem is that the detection of very small particles of synthetic resins is not possible using conventional methods such as metal detectors. In fact, polymers cannot be detected by means of these monitoring techniques if not appropriately modified.
The recent withdrawal campaigns of well known companies, were imposed by the presence of plastic pieces inside the product intended for consumption.

To solve this type of problems, LATI has introduced to the market its range of compounds that can be detected by any instrument for the insulation from metallic contamination.

The family of MDT thermoplastic products is, in fact, formulated starting from conventional plastic materials reinforced with special ceramic powders able to change the magnetic field of detectors. In this way, even the smallest contamination from plastic particles can be immediately detected, making the entire production cycle safe. MDT compounds have been developed for injection molding, but can also be engineered for other types of processing, e.g. calendering or extrusion.

For this reason, they are suitable for the manufacture of any product, from boxes to containers, from locking systems to any kind of transport line. Temperature and working environment do not represent a limit for MDT compounds, since LATI’s portfolio includes materials suitable for both extreme temperatures (PEEK and PPS) and chemical etching (PP and PA).

The presence of sudden mechanical stresses arising from the use of these products was also considered, and there will be no disappointment with MDT materials as regards strength and toughness.

In fact, compounds made of impact-resistant polypropylene or elastomer are available, which are also excellent for products subject to impacts and vibrations. All MDT compounds are, of course, suitable for contact with food and fully compliant with the most stringent European and worldwide toxicological safety standards.

The replacement of a part made of generic plastics with an MDT compound may occur with marginal cost incidence, but it definitively prevents potentially catastrophic accidents.
LATI’s engineers are always at customers’ disposal to discuss specifications and plans, for defining set-up of design and manufacture, and for the assessment of costs and benefits.

Safety and precision with LATIOHM

Safety and precision with LATIOHM

Svantek, a leading company in the production of noise and vibration meters, has decided to successfully adopt LATIOHM electrically conductive compounds for the manufacture of the case of its new professional SV 104 IS dosimeter.

The reliability of a measuring instrument is linked to the precision with which the signal is collected and managed, so it is essential to avoid the undesirable effects of any external interference due, for example, to the accumulation of electrostatic charges.
For this reason, Svantek has chosen LATIOHM 66-07 PD08 G/30 for the development of a robust, dimensionally stable, and antistatic case.

Thanks to its special formulation, the selected LATIOHM also provides excellent impact resistance, which is always a desirable feature in an industrial environment, the ability to meet tight dimensional tolerances as provided by the most stringent safety and insulation criteria, and resistance to atmospheric agents, especially UV rays.

The interesting performance behavior of this LATI compound helps to ensure the SV 104 acoustic dosimeter meets, in just 117 grams, ATEX directives and IP65 protection degree for safety in explosives environments.
The stabilization and pigmentation of the material also allow the polymer to keep its properties even after intense exposure to ultraviolet radiation as provided by the UL 746C standard, thus extending over time the safe use of the Svantek device in particularly aggressive environments.

LATIOHM 66-07 PD08 G/30 compound d is made from 30% glass fiber reinforced PA66 with the addition to this matrix of carbon fibers and other additives to obtain an electrically conductive material.
Simple to mold even on ordinary equipment thanks to its well manageable shrinkage, LATIOHM 66-07 PD08 G/30 is also an excellent choice for the price/performance ratio. LATI’s engineers are at disposal for any further information about LATIOHM range.

LATICONTHER CP6: Thermal conductivity and electrical insulation

LATICONTHER CP6: Thermal conductivity and electrical insulation

It is known that the most performant thermally conductive compounds are obtained by adding large amounts of selected graphite to the thermoplastic matrix.
However, this high graphite content ends up making these materials electrically conductive, with resistivity values that make them unsuitable for applications also requiring electrical insulation.

As far as thermally conductive compounds using electrically insulating ceramics are concerned, materials available today are limited by a number of constraints imposed by the large quantity of filler necessary to achieve interesting thermal performance, up to 85 percent in some LATI’s proposals.
A thermal conductivity of about 8-10 W/mK is provided by the most effective solutions, but at often unacceptable costs being formulated with very special synthetic materials, such as hexagonal boron nitride.

So the demand has geared towards electrically insulating materials, but with an acceptable thermal conductivity reasonably ranging between 10 and 20 W/mK of compounds with graphite and 1-2 W/mK of grades formulated with standard ceramics.
Of course, the price of this proposal should absolutely support the use in new applications replacing, for example, aluminum die casting.

To meet these requirements, LATI offers LATICONTHER 62 CP6-V0HF1. Based on PA6, this product is made from the mixture of special ceramics provided by the CP6 formulation that ensures electrical insulation with resistivity greater than 10^12 ohm.
At the same time, this formulation provides a thermal conductivity of almost 4 W/mK to the compound (measurement with Netzsch LFA according to ASTM E1530 and E1461 standards).

In addition to the thermal and electrical properties, LATICONTHER 62 CP6-V0HF1 was also designed to provide self-extinguishing properties without the need of conventional flame protection systems based on halogens or red phosphorus.
Currently awaiting UL approval, LATICONTHER 62 CP6-V0HF1 offers excellent resistance to electrical tracking (400 V CTI), V0 at 3.2 mm, 775° C GWIT and 960° C GWFI at 1 mm.
Rigid and tough without being overly fragile, this material is best suited for technical applications such as heat sinks in the electrical and electronic field, air or recessed lighting, and overmolding of live components generating heat (e.g. inductors). As mentioned before, the CP6 proposal also arises from the need to hold down the price of material.

So a special formulation was developed that makes performance of thermal conductivity similar to that of graphite-filled versions at a moderate cost. The only limit of CP6 is that it is not possible to obtain colorable versions.
This problem was solved by LATI’s engineers with the CP7 formulation, which is slightly more expensive, but colorable. Like any other LATI material, even in this case the formulation complies with the most stringent international standards in terms of environmental protection and human health (RoHs and SVHC).

Easy molding and recyclability complete the framework of strengths offered by LATI thermoplastics.

New concept brush holders in thermoplastic compound

New concept brush holders in thermoplastic compound

LATAMID 66 H2 G/50-V0HF1: LATI’s proposal for metal and thermoset replacement in structural applications also requiring self-extinguishing properties.
Here is a new success for one of the most innovative compounds recently developed by LATI.
SELNI has chosen LATAMID 66 H2 G/50-V0HF1 for the manufacture of new brush holder arm used in electric motors, generators, and power transfer systems.

The arm is the seat of the conductive graphite element in charge of electric power transmission to the device.
The design of this component requires an extremely tough and reliable material even at a working temperature exceeding 100°C, for both obvious structural reasons and ensuring a continuous and constant contact between the graphite electrode and live parts.

Other aspects of equal importance in this particular project are the tracking resistance, which with LATAMID 66 H2 G/50-V0HF1 is 600 V, and the UL94 self-extinguishing level, V0 certified on thicknesses between 0.75 and 3 mm.

Dimensionally stable and easily convertible, LATAMID 66 H2 G/50-V0HF1 has been also chosen for its low environmental impact ensured by the formulation compliant to RoHS regulations and halogen and red phosphorus free.
The V0HF1 material is a perfect replacement for conventional brass components, which are expensive to manufacture due to the number of geometrically complex parts.

This material is also best suited as an alternative to thermosetting composites, which, by definition, are non-recyclable and problematic from the environmental point of view.
In this case, the V0HF1 proposal replaced traditional PA66 reinforced by 50% glass fibres, featuring red phosphorous as flame retardant.

A major issue was then solved, that is production of potentially hazardous compounds of red phosphorous after prolonged exposure to environmental moisture.

LASTILUX light conductors and Gruner AG

LASTILUX light conductors and Gruner AG

LASTILUX is the name assigned by LATI to a new family of thermoplastic materials used for the light transport.
Two different types of these compounds have been developed:

  • OPAL LASTILUX, able to create perfectly homogenous diffusion effects, with desired opalescence levels, useful, for example, in applications where the light coming from a point source is to be diffused hiding, however, the presence of such source, typically LEDs.
  • COLORED LASTILUX; green, yellow or red, able to absorb light in the UV region and re-emit it in the visible region with fluorescence effect.

If well exploited working on low thicknesses and proper geometries, this phenomenon allows to direct the diffuse light where desired, giving the impression that the light is emitted by the object.

If products are directly irradiated with UV frequencies (as may occur in certain types of detection), this effect may be further enhanced. Gruner AG, a German leading company in the field of relays and actuators, has chosen and successfully applied LASTILUX 87/28 for the manufacture of a cursor used in one of its actuators for the sector of ventilation and air conditioning.

The design requirements for this signal lamp are well defined and range from perfect surface quality and aesthetics typical of visible elements, to the correct handling of the light beam through the geometry of the part, from the absolute dimensional stability to the coloring reliability.
For this reason, a transparent PC-based compound was chosen, featuring not only all technical requirements mentioned above, but also a particularly good color rendering.

The formulation of the LASTILUX compound has negligible effects on thermal, electrical, and mechanical properties of the base resin, which remain substantially unchanged.
The usual ease of conversion of LATI compounds is also ensured, in this case without affecting the light effects.

Metal detector and X-rays: a comprehensive detection system

Metal detector and X-rays: a comprehensive detection system

LATI’s experience in detectability arises from intensive development of compounds with strong paramagnetic and ferromagnetic behavior.

Based on the excellent market acceptance of MDT compounds (Magnetically Detectable Thermoplastics), LATI’s R&D engineers have pushed forward the frontiers of detectability of plastic elements by formulating a new family of materials that offer both traceability in the presence of a magnetic field and opacity to X-rays.

Double detection is a common requirement in the pharmaceutical field, where the absence of any kind of contaminants is of paramount importance, and for this reason different safety measures are taken at the same time.
X-ray and magnetic detection at the same time are also recommended in the traceability of materials placed underground, such as electrical enclosures or special purpose enclosures.

The new products, called MDT09, are available on any base resin and keep the properties of many LATI MDT grades, including the suitability for food contact.
Despite the presence of special mineral fillers, MDT09 products provide excellent colorability and are formulated so as to provide laser markability.

Thanks to these non-common features, these materials are well suited to the most various application requirements, including the manufacture of identifying elements based on the color or presence of bar or alphanumeric codes.
Mechanical properties, too, remain excellent among filled compounds, with elongation at break and impact resistance exceeding, respectively, 10% and 17 kJ/m2 (unnotched charpy) in the PPh-based version.

MDT product range includes today over ten different formulations ranging from the simple detectability of 05 grades to the strong paramagnetic behavior of MDT16.

3D printing: LATI electrically conductive filament

3D printing: LATI electrically conductive filament

LATI recently decided to invest its own know-how in engineering thermoplastic compounds in the world of 3D printing, an exponentially growing sector with a future that is still in full evolution.

The collaboration with Ciceri de Mondel (Filoalfa) was born out of this inspiration and aims to design innovative materials for the production of filaments for frontier applications.
Products developed from this fusion of knowledge should be accessible to both the industrial and consumer market in order to ensure the feasibility of molded parts with not only a good aesthetic appearance, but also advanced technical features.

Filaments proposed should, of course, meet process requirements connected with conversion technology, that is, flexibility, dimensional stability, and 3D printability. So to ensure maximum usability of the offered product, a modified PLA was chosen, which is a biopolymer obtained from sustainable sources, processable by any 3D printer due to its physical properties.

LATI’s first proposal is an electrically conductive thermoplastic compound obtained by formulations containing frontier materials, among which carbon nanotubes. As observed experimentally, LATI electrically conductive filament allows the transfer of small currents, and thus of signal and information.
The deposition of conductive tracks by simple 3D printing potentially allows innovative applications, e.g. in the medical, electrical/electronic, and telecommunications sector.
The electrical behavior of the LATI filament is non-ohmic and has a typical volume resistance of about 10 ohm*cm.

This property is typical of many semiconductors and is still being studied, but it is already clear that the maker will be able to find answers for the development of new applications with high technology content.
This is the purpose of LATI and Filoalfa: to act in concert to offer 3D printers finally accessible to everyone, as well as filaments developed from high technology synthetic materials.

The push for innovation in the industry, along with the enthusiasm of individual makers, will lead to flexible and customizable applications accessible to everyone and technologically unthinkable until yesterday.

Thermoconductive and self-extinguishing: LATICONTHER 62 GR/50-V0

Thermoconductive and self-extinguishing: LATICONTHER 62 GR/50-V0

The rapid diffusion of LED-lighting systems is also supported by the possibility of developing lamp bodies made of thermoconductive technopolymers, because the conversion flexibility of these materials allows molding of efficient and versatile items.
Solutions available today provide for the use of thermoplastic compounds filled with thermally conductive ceramics or graphite. These solutions, in fact, showed equivalent to metal in terms of transport of the heat generated by LED electronics, at least when air circulation occurs under natural convection conditions.

Over time, the growing power generated by LED systems required materials ensuring absolutely safe heat removal even under high temperature and current, and hence in fire-risk areas. To meet these requirements, LATI now offers a self-extinguishing version of its LATICONTHER 62 GR/50 thermoconductive compound.

This material is LATICONTHER 62 GR/50-V0, PA6 with 50% graphite reinforcement. Its special formulation also ensures self-extinguishing properties without affecting thermal and mechanical properties of material.
In fact, LATICONTHER 62 GR/50-V0 features the same thermal conductivity as the material it is derived from – about 15 w/mK – but in addition it is flame-retardant, V0 certified according to UL94 standard from 0.75 to 3 mm.

Glow wire performance is also excellent; this compound was certified for 960°C at 1.5 mm in both GWFI and GWIT thanks to the highest-level flame retardant compound.
All this is obtained without affecting the good mechanical strength and robustness properties of standard LATICONTHER 62 GR/50, and ensuring extremely easy molding.

Designed to solve the problems connected with the technically most demanding applications, LATICONTHER 62 GR/50-V0 is best suited to the manufacture of recessed lamp bodies and radiators, e.g. in sectors such as furnishing, industrial machines or transport, that is, where fire risk is absolutely to be avoided.
LATI specializes in thermoconductive compounds since 2004, and offers today a wide range of grades engineered on many different resins, from PP to PC, from PA to PPS, and from PBT to PEEK.

For any further information and support, please visit LATI’s website or contact our engineers.

LATILUB self-lubricating technopolymers adopted by the boating industry

LATILUB self-lubricating technopolymers adopted by the boating industry

Applications for the boating sector are among those subjected to the most severe mechanical, thermal, and environmental stresses.
In addition to the stresses due to the use, corrosive effects of water, weathering, and sun radiation are to be considered, even if difficult to quantify.
So the use of thermoplastic compounds for nautical products is rather challenging, and has to be carefully addressed.

Viadana Srl, an Italian company operating in the production and sale of boating accessories since 1961, chose LATILUB 66-20T G/20 for the manufacture of the front fairlead of its ball bearing cam cleats.
The selected compound is self-lubricating and structural at the same time, so particularly suitable for situations where mechanical strength and low sliding resistance are necessarily required.

Formulation of LATILUB 66-20T G/20 contains 20% powder PTFE on a 20% glass fiber reinforced PA66 base.
The result is a technopolymer not only reliable in the management of static and dynamic stress due to the rope, but also resistant to friction and wear generated by the sliding on the contact surfaces due to the speed of relative motion and the rope tension.

To address the heat generated by the rope sliding, base polymer should also provide good temperature resistance, and LATILUB 66-20T G/20 is not a concern up to over 100°C.
The fairleads were subjected to tests provided for in the sector, and are now available in black, yellow, blue, and red.