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issue: November 2004 APPLIANCE European Edition

Plastics and Plastic Parts
Adding More to the Mix


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by David Simpson, Contributing Editor

When foodservice equipment maker Hobart Corporation (Troy, OH, U.S.) designed a new 60-qt dough mixer to replace an existing machine, the design team wanted to include several enhancements, most notably an ergonomic swing-out bowl.

Hobart found that the use of new plastic bearings in its 60-qt dough mixer helped reduce warranty calls and service problems.

The bowl facilitates the combination of ingredients and enables customers to access the end product easier by clearing the machine head.

A spring-loaded pin latch secures the bowl on the tall mixer while the customer is mixing.

But the mixer encounters high contamination (flour, sugar, and other baking materials), which could work its way into the latch and cause it to stick. Initial testing showed that the locking pin in the bowl latch could seize. This not only halts production but increases maintenance time and, therefore, costs.

The problem was discovered during the advanced design stages, so any significant design changes would require additional tooling, added lead times for parts, and more testing. These were three things the company wanted to avoid. The search for a compatible alternative ensued. The solution needed to be lubrication-free since any grease or oil needed by a metal bearing would contaminate the food. It also needed to be maintenance-free to ensure the machine will perform as expected.

Hobart discovered iglide J from igus (East Providence, RI, U.S.). The iglide J is a self-lubricated, maintenance-free, plastic-based plain bearing. It is also contamination- and chemical-resistant.

The iglide plastic bearings are available in more than 16 high-performance material blends, and customers can choose from more than 6,000 imperial and metric bearing sizes from stock. The plastic bearings are an alternative to bronze, metal-back, and custom injection-molded bearings.

Not only did the supplier offer the features that Hobart needed to suit its mixer, but it also worked closely with the OEM to meet every aspect of the application. Hobart decided to use two other iglide bearings on the mixer. The iglide L250 is installed on the handle on the side that actuates the lever for the pin to be lifted and lowered, and the iglide T500 is used on the pin on the rear of the mixer. Both prevent the cast iron parts from rubbing together, eliminating the potential of early failure and premature rusting.

With the new plastic bearings, Hobart says
it has averted warranty calls and service problems and can deliver a high-quality product to its customers.

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