While industrial rollers are used primarily to facilitate movement to various machine parts, they can also be used to provide support and transportation to materials moving through the machine.
Some examples of different types of industrial machinery in which industrial rollers are utilized include various types of conveyor systems, web converters, printing presses, stamping presses, feeding machines, bending machines and many more. Due to the wide variety of machinery in which they are used, industrial rolls can be used in an expanse of applications including coating, drying, annealing, calendaring, embossing, metal processing, heat treating, packaging and bulk material handling.
Able to be fabricated from a broad spectrum of elastomeric materials, industrial rollers can be made from varied synthetic rubbers such a neoprene, nitrile, EPDM and polyurethane. When formed with a metal core, industrial rollers typically have core materials of aluminum, steel and stainless steel.
Various types of industrial rollers include drive rollers, guide rollers and conveyor rollers, of which conveyor rollers are likely the most common.
Industrial rollers can be manufactured through either molding or casting processes and even, in some cases, extrusion processes. However, the molding processes of injection and compression molding are most commonly used for solid rubber industrial rollers.
In injection molding, rubber is heated and then injected into the cavity of a closed split die chamber or mold, which is then cooled to form the roller. In compression molding, the rubber is heated and then placed in a heated mold under extreme pressure in order to achieve the roller shape.
In the extrusion process, industrial rollers are formed by heating rubber and then squeezing the molten rubber through a die that has a pin attached to the center, which is used to form the hollow inside of the roller.
For industrial rollers that have a metal core, the core is generally formed through a metal machining process such as metal stamping. Metal stamping is similar to the extrusion process, with the same type of die with a pin, which shapes metal cores from the inserted metal material.
The top part of the die connects to the press slide, while the bottom part connects to the press bed. The punch, also known as a ram, then applies pressure, which forces the metal to be squeezed through the die and thus form the roller.
A rubber to metal bonding process is then used to form a rubber jacket over the metal core. In this process rubber is adhered to a metal substrate through the use of a bonding agent.