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Enhanced properties for polymer-based conveyor belts used in materials handling

DuPont Engineering Polymers and the materials handling department of the Technical University of Chemnitz have agreed a three-year joint development program which will commence in October 2008.

Its objective is to develop three-dimensionally flexible conveyor belts, made using high performance polymers from DuPont, with significant improvements in terms of stability and stiffness, as well as enhanced tribological properties. These conveyor belts should provide endues benefits such as the ability to handle greater loads at faster speeds, increased energy efficiency and improved operating characteristics.

Conveyor units with components made from DuPont Delrin, for example, are already in use across the beverage and electrical industries. Due to their low-wear/low-friction behaviour, parts made of Delrin, such as chain links and fasteners, require little or no lubrication. Moreover, they consume less energy, operate more quietly and for longer than their metal counterparts.

The materials handling department at the TU Chemnitz specialises in research into the areas of tribological pairing of traction mechanisms and guidance systems, as well as new concepts for technical logistics. This work is carried out by Professor Dr-Ing. Klaus Nendel, and his team, at a technical school comprising 1000 m2 of testing and laboratory space. Using specially-developed test rigs, wear and friction measurements can be taken to establish a correlation between test specimen behaviour and virtually lifelike conditions on the test rig.

- The industrial adoption of such high-performance conveyor belts requires the geometric adaptation of the belt`s design as well as a new material system, optimised in terms of its mechanical and tribological properties - said Professor Dr-Ing. Klaus Nendel, TU Chemnitz. - We are pleased to welcome DuPont as our industrial partner, who will be able support our research with its comprehensive range of high performance polymers.

- The joint project with TU Chemnitz provides a platform for the exchange
of expertise between research, design developers and our product developers, which in turn will allow us to develop new materials tailored to current requirements, and to create new markets and applications for conveyor belt manufacturers - added Dr.-Ing. Andreas K. Müller, responsible for college programs at DuPont Engineering Polymers in Germany.