Unique mixing challenges require Intralox’s unique services and solutions
Intralox is a manufacturer of conveyance solutions with a global team of Application Engineers, Account Managers, and Customer Service Representatives dedicated to the tire industry. With more than 30 years of experience developing mixing area solutions, and over 12,000 global installations, Intralox’s Tire Team is uniquely qualified to know exactly what tire manufacturers need.
The mixing area of tire plants contains many different applications, with unique challenges in each one. These applications—including the weigh conveyor, charge conveyor, mill conveyors, dip tank, festoon pull-out conveyor, wig-wag conveyor, and the second-floor hugger—all require their own individualized solution. Helping tire manufacturers reach optimal production levels, while avoiding contamination, wasted product, and unscheduled downtime, are challenges that require both experience and expertise to handle.
Because there is no one-size-fits-all product for the many mixing area applications, Intralox offers a broad portfolio of products and a clear overview of solutions. Intralox Tire Team experts will visit customer plants and recommend the best belts to use, and where to use them, based on each customer’s specific needs. Application Engineers support retrofits and new projects before, during, and after installation with design guidelines, installation supervision, and technical training sessions. In addition, by working closely with OEMs, Intralox ensures that the conveyors are designed for maximum belt life and minimal maintenance effort.
Engineers at Intralox thoroughly understand tire manufacturing and recognize that each aspect of the mixing process presents its own set of variables, and design their products to address those challenges. The solutions Intralox has provided have allowed many plants to extend the lifetime of their belts significantly, while substantially reducing costs related to downtime, maintenance, and labor.
Producing low rolling-resistance tires increases the use of silica in mixing compounds and requires higher temperatures to mix them. This process routinely exceeds 121°C (250°F), making the compounds more sticky and difficult to convey.
The stickiness of tire batches as they exit the mill, as well as the elevated temperatures reached during the mixing process, creates challenges for equipment. If the batch sticks to a mill takeaway belt and fails to transfer away from it, the batch will get caught on the underside of the belt and jam. Even if the batch does transfer successfully, there is a risk of contamination of future batches from any residue remaining on the belt.
Intralox has developed several special solutions for preventing sticking problems. Specifically engineered polymers, such as the S1400 Easy Release PLUS, and belt surfaces, such as the S1400 Embedded Diamond Top, allow silica or butyl compounds to release from the belt freely. These belts and surfaces decrease maintenance-related downtime, resulting in increased plant efficiency and productivity.
Capital Equipment Efficiency
In the development of conveyance technology, Intralox has made great strides, not only for mixing areas, but for all areas of tire-manufacturing facilities. Among these, advancements include metal detectable belts that ensure tire quality and the ability to retrofit existing conveyors within a short payback.
Low amounts of tension and an easy-to-repair modular design allow Intralox conveyor belts to reach up to six times the belt life of tensioned flat belts. Maintaining an Intralox belt is quick and easy, compared to the time it takes to replace a flat belt that needs special splicing tools. This results in significantly improved uptime and lower total cost of ownership in transportation systems throughout a tire plant.
Economic payback from retrofitting a mixing conveyor to Intralox typically happens in less than one year. For example, one customer retrofitted a mill take-away conveyor from a fabric belt to Intralox and reduced unscheduled downtime by over 80%. The lifetime of the Intralox belt was four times as long, resulting in average annual savings of $70,000 and with payback on investment within seven months.
These advancements are part of a larger pattern of unparalleled service, reliability, and innovation that Intralox has brought to the tire industry over the past three decades. The company’s breakthroughs in mixing, extrusion, tire building, curing, and final finish areas have led to many upgrades and new system installations, at tire manufacturing plants across the globe.
Assembly plants in Shanghai, China; Bangalore, India; and Tokyo, Japan allow Intralox to deliver products to customers in the APAC region quickly and reliably. And with a team that works in most local languages, Intralox can accurately assist customers around the world. Whether in the millroom, at the finishing stage, or at any point in-between, Intralox® innovations are meeting the needs of the entire global tire industry.