Kastalon Makes Big Dollar Difference for Rewinding Coils

In February of 2007 Kastalon was called to a Steel Mill for interest in our mandrel sleeves. We were called because this particular customer was having issues with the rewinding of their steel coils, as a result of the mandrel sleeves that were being used. They had also tried a few different mandrel sleeves from different vendors without the satisfaction they were looking for. Along with the operating issues, they were just not experiencing a longevity that they felt was adequate.

This particular line was a high speed steel processing line that converted hot band to automotive/appliance grade steel. The area of concern was at the end of the line where they have two rewind mandrels, that they alternate rewinding their finish product with. Most of their steel is considered exposed steel and they guarantee to their customers, 100 % coil usage.

Kastalon met with this customer and discussed their needs and concerns for this particular problem. We obtained drawings of their steel mandrel and engineered a mandrel sleeve that we felt would meet and exceed all of their expectations. In March of 2007, this customer placed an order for one mandrel sleeve for trial. The sleeve worked right out of the box and they ran it for three months, not experiencing any of the issues they had experienced with the prior sleeves. In July of 2007, they placed an order for the second sleeve and outfitted both of their mandrels with Kastalon Mandrel sleeves. They continued to see no reoccurring issues seen from the prior sleeves so they purchased two more sleeves as spares in November of 2007and continue to run problem free. Soon after the two spare sleeves were delivered to the customer, I stopped out and met with the customer to offer them with some tips on how to store and add operating life to all four of their mandrel sleeves. Tips that were never offered to them from previous suppliers.

In June of 2009 an order was received at Kastalon, Inc. for one sleeve. We called the customer to check in and we were told that they had an operator error and that one of the sleeves was tore and that they had to take it out of use. We asked them why they didn’t call us out to take a look at the sleeve before that was determined. They responded that the operator admitted to his error. And that the sleeves were just inspected a few weeks prior and looked as good as new, other that being oily from use. In November of 2011, two more sleeves were ordered. The customer was concerned that they have never had Mandrel Sleeve last this long and wanted to add two more to their inventory in case of a sleeve failure.

Since March of 2007, Kastalon has supplied a total of seven Mandrel Sleeves to this particular line. As of April of 2012, three of the four original sleeves provided by Kastalon are still in use. Remember, one was taken out of use due to operator error. This particular line is considered a High Speed, High Tension, Dual Rewind line. This customer has averaged 1,125,000 tons of steel per year that has been recoiled on our sleeves at an average speed of 1800 feet per minute. Their steel is considered very high quality steel which also adds something to say about our sleeves. (If our sleeves had poor cut resistant properties, we could also create them quality issues with their thinner gauge steel. But they have not experienced any of that.) Our customer has worked with us and together we engineered a sleeve that would meet and exceed their expectations. To say that they are satisfied with Kastalon Mandrel Sleeves is an understatement.

Update: 8/1/14
This customer placed an order for two more Mandrel Sleeves in July of 2014. Two of the original sleeves from 2007 finally wore out. That brings the total amount of sleeves ordered to 9 since 2007. Six of the sleeves are still in working order and are in their rotation being swapped out during downturns every three months.

Total cost of the nine sleeves that have rewound 9,000,000 tons of steel since 2007 have produced an operating cost for Kastalon’s Mandrel sleeves of $0.07 per thousand tons.

Koat-A-Roll® – Doncaster Gear Products

Challenge/Problem/Issue
Doncaster Gear Products specialize in forging and machining their own gears. As part of the forging process, they blast many different parts. For this process they make steel fixtures to set the parts on as they are fed into the automatic blaster. These fixtures represent a significant investment as hundreds are made annually, however, the blaster wears them away over time.

Solution
Attempting to find a way to give these fixtures a longer life, Doncaster Gear purchased Koat-A-Roll® polyurethane sleeves to put over the fixtures. Although not a standard application for Koat-A-Roll conveyer roller sleeves, the exception wear properties of the material and the cylindrical shape made it a perfect fit.

Customer Value
Within the first year, Doncaster realized a $2,000-$3,000 savings in material and machining cost. According to Dave Quarnstrom, “Although this is an unconventional use of the product, it was a great investment.”

Fork-Kushions® – New muscle takes the Floor

New patent pending Coil Saddle takes safety and stability to a whole new level.

Alsip, IL – Kastalon, Inc. has blended portability and stability to create the Coil Saddle , a revolutionary coil storage device for any application. The deep cradle fits virtually any size coil and takes up minimal floor space. The unique design offers the versatility of using it as a moveable fixture in staging areas or affixed permanently to the storage area floor.

Made of bright safety yellow polyurethane and reinforced steel frames the Coil Saddle surprisingly only weighs 45# and can be easily moved out of the way when not in use, thus avoiding tripping hazards.

With the cost of metal continually increasing, the cost of scrap becomes a greater factor to your profitability. Coil Saddles is your front line weapon in scrap management by protecting surface sensitive metals from floor irregularities and contamination.

Kastalon has been a leader in the design, engineering and manufacturing of high quality, innovative polyurethane parts and products to protect metals. From the time metal is rolled, coated or processed Kastalon roller coverings, mandrel sleeves, filler plates, coil handling pads, fork truck bumpers and coil storage products are in service providing outstanding protection and increasing yields.

Kastalon Crane Bumpers – Simple and High Performance Can Be One and the Same

For more than 40 years, Kastalon supplies crane bumpers into every imaginable environment around the world.

From ports and shipyards to steel mills and industrial facilities, Kastalon bumpers are unaffected by extreme environmental conditions, and are highly effective in temperature extremes from less than -51°C (-60°F) to 107°C (225°F).

Approved for use on nuclear fueling cranes by the U.S. Navy and for nuclear power house cranes, Kastalon crane bumpers are virtually unaffected by gamma ray exposures in excess of 1×109 Roentgens.

Whether you are purchasing new equipment or are replacing existing bumpers, specify Kastalon Crane Bumpers.

To assist you in sizing or customizing bumpers, Kastalon offers an interactive web site for calculating the exact bumpers to meet any requirements.

Access the Kastalon Crane Bumper Calculator by visiting www.kastalon.com or contact us directly and an applications engineer will help select your optimum bumper.

Rubber Forming Pad History: Comparisons of Materials and Introduction of Gümmilast Polyurethane for Forming Pads and Fluid Cells

Short run forming of complex sheet metal shapes using rubber dies and pads is quick and highly effective.  This technique was first accomplished using the Guerin Process.  After the Second World War, the Wheelon process was developed as an improvement over the Guerin Process.  A Wheelon press is capable of manufacturing large, complex, short run parts with economic tooling. This type of hydraulically actuated bladder forming is widely used in the aerospace industry today.

When the Wheelon process was first employed, the forming press fluid cells and forming pads were made of Neoprene rubber.  The Neoprene formulations of the day were developed by rubber molders’ chemists.  Their formulas were proprietary and highly secretive.

The high grade formulation of Neoprene used was an excellent material for the function of forming pads and fluid cells.  It was tough, had very high extensibility, good cut resistance, excellent oil resistance and produced good detail with moderate pressures.

This was the standard material for Wheelon forming pads and fluid cells for many years.  However, as the U.S. industrial rubber goods industry matured, its productive capacity diminished.  The industry lost the capacity and knowledge required to make Neoprene pads and cells.  There are presently no suppliers of rubber Wheelon or Guerin cells or pads in North America.


Product shown in use in the Wheelon process, one used extensively in the aerospace and other industries.

Fortunately, there was capacity to produce these parts from polyurethane.  Polyurethane is a synthetic elastomer that is far stronger than Neoprene.  Polyurethane has greater cut resistance, more abrasion resistance, greater tensile strength and has suitably high elongation for effective use in the Wheelon process.

Polyurethane is also a more environmentally stable material than the original Neoprene.  Most often, when installing forming pads and upon starting forming operations, the Neoprene would be “dried out”.  This would lead to shrinkage of the pad and increased stiffness.  In order to install the pad and/or start the operation, it would be necessary to heat the Neoprene to restore it to its original softness and resilience.  Polyurethane is far more consistent, retaining its size, shape and maintaining its softness and resilience.  This eliminates the need for heat “rejuvenation”.

However, in spite of the superiority of the physical properties of polyurethane over the previously used Neoprene, there is a drawback to polyurethane.  Due to its increased strength and toughness, far greater pressures must be employed to achieve acceptable part definition and this results in greater strain on the press, its components and some reduction in forming definition.

Some of the difficulties encountered with the use of commercial and even Kastalon KAS43210AE forming pads and cells are:

  • Increased wear and maintenance of the press due to the high degree of loading
  • Decreased press life
  • Reduction in size capacity
  • Reduced part definition requiring increased handwork
  • Increased set-up time, due to the need for more accurate filler/intensifier pad placement
  • The risk of damage to the forming pad if the press filler/intensifier pads are not properly used
  • Increased tendency for forming pad extrusion due to higher pressures
  • Increased risk of catastrophic failures
  • The inability to make field repairs

The challenge to industry has been to create a material that has polyurethane’s toughness and the extensibility of the lost Neoprene material.

Our initial discoveries led us to improve the traditional polyurethane formulations to increase extensibility, reduce working pressure and improve cut and tear strength in the “mid extension” ranges where these pads operate.  However, this was only a compromise and a temporary solution to producing a forming pad with superior performance.

After years of continuing research, a hybrid polyurethane compound, trademarked Gümmilast by Kastalon, has been developed.  The properties of Gümmilast are very similar to the original Neoprene in performance and exceed the toughness of traditional polyurethane.  A comparison of the original Neoprene, Gümmilast, Kastalon KAS43210AE and commercial polyurethane is presented in the following table.

Physical Properties: Traditional Neoprene vs. Polyurethane
Neoprene Gümmilast KAS021909A Kastalon KAS43210AE Commercial PUR
Hardness, Shore A Tensile, psi 55-602,002 psi 602850 704153 704660
Elongation 773 % 774 694 630
5% modulus 92 psi 133 201 221
50% 119 psi 184 260 282
100% 157 psi 229 340 360
200% 277 psi 262 434 475
300% 472 psi 337 522 670
400% 741 psi 471 738 985
Split tear 228 psi 191 181 185
Dynamic modulus 289 372 733 836

The similarity between Gümmilast and the original Neoprene is apparent.  In the operating range extension (250-400%), previously available polyurethanes create far higher internal stresses.  The rapid increase of these stresses in this operational strain range leads to need for higher pressure and less definition.  This makes tool design and the use of intensifier pads highly critical.

When using Gümmilast, the reduction in operating pressure will yield greater press life, while offering greater part definition.

Life testing of Gümmilast pads and cells is ongoing.  To date, Kastalon anticipates 3-6 times the life of Improved Kastalon Polyurethane and an even greater life over commercial polyurethane.

In conclusion, Kastalon Gümmilast will provide the Wheelon Process user with a material that offers similar process ease, forming definition and reparability as experienced with the original rubber and providing significantly improved life over commercial polyurethane.  Gümmilast is also available for hydroforming bladders, throw pads and Guerin Process pads.

Kastalon Gümmilast products are available from your press parts provider or from Kastalon, Inc.

Mining uncovers polyurethane advantages

One of the by-products of mining involves displacing huge amounts of dirt so it only seems natural that the type of equipment that is used is coined “earth movers”. Equally as logical is the fact that the OEM’s for these types of equipment must consider certain protection from the abrasive nature of dirt and vibration. For many years, Kastalon has engineered a proprietary polyurethane formula specifically for these types of applications.

Recently, a new mining challenge was given to the Kastalon designers for their problem solving. When reeling in a 4″ diameter steel cable, protection was needed to prevent the cable from banging into the steel structure of the equipment. Historically, wood blocks had been used to shield the cable from damage. The downside was that the wood splintered and broke easily. This created a housekeeping mess which required additional labor to clean-up and replace the blocks. If the operators did not take the time for the necessary maintenance, the steel cable would get damaged from banging into the steel structure which shortened the life of the cable.

Using the same proprietary Kastalon Polyurethane® formula used for other mining applications, the designers presented an engineered polyurethane pad that had a much longer life than the wood blocks it was replacing. In fact, the first set lasted over two years, which was unprecedented. The other advantage was that when the pads did need to be replaced, they were easily replaceable.

To learn more about Kastalon mining solutions or to contact a designer for a project that needs improvement, contact Lyn at sales@kastalon.com.

Designing Rollers – Kastalon helps companies save by joining their design team!

When designing a roller assembly it is critical to take into consideration the actual application and environment that rollers will be operating in. Although the drawing might be accurate, it is essential to involve your roller manufacturer in the design phase to assist in choosing the right polyurethane compound that the roller will be covered with. Not all polyurethanes are the same, but understanding how the roller is going to be used and where the roller will be located, is essential in choosing the right material that will result in the best performance.

To avoid over engineering a roller assembly, which can affect the cost and lead time, the roller manufacturer can help choose the proper material with adequate tolerances for the specific application being planned. For example, calling out a very tight tolerance can drive up the cost of the roller unnecessarily.

This is where Kastalon can help.

Recently, a customer gave us a drawing for a new roller assembly for a new process. The engineers called out a TIR of .005. After several months of receiving the rollers as requested, they sat down with us and shared their concern that the cost of the rollers was negatively impacting their ability to sell their new system. Once they shared the actual application and environment with our design engineers it was determined by opening up the tolerance to .015, the cost could be reduced by more 20% with no effect on quality, life expectancy or system efficiency. The lead time was also significantly reduced and the outcome was the customer’s ability to deliver their new system at a lower cost and a reduced lead time.

We like to think that having us on your design team is a win, win proposition!