Melamine hanger bearings will face a new competitor in the sugar industry, as a result of the development and active promotion of the abrasion-resistant polymer Hitemp 150 FG.
The polymer’s name signifies that it can be used in applications that run at temperatures up to 150ºC. Manufactured from ingredients that are all food grade approved, it is a candidate for applications in which food contact is possible or likely.
It is thus deemed suitable for many sugar-industry applications in which hanger bearings are exposed to highly-abrasive pulp and massecuite, the abrasive mixture of sugar crystals and liquor resulting from the crystallisation process.
Melamine has been the preferred material for many sugar-industry hanger bearings in the past since it is abrasion resistant.
However, its big disadvantage is that it delaminates in some cases.
This can result in parts of the melamine hanger bearings being shed into the transported material.
In addition, the propensity to delaminate has resulted in cases of limited shelf life for bearings, with some melamine-impregnated fabric bearings starting to delaminate on the shelf.
Besides delamination, the fact that sugar mills have reported that there is a scarcity of melamine hanger bearings have resulted in calls for an alternative product, with Vesconite Hitemp 150 FG being developed by Vesconite Bearings in response to these calls.
The original formulation of Vesconite Hitemp 150 has proved successful in hanger bearings that were in contact with reject sugar and in processing and boiling in the sugar-manufacturing process.
“The new formulation, which has all food-grade raw materials, could even be used in the granulation stage of the sugar-manufacturing process,” says technical sales representative Eddie Swanepoel of the expanded range of applications in which the new polymer could be used.
The food-grade polymer is cream with a streaky marble look as opposed to the rust-coloured original Vesconite Hitemp 150 polymer, he reports.
Hanger bearings are available in three stock sizes, viz. 155 x100mm, 120 x 60mm and 100 x 50mm, and bearings can also be manufactured to customer prints.
The hanger bearings are extruded as a solid polymer tube and then split.
They are supplied with flanges to secure the bearing in the housing.
They are not mechanically secured and can be fitted using a sliding fit.