Steel rollers serve simple functions in otherwise complex machinery. However, the process for making them durable components for high-tolerance industrial applications is anything but simple. Here’s how well-engineered and well-made steel rollers keep heavy industry harvesting, digging, and building the world as we know it.
Relatively common parts are often vital ones when it comes to powering modern machinery, and steel rollers are examples of that. They can be used as idler rollers for the belts that move the combines necessary for farmers to keep up with increasing food product demand. In mining applications, steel rollers also function as large drive shafts to power the wheels of huge mining equipment – one example being a 6” OD tube with internally splined ends that are submerged arc welded to the tube itself. Those heavy duty mining trucks and excavators are what enables the mining industry to supply essential raw materials present in everything from electronics to medical devices. In the construction industry, steel rollers also serve as conveyor belt components, such as those present in concrete distribution trucks. Concrete trucks are typically outfitted with 100 foot conveyor arm designed to spread liquid concrete, in which steel rollers play an essential role in our ability to build and maintain infrastructure. Even the paper industry uses steel rollers to transform raw wood pulp into paper.
These types of heavy industry applications inevitably cause significant wear and tear on equipment and the parts that power them. Steel rollers are not immune to weathering, but a well-made, high quality part engineered to stand up to application-specific conditions will keep maintenance costs down and jobs on schedule. Given that rollers are typically high duty cycle critical components of heavy equipment, and therefore subject to a higher degree of wear, weld technique is critical and will vary depending on the type of steel welded. They also need to be produced with a high level of accuracy, because steel rollers that do not meet tolerance requirements can critically damage equipment. For example, when a steel roller ID is too large by even .0001 inch, the bearing OD may begin to slip under the load and eventually fail. The large shafts used in mining equipment also require welds that are 100% ultrasonic tested to assure proper weld penetration, with no inclusions that may result in cracking under load. Special processes and techniques like these are often what makes or breaks the functionality of a steel roller.
Allis Roller’s high level of quality solves business problems that other OEMs can’t. We’ve seen how improperly fabricated rollers break down inside construction equipment, causing gritty concrete slurry to enter into the ends of the rollers and destroying the bearings. In order to fix the problem, our engineers designed special seals for rollers used in concrete trucks, which can more than double the life of the steel rollers used in that application. In that instance, as in many others, the quality of the part really can impact budgets, deadlines, and the life of a machine overall.
For more information on how Allis Roller produces the highest quality steel rollers in the industry, connect with one of our engineers via the Contact page.