Rubber rollers are devices that are made of a hollow metal tube substrate that are bonded with a thick layer of rubber or polyurethane. Rubber rollers are used in many different types of manufacturing processes such as: printing, film extrusion graphic arts, paper processing and manufacturing, steel processing, medical, metal coating, wood processing, leather goods, textile processing, PCB, flexible package converting, banking, label converting, plastics, food and bottling, corrugated containers and personal products. Rubber rollers are also used in packaging and as parts of various types of machinery.
Rubber rollers are precision products and the tolerance on the outside diameter is sometimes held to within +/- 0.0002 inches. The surface finish will be in the range of 5 RA. To ensure proper feeding and gripping of the rolled products, the roller may have: spiral, horizontal, chevron, straight, or vertical grooves.
Rubber rollers can be made of various types of rubber compounds such as silicone, hypalon, neoprene, natural rubber, buna nitrile, polyurethane, Thiokol, EPDM, and viton.
The type of rubber and the hardness that is used to use depends on what it will be used for. A specific type of rubber type needs to be bonded to a specific type of metal substrate. Examples of the combination are: nitrile/ stainless steel, neoprene/ carbon steel, EPDM/ titanium, silicone/ alloy steel, SBR/ tool steel, thiokol/ aluminum, hypalon/ brass, fluoroelastomers/ copper and urethane/ bronze.
The metal substrate is first precision finished, ground, lapped and etched to remove all traces of grease and dust. The required type and composition of rubber is then bonded. The assembled product is turned and precision ground/lapped.
Most rubber rollers are designed concentric with an even surface. They can have various textures with assorted set patterns.
The most common patterns that are used are
- Ser-X serration, which is used for belt-cutting action.
- Helical pattern, which, when it is properly combined, can enhance sanding ability.
- Diamond pattern, which offers good gripping.
- Plain face, which is smooth and used for numerous purposes.
- 90-degree flutted grooves which are good for conveyor belts, aiding in keeping them clean and removing unwanted materials.
- Chevron pattern, which is also ideal for conveyor belts and for smoothing purposes.
Because rubber rollers are used for so many different types of applications, make sure that you use one that meets your specific needs. You also have to make sure you cleaning the rollers so they will last.