They roll and roll and roll...

uni-con sliding bases by uni-chains and Murtfeldt ensure precise assembly

Despite a high level of automation, the automotive sector would be in trouble without human workers. During final assembly, staff manually mount the final components of each vehicle - such as the carpet, seats, windscreens, wipers, and so on. They and the vehicles are located on modular conveyors that transport the cars from one production section to the next.

Conveyors of this type - plastic link conveyors to be precise - are manufactured by Ammeraal Beltech Modular GmbH which is known in Germany as uni-chains. This manufacturer of internal transport systems, steel and plastic chains, and modular link conveyors is active in around 120 countries around the world, employs more than 1,700 people, and has an annual turnover of around 230 million euros.

Carriers prevent vehicles from rolling away and protect workers

Many of the largest automotive producers put their trust in this long-time company which has its German headquarters in Rheine and has been in business since the 1960s. This is because the assembly process outlined above requires a high level of precision and speed. The vehicle must be brought to a complete standstill on the conveyor to ensure the safety of employees. One of the main requirements for components used in the automotive industry is that they are made from silicone-free, antistatic materials in order to ensure that static electricity is discharged. This material composition protects workers as well as the highly sensitive electronic components of the car.

uni-chains' plastic link conveyors - which are installed one after the other to produce lengths of up to 100 metres - ensure a smooth assembly process. Carriers before and after the vehicle wheels prevent the cars from rolling.

The solution: Highly-technical plastic by Murtfeldt with a tailored design

Over the course of time, conveyors have become increasingly long and the load to be transported has grown accordingly. This has given rise to a need for a new development in the field of sliding bases in order to react to the changed technical prerequisites.

During their search for a suitable material, uni-chains contacted Murtfeldt Kunststoffe GmbH & Co. KG. The Dortmund-based company is a leading manufacturer of slide profiles, chain and belt guides, chain tensioners, and individual machine parts made from slide-enabling plastics. "We have been working with Murtfeldt for a long time" says Mr. Steinsträter, CEO of uni-chains. "For example, Murtfeldt manufactures the guide plates beneath the link conveyors."

Engineers from both companies got together to work on a solution. They were successful: A specially designed Murtfeldt plastic was created with optimum values with regard to weight, wear resistance, friction coefficients, and electrical conductivity. These guide plates consist of an ultra-high molecular type of polyethylene called uni-con, which was specially modified for uni-chains. Their job is to support the conveyor.

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