A Guide to Wind Turbine Components

Renewable energy is the future of the energy industry, and wind energy is an essential part of that.

But how do wind turbines and components of wind turbines work?

Read on for details about wind turbines.

The Importance of Wind Energy

The wind has been harnessed and utilized as a source of energy since ancient times when Egyptians used it to propel their boats down the Nile River.

Windmills have been used for farming and other energy sources for over a thousand years.

Now, with non-renewable sources of energy dwindling, we’re starting to use wind energy on a large scale. Since 2000, wind energy has grown by 50 fold, from 6 billion kilowatt-hours to nearly 300 kWh.

How Does a Wind Turbine Work?

A wind turbine has many essential parts, most of which aren’t noticeable from outside of the turbine.

The nose and the blades are the most significant and most visible parts of the wind turbine. The nose, along with the rotor, holds the blades which catch the wind and begin to spin when wind speeds are fast enough.

The main turbine shaft is what connects the blades to everything inside the turbine. This shaft spins at the same speed as the blades and is essential for transferring the wind into energy.

The high-speed turbine shaft, as its name implies, spins at a much higher speed than the main turbine shaft. This is accomplished by the gearbox, which connects the two turbine shafts, and increases rotational speeds through a series of gears, much like how a bicycle increases its rotational speed through the gears attached to the back wheel.

The high-speed turbine shaft is what spins the turbine generator, the essential part of the wind turbine. This generator is what transfers the wind energy into electrical energy.

The inner workings of a turbine generator are complex. Here is a link for details on the inner workings of turbine generators.

There are also several parts of the wind turbine that help optimize the wind capturing process.

The anemometer measures wind speed and works alongside the controller to maximize the efficiency of the wind turbine. These devices can activate the brake to slow down the blades during excessive wind speeds. It can also be used to assist with starting up the blades when wind speeds are too low to activate the blades on their own.

What’s Next?

Now that you can answer the question of “how does a wind turbine work,” you might be curious about other large industrial machines. From oil rigs to overhead cranes, to railroad parts, our blog is an excellent source of information for any energy industry you might be interested in.

What Are Hydraulic Clamps and Why Do You Need Them?

Do you regularly work with industrial equipment? If so, you should be using clamping mechanisms like hydraulic clamps. They’re a vital piece of industrial equipment that will make things in your workplace safer and more secure.

Not sure what hydraulic clamps are or why you would need them for your work? In this article, we’re covering everything you need to know about these clamping mechanisms and how they can improve your work processes.

What is a Hydraulic Clamp?

In basic terms, a hydraulic clamp is a piece of industrial equipment that applies clamping force to secure any workpiece. What separates a hydraulic clamp from a primary clamping mechanism is that these devices use hydraulic fluids as part of the clamping process.

These fluids allow for greater operating pressure, which in turn results in higher clamping even when using smaller clamping cylinders.

What Does a Hydraulic Clamp Do?

If properly designed and used, a hydraulic clamp will prevent any piece of machinery from moving. This means the piece won’t slide or twist in use. A hydraulic clamp also clamps a piece of machinery without distorting the piece of machinery, which may occur when using a more standard type of clamping mechanism.

During the clamping process, a workpiece is positioned inside of the clamping device and held in position. The method of identifying and holding a workpiece is often referred to as “limiting the degrees of freedom” as this relates to the angles the device is constrained to.

Identifying the workpiece is essential for operating a hydraulic clamp correctly. If you do it incorrectly, you run the risk of bending the machine or causing machining error.

How to Operate a Hydraulic Clamp Correctly

As mentioned above, it’s essential to clamp your workpiece correctly. The main thing to do is make sure you’re attaching the clamp to a thick section of the workpiece. For correct clamping, you need to be applying the force to a strong, supported part of the workpiece.

If you attach the clamp to a thinner section of the workpiece, you’ll more than likely bend the piece, which will affect the overall accuracy of machine use. You should also make sure that you attach the clamp in a way that does not obstruct the loading or unloading of the workpiece or the paths of the cutting tools.

If you are clamping to a thinner, more delicate piece of machinery, you should distribute equal clamping force across the machine, and use clamps with pads or softer materials to prevent damage.

Why You Need a Hydraulic Clamp

Hydraulic clamping devices are essential for speeding up processes for industrial work more safely and securely. They reduce non-productive work time, save the operator from the risk of screwing clamps incorrectly, and allow for adjustments that are suited to the specific requirements of the workpiece.

They also reduce operation fatigue and increase machine-tool capacity, which are two vital things you need to improve the scope and efficiency of your work.

Final Thoughts on Hydraulic Clamping Mechanisms

Are you looking to improve your work processes? Want to scale your operations in safer (and more efficient) ways? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you need hydraulic clamping mechanisms.

Ready to purchase some hydraulic clamps? Have any additional questions about clamps or how they work? Contact us to learn more about clamp options!

Everything You Need to Know About Torque Limiters

What if you had to watch your heavy machinery crash into something helplessly?

Many people put a lot of faith into the brakes on these vehicles. But the soft collision protection of brakes is not always enough to prevent a major accident.

For maximum safety, you should be using torque limiter couplings. Here’s our comprehensive guide to what they are and how they can help.

What Are Torque Limiter Couplings?

In many ways, torque limiters are about “just in case” protection. They are designed to protect equipment and personnel in the event of potentially catastrophic damage.

The limiter will have a certain value of torque programmed in. If the amount of torque exceeds that amount, the limiter activates to slow things down quickly.

To know why you should use torque limiter couplings, it’s important to know some of their advantages.

Protecting Workers

As we mentioned earlier, one vital function of these limiters is that they help to protect the workers using the equipment. If no limiter is present, then people using heavy machinery might get into accidents that will hurt or even kill them.

The torque limiter couplings help prevent that from happening. The limiter kicks in before an accident can reach catastrophic levels.

It is as simple as that. Investing in limiters is a way of investing in the safety of every worker who uses that particular equipment.

Protecting Equipment

Of course, the equipment itself is very important. Heavy machinery is very costly to repair or replace. Fortunately, limiters can protect the equipment just as they protect the workers.

Torque limiters essentially offer a kind of grace period for an equipment malfunction. Once the limiter has activated, the worker can shut the equipment down before things can get any worse.

After this happens, you will need to inspect the torque limiter itself and to check the torque settings before you rely on it again. Ultimately, though, it is better to spend a little time doing this than a lot of money on fixing damaged equipment.

Possible Disadvantages

“Nobody is perfect.” This is a phrase that describes industrial equipment just as well as it describes the people using it.

There are a couple of possible disadvantages to the limiters you should be aware of. The first is that limiter settings are approximate, so you must be comfortable with a small amount (usually ten percent or less) of variance.

The second disadvantage is that torque limiter couplings cannot shut the machine down on their own. Instead, the limiters create a very audible slipping noise, and it’s up to the worker to shut down the equipment.

Overall, these disadvantages are minor. And they are far outweighed by the advantages.

The Bottom Line

Now you know what torque limiter couplings are and what they can do. Do you know where you can buy them?

Here at the Kor Pak Corporation, we offer the very best in industrial machinery and parts. To see how we can protect your people and equipment, come check out our torque limiters today!

5 Benefits of Preventative Maintenance

When you work in the industrial industry, you know how much depends on the equipment performing as it should.

One way you can ensure this is by performing regular preventative maintenance on your equipment.

If you’re not yet convinced of the importance of preventative maintenance, we have five reasons that might change your mind.

1. Catch It Before It Becomes an Issue

When it comes to your industrial equipment, nothing is more frustrating than having it malfunction as you’re trying to get the job done.

You will have to stop production to figure out what is wrong with the equipment.

This is where preventative maintenance comes in. Regularly having the equipment inspected might help catch issues before they become a problem.

Regular inspections might help with simple fixes that if left alone could become a problem.

2. Reduces Downtime

Every type of business dreads downtime. Not only does it delay the work from getting done, but it also means having to pay employees for work not getting done.

Downtime could end up costing a lot of money and cause you not to meet your deadlines.

Spending the time and money on preventative maintenance might help alleviate all of that. The machine will be inspected, and you’ll have the assurance it will finish the job is meant to do.

3. Increases Lifespan and Performance of Equipment

Let’s face it; industrial equipment doesn’t come cheap. So why not do everything possible to make sure it has a longer lifespan and performs as it should?

Preventative maintenance might help replace worn down parts and anything else that could slow down the machine. Not only will your equipment last longer but it might also perform as it should.

As machines get older, their performance decreases. This doesn’t have to be the situation if you’re always making sure they work as it should.

4. Reduces Energy Waste

Faulty equipment often wastes more energy than it should, whether it’s overusing the fan because it’s getting overheated or working extra hard to make up for other components not working correctly.

Having preventative maintenance done on the equipment ensures that you only use what you need and don’t waste unnecessary energy. Think of all the money you’ll be saving on energy costs.

5. Protects Your Investment

In a way, think of preventative maintenance as a type of insurance. Since you spent a good amount on your equipment, wouldn’t you want to do everything in your power to protect it?

Making sure the industrial equipment goes through regular inspections is the best way to ensure you take care of the investment.

Depending on the stability of your business, you might not be able to buy it twice. So why not protect it?

Protect Your Equipment with Preventative Maintenance

Preventative maintenance might save you money and protect your industrial equipment. It might also help you reduce downtime and protect your investment but increasing the lifespan of said equipment.

Need help with your industrial equipment needs? Click here to learn more about us and get in contact.

 

Why Phenolic Plastic Is Great for Bearings

Phenolic plastic has many advantages!

We’ve been using this material since 1907 for telephones, radios, light switches, and more recently, bearings – and for a good reason, it’s excellent.

As you probably already know, plastic bearings are very popular when it comes to metal surfaces. So, let dive into why that is.

1.) They’re Chemically Resistant

One of the reasons phenolic plastic is so popular is because they’re resistant to water, acid, and alkali solutions. This makes them incredibly resilient, and consequently, they’re more likely to stand the test of time.

In fact, the average lifespan of a phenolic product typically lasts as long as 20 years, and in most cases, this plastic needs little to no maintenance.

This makes it both a practical and cost-effective choice because it exceeds the durability of rival building materials.

2.) They Don’t Transfer Heat or Electricity

This advantage is self-explanatory, by being an excellent insulator of both heat and electricity phenolic bearings, help ensure the mechanism doesn’t overheat. Hence, giving the machine structural integrity, and making it less of a fire risk.

As phenolic plastic is heat resistant it makes is way more versatile in comparison to other kinds of plastic. Hence, it can be used in complex mechanisms that require its components to be exposed to higher temperatures.

So, manufacturers can use this material safe in the knowledge that it won’t melt or be a health risk (providing it isn’t exposed to temperatures above 100 degrees Celsius). Plus, this material prevents the spread of smoke- win-win.

3.) Easily Lubricated

The structure of phenolic plastic makes them easily lubricated by water, and oil grease. In some cases, you can even buy self-lubricating phenolic plastic bearings.

Consequently, plastic bearings have since replaced metal bearings in the construction of ships, electrical switch-gear, water-turbine bearings, and clock motors.

This versatile plastic is nicknamed ‘the material of a thousand uses,’ and you can start to understand why when you analyze the list above!

4.) Health Benefits

In comparison to other plastics, phenolics are one of the best when it comes to human health. This is because they’re both non-porous and non-microbial.

Consequently, they prevent the growth of bacteria and mildew. This is a godsend for people who have to work with these products regularly because the air quality won’t be tainted by any dangerous microbes that could cause illness in humans.

Did You Enjoy This Article on Phenolic Plastic Bearings?

If you found this article about phenolic plastic bearings interesting, then we’re confident you’ll love the other features published on our blog.

Over there we discuss everything from tips for new crane drivers to whether you need new storm brakes.

Alternatively, if you have any questions on this subject, please feel free to drop us a line, we’d love to hear from you. All you need to do is fill in our simple contact form, and one of our team of professionals will get back to you as soon as they can.

5 Techniques for Casting Aluminum

Aluminum is a versatile metal that you can cast using any of the casting processes available. Casting aluminum well depends on the aluminum alloys, what your goal is, and which technique you use.

The casting technique you choose, such as die casting or sand casting, depends on the dimensions and design of the aluminum part you want to create. Other factors that determine which technique you use are cost, feasibility, and quality.

We’ve listed five different techniques for casting aluminum. Use this information to help you determine which is the best option for your machines.

Die Casting

Die casting is one of the most common types of aluminum casting technique. That’s because we can use this technique to make a high volume of uniform aluminum parts. It involves injecting the molten aluminum into a metal mold under high pressure.

By using quick injection and solidification, die-cast aluminum is dense with a fine grain surface. Die casting is an excellent technique if you need many aluminum parts with the same wall thickness.

Sand Casting

While sand casting is slower than die casting, it’s the most versatile casting technique. You can create almost any pattern you need with different kinds of sands. This is the reason sand casting is ideal for making small quantities of intricately designed parts. If you or your worker notices a complicated part has broken, sand casting is the way to go.

If you need to create a cavity in your aluminum cast, sand casting is the best option for you. You can create a sand core to give your cavity the shape you need.

Plaster Casting

Plaster is the most insulating material used in casting aluminum. This means the cooling time for a cast is longer than other techniques. However,  you can use the plaster to create thin walls for your cast.

Plaster molds are also highly reproducible, which is excellent if you need several casts with exact details.

Investment Casting

Investment casting is a mix of plaster casting and patterns of wax. It’s useful for getting the thinnest walls on your cast, which can be as little as 0.40 mm.

Because internal porosity is a problem with investment casting, it’s often used to create precision instruments or jewelry parts.

Permanent Mold Casting

Permanent mold casting is also known as gravity die casting. The molten aluminum is gravity-fed and undergoes rapid solidification. Sometimes we apply a vacuum to the permanent mold, instead of pouring the aluminum in.

Permanent mold casting is useful for producing a high number of parts. Plus aluminum made with gravity die casting can be stronger than die cast aluminum or sand cast aluminum.

Want More Information about Casting Aluminum?

If you’re looking for more tips on casting aluminum, or more information about heavy machinery maintenance, check out our blog. We have a ton of resources for you and your business.

5 Benefits of a Variable Frequency Drive

You know how sometimes you can hear a phrase for a while and not really know what it means? You nod along as everyone talks, but in the back of your mind, you hope nobody asks a direct question. That can happen to even the most seasoned crane operators when it comes to discussing a variable frequency drive.

Sometimes called a VFD for short, the market for these drives is expected to continue to climb to over 24 billion by 2021. These drives are often found in cranes and hoists, so a quick refresher on what they are and why they work well is time well spent.

The Nuts and Bolts of a Variable Frequency Drive

A simple analogy for what a VFD motor does is to picture a harness or bridle on a horse. The horse is your electric motor, and the harness is your VFD. Sometimes, it’s okay for your horse to run at full speed. Other times, you want to hold him back a little.

There is, of course, a place where every analogy breaks down, but hopefully, you get the idea. A VFD gives you the option to control the current of electricity going to your motor. If the motor can run without a full allotment, then a variable frequency controller may help.

5 Benefits of a VFD

Now that you have a basic picture of how it works let’s look at some of the benefits that come from one of these VFD drives.

It allows for a slow or measured ignition. Not all electric motors need a full jolt to get started. A VFD measures the actual output needed at ignition and provides only the amount needed to start.

Energy savings = cost savings. The overall reduction in energy doesn’t stop after the initial startup. A VFD drive saves energy while controlling all of the functions and output of the motor.

Smooth take-off. Instead of a jolt as the full force of electricity is sent to your motor, a VFD allows for a smooth release of power. This allows the motor to “ramp up” as needed and saves wear and tear that occurs when a motor gets repeatedly battered with the full force.

Smooth landing. Equally important to an engine being able to ramp up is the reverse. A smooth deceleration saves on wear and tear in the same way as a smooth acceleration.

Longer life. One of the main benefits of a VFD is, it grants your motor longer life. Less wear and tear on a motor is always something to strive for so the use of a VFD drive makes sense for your crane or hoist as well.

Know Your Equipment

Now that you’ve had a brief refresher on what a variable frequency drive is and some of the benefits, you will be ready for the next time it comes up in conversation.

If you are a crane operator, the benefits of knowing more about your equipment and how it works far outweighs being able to talk about it with your coworkers. If you still have questions, contact us today for more information.

Choosing Between Using a Vertical and a Horizontal Milling Machine

Even with what the latest technology has provided with industrial parts and tools, most machines cannot do everything. Modern milling machines are no exception.

Vertical and horizontal milling machines have different uses based on the job you are looking to perform. Some milling machines give you the flexibility to manipulate the machine to provide more precise and tedious milling. Other milling machines can take on larger tasks.

Take your needs into consideration when choosing the best milling machine for you.

Here are some of the most distinctive differences between a horizontal versus a vertical mill.

Horizontal Milling Machine

Horizontal milling machines are fashioned like a circular saw. A horizontal arbor is used to mount whatever you plan to cut. The benefit of this is you can cut any surface quickly and easily.

Some horizontal milling machines also offer the flexibility to add multiple cutters to cut many pieces at once. You may also be able to shift the horizontal mill at different angles instead of only cutting at a horizontal angle.

A drawback of using a horizontal mill is that you are working with a large piece of material have limited vision to see what is being cut. Some operators work around this by touching the piece, then moving around to make sure the material is stable as it cuts.

An excellent factor to take into consideration is the cost of a horizontal milling machine. A horizontal mill costs $375k, and vertical milling machines are about half that cost.

Vertical Milling Machines

The cutting head of a vertical mill is on a vertical axis and allows the flexibility to be controlled in a variety of ways. You can have quite a lot of flexibility using different vertical mills. Turret mills and bed mills offer different capabilities.

The cutting head can be moved up and down vertically, and the bed can be moved horizontally. This allows the operator to be able to manipulate the material into different shapes and depths.

The downside of using a vertical milling machine is it is impractical when attempting to work on a large piece of material. The flexibility of manipulating the mill ends up being difficult to use. You may be better off investing in a horizontal milling machine if you are in an industry that works with a lot of large and heavy material.

Check Out Our Services for More Information

Each type of mill has its pros and cons. A vertical mill allows you more flexibility to customize the mill to the needs of the project or the material you are working with. The horizontal mill is better for larger jobs and heavier pieces of material.

The key factor in deciding which is the best milling machine for you is to determine the types of materials you would be working with on a regular basis.

Kor-Pak’s industrial-based products and services offer knowledgeable solutions to manufacturing leaders. Contact Kor-Pak today with questions on how to pick the best milling machine for your company.

How Does a Laser Cutter Work?

Technology can do a lot, from solving complex math problems to mapping a genome, and the list goes on and on. What truly blows the mind is the fact that most possible uses for technology haven’t even been discovered yet.

One aspect of technology that is particularly fascinating–just ask a science fiction writer–is the use of lasers. While some dream of weaponizing them, most of the world seems content to use them for research and production purposes.

The use we’re going to concern ourselves with today is the use of lasers to cut metal, often for industrial workshops. How does a laser cutter work? What is it about this beam of what appears just to be a concentrated light that allows it to separate metal?

What is a Laser?

At the heart of it all is this one question. What is a laser?

For those of you who believe that a laser is basically just a beam of light, you’re right. The word ‘laser’ in and of itself is an acronym. The full name is ‘light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.’

What all this means is that, yes, lasers are just light, but they’re sort of like fireworks. It’s light that takes on a slightly different color based on the elements that make it up. Granted, most lasers used in metal cutting are made with carbon dioxide, which can’t be seen by humans, so it’ll be invisible to you.

So, How Does a Laser Cutter Work?

All light is composed of energy, and all energy generates some measure of heat. When the light waves are spread out, so is the heat. By extension, concentrating the light also concentrates the heat.

Have you ever done that experiment in school where you use the sun and a magnifying glass to carve wood? Cutting metal is the same basic premise, except that it’s a lot harder to melt metal than it is to burn wood.

That’s what metal cutting is, melting the material so quickly and cleanly that it looks like it’s been cut in half.

Naturally, the equipment for this process is a lot larger and more complex than for carving wood. It’s also a lot more dangerous.

A Cut Above

Metal cutting may come with a lot of intimidating machinery, but the process is a lot simpler than all of that equipment might make you think. How does a laser cutter work? It just uses a beam of heat to burn through a material, just like a magnifying glass on wood.

The equipment exists because metal is notoriously difficult to melt or mold. Just ask a blacksmith.

The good news is that unlike a blacksmith, you don’t have to get to the heat or the metal, and you don’t have to spend hours hitting it with a hammer, although that probably helps with managing stress.

If you find yourself in need of any metalworking services, please visit our website. Not sure if your problem is one we can help with? We encourage you to contact us. We’d love to help!

Eddy Current Brakes: How Do They Work and Where Are They Used?

Eddy current brakes are a unique braking system that has revolutionized modern machinery. Unlike regular brakes that use kinetic energy and heat energy to function, eddy current braking relies on electromagnetism.

Read our blog to learn more about the benefits of this electromagnetic brake.

What Are Eddy Current Brakes?

To understand eddy current brakes, you must first understand how regular brakes work. Regular brakes use friction to stop an object from moving. Every moving object has kinetic energy. To stop kinetic energy, brakes convert it into heat energy.

In a car, the hydraulics system is initiated by the brake pedal, which uses multiplied force and heat energy to stop the vehicle.

However, these brakes wear over time and with frequent use, begin to fade.

With electromagnetism, electric conductors pass through magnetic fields. In a magnetic braking system, the electrical current flows around the conductor to create heat energy.

How Does Electromagnetic Braking Stop Objects From Moving?

When the electric conductor starts moving current, two magnetic fields are created. One field works with the current; the other field works against it.

The first part of the magnetic field tries to slow it down, and the second part will absorb the object’s kinetic energy and start to slow it down as well.

There are two types of electromagnetic brakes: linear and circular.

Linear brakes are composed of a stationary element and a moving part. These types of brakes are commonly found on trains and roller coasters.

Both the tracks and the train/rollercoaster have metal built into them to react to each other.

As the objects move across the track, it keeps producing kinetic energy. The metal absorbs the energy and uses it to stop the train or rollercoaster when the brake is engaged.

Circular brakes have an electromagnetic component that is static or moving. The static circular brakes have a metal disc that produces eddy currents.

The moving circular brakes use electromagnetic coils and a wheel to create a magnetic force field for the eddy currents.

Is the Magnetic Braking System Becoming More Popular?

For years, engineers and scientists have experimented with eddy current brakes. Engineers like the fact that these brakes don’t require an intricate hydraulics system.

There are less moving parts in an eddy current braking system which makes them cheaper to make and easier to maintain.

Most engineers use copper, a relatively inexpensive metal, as the metal component.

As inexpensive and simple as the system is, it’s used to power some heavy machinery. As mentioned earlier, the braking system is common for trains and rollercoasters-two high-powered vehicles that weigh multiple tons.

They can also be found in gym equipment, industrial equipment, and recreational equipment.

The eddy current braking system is commonly used in power tools and other industrial equipment.

The emergency function in power tools and heavy machinery is powered by eddy current brakes. Once the shutoff button is engaged, the brakes bring the spinning metal pieces to a halt.

Time to Try A Magnetic Braking System

Are you interested in eddy current brakes? If so, we can help.

Contact us today to learn more about our braking systems.