Traditional industrial production lines are manufactured from heavy steel and iron materials. While durable and strong, the sheer mass of these machines can result in reduced speed of the production line and higher energy costs to operate. By using modern, advanced composites, production lines can use low-mass composites in moving parts that have higher strength, durability but with lower mass to improve production speed and energy efficiency.
Challenge - A food packaging company needed high-speed automation of their production line to support potato chip production. The high-mass steel “pallet” being used was slow, expensive to run and its high inertia was damaging the potato chips as they tried to increase production speed.
Solution - Composite Resources developed a pallet made of lightweight carbon fiber that provided not only low mass and inertia, but had environmental characteristics to support high heat as the potato chips are baked. The light-weight pallet replaced the metal pallet in the production line.
Results - The low mass and inertia of the new composite (carbon fiber) panel allowed not only higher speed production and less damage to the chips, but it also reduced energy consumption. The environmental capabilities of carbon fiber (high heat resistance) were ideal for this application as it needed to withstand the oven heat.