Fenner Drives — Advancing Continuous Throughput
Senior Product Manager, Derek Forney, spoke with Packaging Industry News about how Fenner Drives contributes to continuous throughput in distribution center operations.
Q. Can you tell us a little about Fenner Drives?
A. Absolutely. Fenner Drives is a strong brand of products within Fenner Precision Polymers, a Michelin Group company. It’s backed by over 100 years of manufacturing, technical and commercial expertise. We support clients across a wide range of industries including 3D printing, document handling, transportation, mining, agriculture, aerospace, climate control, material handling, food processing, and manufacturing.
Q. Fenner serves several markets. How does it support distribution centers?
A. We understand the pressures faced by distribution centers. They struggle to keep pace with e-commerce fulfillment volumes. Supply chain issues emerge like speed bumps to slow momentum. Labor shortages add pressure to automate. The last thing the industry needs is unnecessary or avoidable causes for downtime and reduced rate of throughput.
The portfolio of solutions we provide are designed to increase throughput. We accomplish this by creating products with longer wear life. Our link belts, Poly-V belts, and O-rings are all aimed at boosting roller conveyor performance. That includes providing solutions focused on straight conveyors, roller curves, transfer curves, as well as spur and merge conveyors.
Q. What innovations in design or application can you point to as proof of longer wear life?
A. There are several but one stands out. We are currently piloting a brand-new product, the Eagle® XLD O-ring, at one of the world’s largest fulfillment and distribution centers. We anticipate results in the coming weeks, but our own performance testing indicates a wear life that is six times longer than that of standard O-rings. It also has greater and more consistent roller-to-roller power transfer and ring tension will not decay over the life of the product.
Q. How were you able to achieve these results?
A. Materials for the Eagle® XLD were developed in partnership with our colleagues in Michelin’s High-Tech Materials Division. Using a patent-pending bimodulus technology, it has a combined lower- and higher-modulus materials design to optimize dynamic load capability. In addition, the product’s D-shape enlarges the contact area to take advantage of the strength of the higher-modulus material.
Typically, O-rings lose 10 percent of their load from roller-to-roller. Eagle® XLD loses less than 1 percent. That means a higher load and higher efficiency, thereby reducing belt spend and energy costs for distribution centers.
We believe it’s game-changing in terms of value to distribution center operations, increasing uptime, and even expanding the time interval between preventive maintenance. It also offers enhanced design opportunities for OEMs to spec conveyors capable of greater loads while using less motors.
Q. Where can you get more information about the Eagle XLD O-ring?
A. We’re actually debuting it at PackExpo this year. Visit FennerDrives.com to learn more!