Aluminium rollers offer a strong option at half the weight of steel

Paul Boughton

Aluminium conveyor rollers designed and built by Horizon Conveyor Equipment are offering light relief to site operators in their efforts to tackle health and safety risks and cut maintenance downtime.

Horizon has constructed its heavy duty aluminium rollers to offer robust strength but at nearly half the weight of their standard steel counterparts, making them an increasingly appealing alternative on a wide range of sites.

Development work on the rollers began in response to industry concerns about the health and safety risks of using standard heavy steel trough and return rollers, which often weigh up to 90kg. Excessive weight means that steel rollers generally need extra manpower to carry, install and maintain, and conveyors often require prolonged periods of downtime while that work is carried out.

Alan Bowler, the Managing Director of Horizon Conveyor Equipment, says the aluminium rollers retain the durability of their steel counterparts but boast the weight advantages, noise reduction and energy saving features that have made plastic rollers popular. Importantly, their high strength also makes them an ideal option for use on wide belts and in high impact locations.

He said: “Our aluminium roller has all the weight and handling advantages of our HDPE plastic rollers but with the added advantage of extra strength especially for long return rollers. This is absolutely critical for operators who face real health and safety issues when attempting to replace failed steel rollers, particularly in enclosed or hard to access locations.”

Designed using 6mm thick aluminium tube, the rollers contain a steel shaft and sealed bearings, with the bearing housings manufactured from electrically-conductive glass-reinforced nylon. A large stationary integral stone guard forms the outer primary labyrinth seal, which prevents any spillage building up between the roller and the frame which can jam the roller. Dust, debris and smaller contaminants are kept out by a greased inner cupped lip seal together with a sealed bearing.

For Alan at Horizon, the introduction of the aluminium roller range marks the latest development in nearly 30 years of research and design innovation. He was originally involved in the invention and patenting of the first non-metallic plastic-polyurethane rollers which were introduced into the South African market in 1980. He brought the designs to the UK and European market in 1995 and since then has established a range of steel, plastic and now aluminium rollers.

He said: “We originally conceived the design for the aluminium roller with health and safety in mind. With tighter regulations and more consideration to the manpower and downtime needed to change failed steel rollers, there is certainly a need for a lightweight alternative.”

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