Norbar Case Study
Flight Extruded Plastics – Extrusion Die Adjustment
Improving the ease and efficiency of torquing numerous bolts.
About Flight Extruded Plastics
Flight Extruded Plastics is one of the largest custom sheet extruders in Australasia. The South Australian facility manufactures plastic sheet extrusion and thermoformed packaging, and specialises in the extrusion of polyolefin and styrenic based resins into rigid plastic sheet for use in the air conditioning industry.
Extrusion Die Adjustment
As part of the extrusion tuning process, the die bolts on the extruder that hold the upper and lower die plates together must to be adjusted to suit the polymer grade being extruded.
The extruder has more than 30 socket head cap screws that need to be torqued individually to a maximum of 1750 Nm. This process is repetitive and time consuming, however it is crucial to controlling the quality of the end product.
If the bolts are improperly torqued, die deflection (causing non-uniform flow of resin through the die) results in finished sheet that is of uneven thickness.
Safety Risks and Inefficiencies
The previous method used a large bar to adjust the socket head cap screws. The high number of bolts, tight clearances, and poor ergonomics associated with manually applying 1750 Nm of torque meant that the job was physically strenuous and uncomfortable, increasing the chance of strain injury.
This method was not only very time consuming, but was also inaccurate because the technician could not measure or confirm the amount of torque being applied.
The client was seeking to improve the bolt adjustment operation by finding an alternative method that would be easier, faster, and that would reduce or eliminate potential OH&S issues.
A Complete Solution
Norbar conducted an on-site assessment to develop a proposal that would directly solve the issues defined by the client.
The proposed solution included:
- Norbar PTS 2000 Nm Pneumatic Tool — This tool does the grunt work, reducing manual labour. It would be used with a sliding reaction arm and has adjustable torque settings so each bolt can be torqued uniquely.
- Sliding reaction arm — An Engineered-To-Order (ETO) reaction arm to be developed by the Norbr mechanical engineering team would provide a safe and solid reaction point against a neighbouring cap screw.
- Hex Sockets — Supplied in varying sizes of socket head cap screws (Hex) so the solution can be used on a range of bolt sizes.
- The client approved the development of the Sliding reaction arm and implemented it along with the Norbar PTS 2000 Nm Pneumatic Tool.
The implemented solution provides the following benefits:
Decreased Servicing Time
The PTS Multiplier has exceptionally low vibration levels for user comfort, and eliminates the risk of strain injuries associated with manual torquing. The sliding reaction arm ensures a safe reaction point, and keeps hand clear of the torquing operation.
A single technician can perform the task using the PTS 2000 Nm to rapidly adjust the individual bolts to their exact required torque, reducing the total task time.
Lightweight & Ergonomic
The PTS 2000 Nm weighs in at just 6.6 kg, with the reaction arm adding only a small amount of weight. The result is minimal physical effort required of the technician. It is comfortable to operate for extended periods of time, and is easy to manoeuvre in the workshop.
PTS 2000 Nm Pneumatic Tool applies the required torque with guaranteed accuracy of ± 3%.
The custom reaction arm is compatible with multiple hex socket sizes and can be adapted to fit different bolt spacings. The PTS 2000 has an adjustable torque range from 400 to 2000 Nm.