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Modular Cable Protectors and Ramp System to Protect Pedestrians, Cables Get Lift from Polyurethane RIM Processing

Bayer MaterialScience AG : 25 January, 2002  (Company News)
From factory floors worldwide to the back lots of Hollywood, Linebacker1 cable protectors and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Access Ramps are helping people and vehicles safely cross over electrical cables and hose lines without harm to themselves or the cables and hoses.
Linebacker cable protectors and ADA Access Ramps are part of Linebacker Cable Management Systems manufactured by RIMSTAR Inc. of Louisville, Colo., exclusively for Checkers Industrial Products, Inc., also of Louisville, which markets these products worldwide.

The modular Linebacker products owe their toughness, weather and abrasion resistance, and high load-bearing capacity to the BayflexŮ elastomeric polyurethane reaction injection molding (RIM) system from Bayer Corporation.

The Bayflex RIM system is supplied by Bayer's Polyurethanes Division as two reactive, liquid components that form a solid, elastomeric material when they are combined during closed molding operations. The Bayflex system is used in a variety of applications requiring excellent strength and durability.

'Also very important to this application is the ability of the Bayflex system to perform in a range of climatic conditions - from -40 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit,' said RIMSTAR President John Duvall.

A Switch to RIM

Previously, the Checkers Linebacker components were molded using the cast polyurethane process. However, the benefits of the RIM process - including faster processing, fewer secondary operations, and the ability to mold-in reinforcing ribs that cut part weight without sacrificing strength - made this process the ideal choice, according to Duvall.

'Because RIM is a closed-mold process, we can obtain cosmetically better-looking parts right out of the mold,' said Duvall, adding that the Linebacker system retains its good appearance because the color is molded-in. Molding in the pigment also eliminates the time and expense of post-painting the components.

In addition to supplying the Bayflex RIM system, Bayer provided valuable technical expertise, according to Duvall, who has used Bayer polyurethane products frequently during his 30 years in the polyurethane industry. This technical supportincluded finite element analysis (FEA) for the design of the molded-in ribs, and performing load testing on the cable protectors at Bayer's Polyurethane Application Center in Pittsburgh.

The core component of the Linebacker system, which satisfies state and federal regulations for protecting electrical cables and cords, is the cable protector. The 36-inch-long protector has two parts, a base and a lid, which are molded separately. RIMSTAR molds a variety of Linebacker models, which feature from one to five channels molded into the base and accommodate cable varying from 1.25 inches to 3.25 inches in diameter.

In one of the few secondary operations, RIMSTAR inserts a fiberglass rod through hinge barrels to attach the lid to the base. The lid flips up to provide easy access to cable and hose lines.

Each access ramp component measures 36 inches long by 20 inches wide. Through Linebacker's modular, interlocking design, the rampscan be quickly attached to one or multiple cable protectors, creating a gentle slope that provides a safe crossing point for wheelchairs, carts and vehicles with small wheels. The ramps also feature 2-inch-high snap-on side rails that provide ADA-compliant edge protection. No installation tools are required, and because the components are lightweight, the Linebacker system is easy to transport, set-up, breakdown and store.
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