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New DuPont

Du Pont Engineering Polymers : 27 November, 2003  (Company News)
A new plastic pulley, among the first in the world and a cost-effective alternative to its cast aluminium counterpart, is now being used across the full range of Hotpoint washing machines, which are designed and manufactured by Merloni Elettrodomestici UK Ltd, Peterborough, England, formerly known as GDA.
The injection-moulded pulley, made of glass reinforced Zytel® nylon resin from DuPont, offers lower part costs versus casting, while there are no compromises in mechanical properties. Design, analyses and manufacture of the pulley was carried out by Rolinx Plastics Company Ltd., Manchester, England in conjunction with Merloni UK.

Most domestic washing machines use a pulley to transmit torque from the motor to spin the washing machine inner drum. Rolinx identified the opportunity to replace the commonly used cast aluminium option with a reinforced nylon resin, a mechanically stiff plastic used to make reliable, high-performance and cost-effective components and systems. Such an injection-moulded part would not only cost less, on the basis of lower tool wear, but also offer sustained mechanical performance.

Zytel® nylon resin from DuPont was nominated following a successful supplier evaluation exercise. In order to act as an effective replacement for an aluminium pulley, the dimensions of the Zytel® part needed to remain identical, whilst the centre boss section had to withstand a compressive force of 105 Newton (N). At the same time the pulley was required to withstand a belt tension of over 300 N and operating temperatures of 70°C and above, with noise levels not permitted to be greater than the aluminium variant.

The final design for the Zytel® part was able to meet all design constraints, and with the aid of Finite Element and Mould Flow Injection analyses, it was confirmed that it offered the most mechanically sound option. Additional physical testing, involving the continuous running of the washing machine for the duration of the machine’s ‘lifetime’ was carried out by Merloni UK and backed-up the analytical data.

Rolinx’s own production and quality programmes are responsible for ensuring that the pulley part can be manufactured continuously to cost, to set quality standards and delivered to Merloni’s assembly site to schedule. The new pulley was introduced to Merloni’s Hotpoint production line in April 2003.

Rolinx Plastics Company Ltd. has continued to be a leading manufacturer of injection moulded plastic products from its 2 sites in Wythenshawe in Manchester and Wrexham in Wales for many years. The company has proven success in all areas of injection moulding from painted cosmetics parts to large and highly engineered components. Rolinx Plastics Company Ltd has on its two sites 35 machines ranging in clamp size from 35 tonnes up to 2400 tonnes of which 14 are between 1000 and 2400 tonnes. It produces a range of production parts for the automotive and domestic markets and is accredited to ISO 9002, ISO 14001 and QS9000.

Merloni Elettrodomestici UK Ltd is the largest supplier of domestic appliances in the UK market and the largest service provider for the sector. The company designs, manufactures and services an innovative range of general domestic appliances including: washing machines and tumble dryers, dishwashers, fridges and freezers, electric and gas cookers, ovens and hobs under the leading brand names of Hotpoint, Indesit, Creda & Cannon. The company is market leader in domestic appliances in the UK.
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