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Linear guides prove their worth in carpet manufacturing task

Linear guides prove their worth in carpet manufacturing task

A high duty cycle and a need for low maintenance in a highly dusty environment were the challenging performance demands from Griffith Textile Machine (GTM) looking for a linear guide for its Griffith Projectile Carpet Weaving Machine. Having worked with linear motion expert HepcoMotion for a number of years, GTM were quick to turn to Hepco to specify the linear motion component.

Using its in-house machinery, Griffith produces in excess of 250,000 square metres of bespoke carpet per annum. It is in one of these machines, the Griffith Fast Ax 2 high speed carpet weaving machine, that Hepco’s GV3 linear guides are used. This 4m wide machine produces high quality, high value Axminster carpet. The machine is fully computer controlled and can use up to twelve colours of wool in the surface of the carpet, with an endless pattern repeat.

This loom produces carpet at three times the rate of previously available machines. The Fast Ax 2 can produce 700m² of carpet in 24 hours and Griffith has two of these machines, producing carpet 24 hours a day, five days a week.

The Fast Ax2 is fitted with a jacquard patterning mechanism which enables the individual selection and lifting of the different coloured wool threads to produce a wide variety of patterns and designs. The jacquard that selects the colours runs horizontally on the GV3 slides. Eight double edge spacer slides are equally spaced out along the 4m machine. 16 carriage plates with cap seals (two carriages for each slide) are mounted directly to the machine. Connected to a motor-driven shaft, GV3 slides are used to guide the jacquard back and forth 130mm to select the required colour yarn, continually repeating the cycle every 0.5 seconds, selecting the colours according to the pattern.

Griffith was faced with a number of challenges when specifying for this machine. A pertinent consideration was the environmental conditions of carpet manufacturing, which produces a significant amount of dust and fibres from the materials, which can cause mechanical damage. If particles of dirt and debris find their way beyond the seals, or if they become damaged, the system will become jammed and motion will be impeded. This can result in catastrophic failure – meaning excessive downtime, and a complete system change.

GV3 is ideally suited to this harsh environment thanks to its V guide system that functions on the basis of tight geometrical control over matching slide and bearing Vs. In turn this provides a wiping action that expels debris, keeping machines running and reliable. This self-cleaning action eliminates contamination of the slide – a key benefit for Griffith working with extensive carpet fibres and debris.

Testament to GV3’s rugged construction, the Fast Ax2 has been in operation for 10 years and the bearings have never been changed. Moreover, even in the demanding environment, they have not required any maintenance, saving Griffith costly and inconvenient downtime.

Griffith has also sold these machines to carpet manufacturers worldwide including China, South Africa and Abu Dhabi to name but a few. GV3 has once again proven to be a reliable, low maintenance product eminently capable of working in harsh environments.

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