Technology overview: The demand for metal sheet conveyor belts keeps increasing in response to the special demands of the rapidly changing industrial environment (i.e. hygiene, high temperature, chemical resistance, clean environment, etc.). In particular, steel is preferred by the aviation industry and the space industry (NASA), etc. for a power transfer unit with permanent life and by the petrochemical industry for chemicalresisting (e.g. sulfur) conveyor systems. Even the food industry and environmentally friendly products (e.g. Choco Pie, Lotte) prefer steel conveyors for clean and sanitary transport of products. In line with these trends, the import of steel products by developed countries is increasing as well, and this calls for R&D efforts on welding technologies for flexible steel sheets.
In addition, the solar power industry (EVA line) such as LG and JIN HEUNG, using relatively new materials and technologies, is requesting conveyor systems of no-stick tabber belt for solar cells, especially for processes of EVA sheet production, IPO film production, and high-temperature forming. However, there is no welding technology needed for such conveyor belt systems and the entire plant or welded belts are being imported without any other option. Therefore, development of the welding technology is crucial to the supply of the metal sheet conveyor systems. In these circumstances, the company has successfully developed the welded parts and surface processing technologies, which allow ultra-thin metal to be made into conveyor systems.
Industrialization: A top priority is to develop stainless steel materials for demonstration of steel processing technologies, optimized for each intended use, and to localize imported belts to be supplied to a local company (JUST IN TIME) through massproduction systems. The company has developed technologies of joining stainless steel belts with metal sheets by welding to make conveyor systems and also a processing machine to sell the product in the form of part materials or plant. The patents for the technologies have been obtained as well. Currently, total inspection is applied to the products. Taking into consideration a rotation test (a nondestructive inspection), the company has conducted a life test under the same conditions as those of the customer’s site and reflected the results in product development.
Problem-solving in industrialization: Due to the nature of small quantity batch production, the belt system needs to be customized and this requires manufacture of a mold, causing increasing costs of a jig. In the initial stage, a customized jig was outsourced and this led to high costs, but now the company uses its own tools and equipment (lathe and milling) to lower the costs.
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