18 June 2021
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norelem recommends ceramic standard components to reduce abrasion and wear

Ceramic ocating pins and rest pads

Abrasive wear can be extremely damaging – it can change the critical dimensions and tolerances of a component, cause machinery and equipment to rapidly deteriorate in performance, and ultimately cause machine failure and productivity loss. For those looking to reduce the effects of wear and abrasion, there are now standard components made from ceramics specifically designed for the task. norelem's Marcus Schneck explains the benefits and looks at different applications where ceramic standard components can be applied.

High-performance ceramics are becoming increasingly important, especially in manufacturing. Due to the properties of ceramics, a longer life cycle can be achieved and a wide range of requirements can be met. Ceramic materials are temperature-resistant with hygienic materials, which is not only suitable for mechanical engineering, but also for the automotive industry, the food and pharmaceutical industry and circuit board manufacturing. The technical ceramics market is expected to grow by 9.3% annually between 2020 and 2027 due to the demand for durable and high temperature resistant materials, according to Precedence Research.

Wear is the progressive loss of material from the surface of a solid body as part of mechanical processes, for example, contact and relative movement of a solid, liquid or gaseous counter body. In comparison, abrasion is the removal of material through furrowing and scoring stress.

There are two basic forms of abrasive wear: two-body abrasion and three-body abrasion. A simple description of two-body abrasion would be a hard, rotating surface cutting into a soft, fixed surface. And three-body abrasion can be explained as a hard particle moving between two surfaces.

If the wear of a component is not recognised in time and it subsequently breaks or fails, damage can also occur to adjacent parts and machinery - resulting in unscheduled downtime and production standstill. Difficult operating conditions or very long turnaround intervals can lead to severe wear on the surface of the components if the correct material isn’t being used.

For example, locating pins, which are frequently used in the positioning of metal sheets, are exposed to increased abrasion within special operating conditions. Progressive material removal when inserting the sheets can influence the positioning accuracy of the fixture, requiring ceramic material to be used.

Ceramics properties include high dimensional stability, flexural strength, hardness and wear resistance. Ceramic also has a thermal and electrically insulating effect. This is an advantage in all applications where there is a risk of electric breakdown. High-performance ceramics feature a low adhesion tendency in contact with metals, providing a longer life cycle of the component if mixed with metal counterparts.

Ceramic products are also food-safe and offer high resistance to acids, alkalis and vapors. They are generally insensitive to chemicals, are pressure-resistant and temperature-stable and thus defy frequent and intensive cleaning processes or maintenance. This makes them ideal components to use in food and beverage and healthcare industries, where chemicals and acidic solutions are used regularly.

The higher procurement costs are more than offset by the longer service life.

Introducing ceramic standard components into your design process also brings another benefit – it allows an increase in operating temperatures if needed, potentially speeding up the production process and creating more components in a shorter timeframe.

The issue of corrosion is also dramatically reduced when it comes to ceramic standard components, meaning machine parts need to be serviced and replaced much less frequently due to the durability of the component.

With more than 60,000 standard components, norelem offers a full range of parts, including ceramics.

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