Throwing a wet blanket into a clothes dryer often results in that telltale thumping sound and an unevenly dried bedspread. It's even worse for heads of lettuce. When a California-based manufacturer of produce and food handling equipment was in the process of designing a new produce dryer, the company was concerned that uneven, wet loads would emit vibrations that would transmit into the mounting frame assembly. The manufacturer contacted Buchanan Automation, the local distributor for Enidine Inc., Orchard Park, N.Y., for possible solutions to isolate the vibration. Buchanan then consulted with Enidine's application engineers and all three companies worked together to create an acceptable solution.
The produce dryer is part of a complete production line that begins with removing produce from a truck and ends with bag-sealed produce ready for purchase by vegetarians and other hungry shoppers. The unit they designed looks like a stainless steel cement truck with tractor drive wheels and four electric motors that power a drying drum.
The engineering team identified problem frequencies and then incorporated wire rope isolator products into the first tests units. During the second test phase, wire rope isolators made with stainless steel bars were added to the construction of additional dryer units, helping to eliminate potential washdown problems.
These second test units performed well and the initial production units were then constructed. To prevent produce bits from lodging into cable strands, the wire rope units were sealed with molded rubber. The molded High Energy Rope Mount (HERM) units effectively solved the vibration problem: During production tests, the dryer units ran with 1500 lb. of wet produce turning at a rate of 600 rpm. Very little vibration was registered in the frame assembly.
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