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Welcome to  ‘Ask The Expert’.  This page is moderated by industry consultant, Steve Wilkinson.  This page features the answers to your questions. Our visitors can also post comments to these questions/answers as well.  You can learn more about Steve’s background and our ‘Ask The Expert’ page by Clicking Here.

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October 29, 2013

What are the benefits of helical and spur gears?

The majority of gears you generally see are spur gears. They are easy to identify as the teeth of the spur gear project radially and are parallel to the axis of the gear, with the teeth being exactly perpendicular to its flat faces. They are simple to make and are actually more efficient if compared to a helical gear of the same size. The efficiency of the helical gear is less because helical gear trains have sliding contacts between the teeth that in turn produces axial thrust of the gear shaft and generates more heat, which causes it to lose some of its efficiency. The teeth of helical gears are not parallel to the axis of the gear, and are set at an angle. Since the surface that the teeth are made is cylindrical the teeth create a helix shape. Because the teeth of helical gears engage a little at a time they create much less noise and can be used to transfer power between non parallel shafts. Helical gears can handle more load than spur gears because a helical tooth is larger due to its diagonal position. When you need a simple design, where speeds are lower and noise does not matter, then spur gears are ideal. If you want a quieter machine, with higher speeds and accept a more complex design then helical is the better choice.

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October 18, 2013

What can we do to reduce pollution from our Flexo facility?

Preventing pollution in and around any manufacturing facility is a legal requirement, so trying to prevent it occurring in the first place should be your first goal. You should emphasize the importance to your operators and managers alike that keeping all work areas clean by minimizing spillages and making sure they are cleaned up immediately is a simple but effective way of reducing a great deal of pollution in the immediate area of the press room.

Always calculate as accurately as possible the amount of materials you will need to produce a job as leftovers often end up not getting used, all of which must be disposed of at some point. There are many less toxic solutions available and if you are not sure, ask your supplier.

When using any materials, try to use the oldest first so that they do not become obsolete again, resulting in the need to dispose of them. For product that has specific disposal requirements, always consult your supplier or local Environmental department. Always store materials and solutions and provide adequate containment to ensure that any leakage or other waste cannot get into the environment.

Washable rags are a simple way of reducing waste paper having to be disposed of and, where possible, using water or UV inks will dramatically reduce your solvent emissions. For any waste that you do generate at least take the time to segregate them to make them easier to recycle.

So bottom line: prevention is far better than treating or disposing of hazardous waste so try to determine if you can use an alternative, less hazardous, product or at least limit the use of more hazardous items that you have no option to use because of their unique features. Even if it is customer specified, if you can find a safer, less hazardous, product they may be willing to allow this to be used. The most critical factor is to involve everyone in your company, your suppliers and as just mentioned even your customers if you are to reduce your potential environmental impact.

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