Cable lapping tape and twine supplier Cable Tapes UK is poised for growth having installed seven new taping machines as well as a state of the art duplex slitting machine. To ensure the highest levels of productivity and reliability, the company has upgraded the specification of these machines by fitting them with hysteresis brakes from Drive Lines.

From its base in Manchester, Cable Tapes supplies customers all over the world with high quality tape for electrical cables to improve fire resistance, protect against water damage and prevent electric shocks. Working with a full range of materials, Cable Tapes’ products include mica tape, laminates and polyester tapes, woven and non-woven tapes, water blocking tapes and yarns, filters and polypropylene twine. It also supplies special products to order.

With so much interest in its products, Cable Tapes recognised the need for investment in new production machinery. Its aim was to create the best, most modern cable taping capacity in the country, allowing it to provide the best possible service to the cable industry. But, when standard machines were unable to meet the company’s expectations, in terms of productivity or quality, Cable Tapes’ Chairman, Martin Van Der Zwan, looked at the potential for component upgrades.

A particular area of focus was the brakes on the new machines, which were identified as a limiting factor on the machines’ performance. In use, they nearly always ran hot, an indication that they were being worked beyond their capacity. This had the potential to lead to brake failure in operation; a problem that would only be heightened by increasing throughput.

Market research to find a higher performance alternative that would be easy to retrofit identified the ZF range from power transmission specialist Drive Lines of Bedford as a likely option. Trials showed that the overheating problems could be overcome with the ZF brakes and that they also offered improved tension control leading to better product quality.

ZF hysteresis brakes offer a highly cost effective and simple solution to tension control applications. They operate on the principle of opposite magnetic poles attracting each other in synchronous mode and on continuous magnetic reversal in slip mode. With the magnetic forces acting through an air gap the brakes provide non-contact torque transmission which is variable through an associated electronic controller. The brake torque depends on the current supplied and is largely independent of speed, with full transferable torque available from zero to maximum speed.

Drive Lines can supply the brakes in nominal sizes from 0.05Nm to 520Nm depending on size. They are available in bearing versions with shaft ends or non-bearing versions as individual components. The brakes have a power capacity of up to 2000W during continuous operation or 4000W for short term operations. They can be used in both the slip mode or as holding brakes.

The non-contact operation of the brakes ensures a long service life and means they do not suffer from problems of the generation of dust particles associated with other solutions. Therefore they are particularly well suited for applications where contamination or air quality is a consideration.

Mr Van Der Zwan comments: “Drive Lines was able to offer specification advice on the upgrade having assessed our requirements. The retrofit went extremely smoothly and we have seen immediate benefits. Indeed the project has been so successful that we are considering fitting ZF brakes to our other machines too.”