New material tipped to cut factory fire risk

Stock images for KV Rollers
KV Rollers director Kevin Lower

The packaging and print industry could be markedly safer in future thanks to a new material created by a South Wales company.

KV Rollers, based in Cwmbran, is a manufacturer of rubber rollers and of rubber polymers for use in the print, packaging, food handling and advanced engineering industries, and if you use cash, drive a car, read magazines or drink branded spirits then you have, albeit indirectly, come into contact with its products.

The company’s chemical engineers work at the cutting edge of polymer science to make print works and factories safer and more productive, and to help firms to innovate.

One of KV Rollers’ new developments has been Kalexite – a roller covering with superior anti-static properties, which the company believes will slash the risk of factory fires, while boosting productivity for its users.

In developing Kalexite, technologists used a recently introduced grade of base-polymer, to produce a formulation matching the Eltex GNN75 requirement which requires a non-black/non-marking single layer conductive sleeve system with a hardness spec of 80-85 shore (A scale), exhibiting a corresponding surface conductivity of 10-30 mega ohms at 120 volts.

KV Rollers director, Kevin Lower, said the material, which was the result of hundreds of man hours in the lab and in production, could revolutionise the print and packaging industries and become the standard solution for many other applications as well.

“Here at KV Rollers we have built our success and our good reputation upon developing new polymers and rubber products, and Kalexite is an innovation we are particularly excited about. We believe it has the potential to make the paper and packaging industries a much safer place due to its superior anti-static properties, which reduce the risk of sparking and ignition.

“Print and paper rollers operate at increasingly high speeds, often coming into contact with static generating substrates, so the risk of ignition and of subsequent fire is high.

“Kelexite has the potential for many extended uses within a range of printing, mechanical handling and film packaging-based applications, where high levels of airborne volatiles prohibit the presence of sparking or other ignition sources.”

He continued: “As well as being a potential boon to safety, Kalexite is proving its worth as far as performance quality and longevity too, which has an impact upon manufacturing costs and, importantly, upon profit margins.

“I believe Kalexite is the next generation of this kind of rubber compound.”