Plastic & Rubber

Plastic & Rubber

"The Big Three" drives on Sumitomo solutions

Jason Valchine, SMA Sales


For over 50 years, Visi-Trol Engineering has been a major supplier of transfer systems for the automobile industry. Visi-trol has a reputation for building highly reliable machines, lasting, in some instances, thirty-plus years. Visi-Trol’s main customers, “The Big Three” (GM, Ford, Chrysler), each rely on thousands of geardrives to keep their operations moving.

Looking for new opportunities, Visi-trol’s management sought to revitalize its relationship with former colleagues at CHEP (www.chep.com). CHEP, the global leader in pallet and plastic container pooling services, serves many of the world's largest companies. CHEP issues, collects, repairs/washes and reissues more than 285 million pallets and containers from a global network of service centers, helping manufacturers transport their products to distributors and retailers.

Until recently, CHEP used various drives from Sumitomo's competitors to run their pallet and container sorting systems. Inconsistent quality and reliability resulting from machines produced by various power transmission manufacturers caused concern for CHEP management; drives in pallet-sorting systems were facing failures far too often. Aware of the reliability and durability of Visi-Trol’s equipment, CHEP consulted Visi-Trol for answers to their pallet drive consistency issues. As a solution to their power transmission woes, CHEP’s managers wanted to standardize drive units for their pallet sorting systems, and asked Visi-Trol to build a prototype pallet sorting system.

Seeking a power transmission standard at CHEP, Visi-Trol installed more than 300 Hyponic®, Cyclo® 6000, Cyclo® BBB and HBB units within their pallet transport systems. Most of these drives are in operation twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Even though some gearmotors see as many as 2000 shock loads an hour, there has not been any Sumitomo related mechanical failures! Sumitomo Drive Technologies (www.smcyclo.com) has been supplying Visi-trol with Cyclo reducers for years, and most of the machines built by Visi-trol still operate with their original Cyclo reducers.

Sumitomo products are capable of handling high shock loads, frequent changes in directions, while offering customized products. By choosing Sumitomo Drive Technologies to be their power transmission provider, it is unlikely that either Visi-Trol or CHEP will experience their previous power transmission difficulties. This was a new application for Sumitomo Drive Technologies, as well as a new industry for Visi-Trol, and it has certainly resulted in a success story for Visi-Trol, CHEP, and Sumitomo Drive Technologies.

Proven in millions of installations worldwide, the Cyclo speed reducer is at the core of CHEP’s facilities. Designed for extraordinarily long life, the Cyclo provides the foundation for Sumitomo Drive Technologies' position today as true innovators of high quality power transmission solutions with unsurpassed reliability . For more information, please contact 1-800-SM-CYCLO or email us.

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