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On Wednesday, September 14th, 2016, the Milwaukee Section toured the Rexnord facility in West Milwaukee, 5101 W. Beloit Rd. Thirty-three of our members attended including three students—Jordan Black, UW-Madison; Tom Madden, Marquette and Brendan Reed, MSOE. We appreciate and encourage participation by students as we continue to support their chapters with financial as well as professional assistance. On February 8th, 2017, we hold our “student night” at UWM.
To begin the evening, Joe Hamann, the Advanced Engineering Manager of the center, started with an overview of the Rexnord corporate structure. With over 7,400 associates worldwide, Rexnord, founded in 1892, is headquartered in Milwaukee.
After breaking into smaller groups, first stop—the testing of massive chains. It’s hard to imagine that these chains ever fail—but they do. One goal of the center is to accurately predict when these failures occur. Replacing a chain, belt or other transmission product at the appropriate time is far less expensive than waiting for the product to fail. To this end, our members observed various products undergoing fatigue and tensile testing on massive machines. Additionally, Environments are systematically varied to accelerate this testing process. We even observed a 300 lb. force repeatedly applied to a wall mount for a commode.
When a product does fail, the information is documented and analysis begins. Among equipment at their disposal, a scanning electron microscope. Chemical analysis and hardness testing are also used to assure that quality standards are being maintained.
One of the last stops on the tour was product testing of flat top chain belts. To determine which belt material is best, forces are measured under simulated production conditions—plastic bottles, cans and other customer products can be damaged by use of the wrong belt.
A huge thank you to Joe Hamann, associate Mike Mitchell and staff for providing our members with a memorable tour.
After the tour, the group raced to Meyer’s Restaurant—we were hungry! An excellent “family style” meal was served.