Vicote(TM) Coatings for Aluminum Wear Plate in Treadmill Replace Solid Plastic Component for Optimal Wear


Greenville, SC- (November 14, 2006) - When Advanced Mechanical Technology, Inc. (AMTI) of Watertown, MA, wanted a longer-lasting wear plate for its new dual belt instrumented treadmill, it chose an aluminum wear plate coated with VICOTE(TM) Coatings, based on VICTREX® PEEK(TM), a high performance thermoplastic, because of its superior friction and wear properties.

According to Stephen Lawrence at AMTI, "We were having problems with the surface under the belt wearing. We tried multiple types of materials for the wear plates when we first began designing our customized treadmills. Initially, we chose an acetyl copolymer but soon found that solid plastic plates wore out too rapidly. With the constant friction, the edge of the belt dug into the plastic and wore it away."

"We experimented with different materials by setting up a pin on disk test using a disc of the treadmill belt material loaded and spinning against different materials," continues Lawrence. "An AMTI MC3a force sensor was used to measure the friction forces between the samples. One material stood out as a match - VICOTE. After loading, testing and wearing out samples in minutes, the VICOTE coated sample was tested. After a few minutes it was not heating up so we kept the test going for over an hour. After this length of time without any degradation we stopped the test and decided this was the solution."

VICOTE Coatings are the next generation of coatings, offering exceptional wear resistance says George Butler of Southwest Impreglon, Inc., a VICOTE Preferred Coater who coated the wear plates for AMTI. "VICOTE Coatings are an ideal choice for engineers looking to improve the overall wear and life of their application. While the exact chemical makeup of the VICOTE Coating is proprietary, the main ingredient is VICTREX PEEK polymer, a linear, aromatic, semi-crystalline material, that is widely regarded as the one of the highest performing thermoplastics in the world."

The AMTI instrumented treadmills use digital amplifiers with Ethernet data acquisition for human performance research. 3-D forces and torques on each foot can be collected during walking or running. "We have designed the rolling belts either end-to-end, side-by-side, or a combination," says Lawrence. "There is also a high-speed treadmill that is used for studying the running of both people and animals, such as Emus."

The new dual design is a first for AMTI. It features two side-by-side rolling belts. One is two feet wide and the other is one foot wide. Explains Lawrence, "When you are running, only one foot hits the ground at any single time so you can run on one wide belt that has instruments underneath that measure the foot impact. However, when you are walking, both feet are on the ground at the same time. So, if you want to measure the forces of each foot you need to have a separate belt and measurement system for each foot. When walking on the new dual treadmill, you have one foot on the thin belt and one foot on the edge of the wide belt."

The dual treadmill is smaller than previous AMTI models. "It provides a much nicer footprint for a lab," says Lawrence. "Our original machines inclined and declined with hydraulics. With this model we've converted that to a mechanical drive that is more cost-effective for a smaller treadmill."

AMTI has also begun retrofitting several earlier treadmill designs with the VICOTE coated wear plates. In addition to excellent wear resistance, the coated wear plates offer other important advantages says Lawrence. "Instead of making a system of many six inch square plastic tiles," he says, "We can make full length narrow strips so that if the outside edges wear, or the middle wears, we can easily rotate them like tires. And, because the wear plates are coated on both sides, they can be flipped over and both sides can be used as wear surfaces."

Advanced Mechanical Technology, Inc. designs and manufactures specialty instrumentation, machines and measurement tools for clinical and research medical and industrial applications. It is a leading manufacturer of joint motion simulation machines. For more information, visit www.amti.biz.

Southwest Impreglon Incorporated is a specialized coating facility that provides OEM's with coated parts. For more information, visit www.swimpreglon.us.

Victrex USA Inc., a division of Victrex plc., is the sole manufacturer and supplier of VICTREX PEEK polymer worldwide. For more information on the properties and performance advantages of VICOTE(TM) Coatings, please call (800) VICTREX or visit the Victrex website at www.victrex.com.

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