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04-16-2009

Technical Brushes

A Variety of Uses

Technical brushes manufactured by August Mink KG, Goeppingen, Germany, are used in automaking, among other fields. A new application involves a device to protect against gnawing damage in the new VW Golf and Golf Plus developed in conjunction with VW. Experiments at rodent breeding facilities had already demonstrated that fibers from Mink were rodent-resistant. Now, brush curtains that can prevent entry of rodents are being installed in the front wheel housings. This device protects brake lines, coolant hoses, ignition cables and under-the-hood sound-absorbing insulation against gnawing damage.

An additional example of how the brushes can be used in the automotive industry involves sealing of a functional opening in the Mercedes SLK. On the one hand, the flexible fibers serve as a visual cover over the convertible top operating mechanism, while on the other they prevent reaching in and potential injuries. Various characteristics such as fiber length and fiber thickness allow the brushes to be adapted to the application in order to achieve the desired sealing function. The company’s own injection molding department can modify the shape and geometry to suit the installation conditions.

Technical brushes are also used when manufacturing aluminum wheel rims. When machining the light-alloy rims prior to painting, formation of burrs on the rims presents a problem. Mink disk-shaped and round brushes with abrasive fibers deburr and round off the sharp edges on the rims quickly and without damaging the rim. This is accomplished by the hard and sharp tips of the abrasive silicon carbide material with which the plastic fibers are impregnated. When treating workpieces, a small amount of the abrasive is always released as the polyamide wears away. In this way, the abrasive fibers can smooth or deburr the workpiece by having the brush follow the contours exactly.

For a long time, brushes have been found successful as a way of protecting surfaces of sensitive parts. With many parts, even the slightest scratch makes the part a reject. In the automobile industry, fenders, roofs and even complete sides of vehicles are often transported long distances in steel carriers. Shipping restraints of expanded polystyrene, foam or rubber frequently have disadvantages: the restraints are only moderately flexible, and embedded dirt particles can damage the surfaces of the goods being transported. Brushes provide an alternative to such shipping restraints. Thousands of fibers adjust to the items being shipped. The retention characteristics of the brushes can be varied by means of fiber density, length and diameter. Dirt particles drop between the fibers, and minimal friction results from the support provided by the tips of the bristles. This prevents scratches, dull and glossy areas on the surfaces.

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