Plastic with a cold grip: the innovative new plastic snow chains for tyres
Even at low temperatures plastic can efficiently substitute metal; the French textile and rubber company Joubert Productions, Ambert, is for the first time putting snow chains on the market whose chain links are made entirely from plastic. This has become possible with Elastollan®, the thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) from BASF, and BASF’s support in optimizing the component geometry and production. The snow chains made from the two Elastollan® grades B90A15 and B60A10WH meet the ÖNORM 5117 standard, which applies across Europe, are suitable for different tire sizes, and easy to fit. The Elastollan® versions are abrasion resistant, flexible at low temperatures, and resistant to loose chippings and road salt. They thus ensure that the snow chains have optimum grip on ice and snow.
For this new plastic application, Elastollan® offers an excellent combination of lightweight construction and serial production: the conventional metal chain mesh is replaced by two Elastollan® grades of different colors that chemically adhere to one another in the injection-molding process, and so do not have to be additionally assembled. The black Elastollan® B90A15 with a harder setting displays very good mechanical properties along with great flexibility at low temperatures, while the red Elastollan® B60A10WH is more flexible and easy-flowing. In compact injection molding, the black chain links are overmolded with the red Elastollan® in one mold where they join chemically. As TPU adheres to TPU very well, there is no need for another assembly step as is necessary with metal meshes.
“Tailor-made quality products are the most important part of our business. BASF not only supported our idea of producing lightweight, easy-to-fit snow chains by providing the right material. What is crucial for us is that BASF has been with us right from the initial idea via finding the appropriate mold through to the finished product, thus enabling us to set up with an optimum production process,” says Régis Kaelin, who is responsible for R&D at Joubert. “This means we are not only able to manufacture products efficiently, but can also offer car drivers a high level of safety in winter with snow chains that can be used without any problems.”
The Austrian standard ÖNORM 5117 is designed for metallic chain links which cover the full tread of tires and must be in contact with the road surface whatever position the wheel is in. Due to the outstanding road grip of BASF’s TPU, the snow chains enable car drivers to enjoy the best possible control over their vehicles on snow-covered roads. As the Elastollan® links are much lighter than the conventional metal mesh, the snow chains are easy to handle and quick to remove.
Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router
Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age.
Siemens Enables 5G IIoT
The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.
Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance
- Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
- The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
- A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
- Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites
“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.
Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said.
Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future
Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’
And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.
The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.