What is a Nanotechnology Enhanced Doctor Blade? – An Interview with Mike Six

Mike SixI sat down with Mike Six to better understand the new nanotechnology enhanced blade introduced last year and what effects he has seen in the field. Nothing is more valuable than hands-on experience from an expert. Mike is the Regional Applications Manager – Doctoring for the Midwest for Kadant Solutions. Mike has worked for Kadant Solutions for 12 years and provides doctoring and roll cleaning support to the organization’s District Sales Managers.

V:   What is nanotechnology and how does it differentiate between other doctor blades?

M:   Nanotechnology, as it applies to doctor blades, is a microscopic filler material that is used to enhance the doctor blade. It’s added to resin to make the blade denser with higher peel strength and chip resistance. This stands out from a typical composite blade and allows for better wear resistance and roll cleaning.

V:   Are the enhanced blades patented?

M:   Yes, patents are either pending or have been awarded around the world.

V:    What blade materials are available in the nanotechnology enhanced blade range?

M:   The nPak TC™, nPak G™, nPak C™, and the nPak C+™. The nPak TC has a carbide sprayed tip and the carbide contains nanotechnology enhanced particles. The nPak G is all fiberglass combined with nanotechnology enhanced resin. The nPak C is fiberglass, carbon and the nanotechnology enhanced resin. The nPak C+ is all carbon with an enhanced high temperature resin.

V:    What applications will see the most benefit from using nano-blades?

M:   In the Midwest I have seen successful applications on ceramic center, wire return and lead in rolls, granite, rubber and composite press rolls, last top dryers, press felt rolls, and covered dryer felt rolls.  We have also had success on polyurethane covered rolls in the metal processing industry. This is surely just the tip of the iceberg as these are the best blades for the most demanding applications.

V:    You mention these blades are best for difficult applications. Do you have an example?

nPak C+M:   One example of a difficult application was on the primary position of a mill using a ceramic covered lead-in roll that was heavily contaminated. Using a competitor’s best offering would get them barely what they needed and the blade would wear out quickly and delaminate. We trialed the nPak C+ which wore and cleaned better, and did not delaminate.

Another example was with a last top dryer where metal blades were damaging the dryer can and the mill was nervous to run a composite blade. Based on previous successes with nPak C+ on other machine positions, the mill had the confidence to make the switch to nPak C. The dryer can is now protected, the mill is using a composite material, and the blades are lasting from shutdown to shutdown.

V:    How does the performance compare to conventional doctor blades?

M:   That’s going to depend on the application. But let’s compare the nPak C+ (100% carbon and enhanced high temperature resin) to SynTek C™ (100% carbon). The nPak C+ will far outlast the SynTek C and have better bevel integrity. In general, the nPak line are strong blades creating more roll cleaning efficiency.

V:    What advantages and/or disadvantages have you seen in facilities using nanotechnology-based blades?

M:   There are very few disadvantages, if any. The advantages are obvious: enhanced wear resistance, better roll cleaning, and longer blade life.

V:    Have you had any unusual or unique experiences with the nanotechnology-based blades?

M:   One thing I didn’t anticipate on a lead in roll application using the nPak C+ is that the blade would maintain its bevel throughout its entire life and as a result cleans the roll like its abrasive even though it’s nonabrasive. This showed me the importance of the bevel.

“I like the product. It’s revolutionary. For the first time in my career I have a whole blade line that is unique versus the competition”.  –Mike Six