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1. WO2009004510 - LIGHTWEIGHT IDLER ROLLER

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[ EN ]

CLAIMS

1.
An idler roller comprising:

a central shaft in the form of a hollow, swaged tube with bearing support zones towards either end thereof, the bearing support zones having bearing support surfaces formed by centreless grinding;

a hollow, cylindrical roll located around the shaft;

bearings which are mounted on the bearing support zones and which support the roll in rotatable manner relative to the shaft;

bearing housings which are carried by the roll and which house the bearings;

bearing seals located on the ends of the shaft outboard of the bearings; and

- end plugs which are press-fitted into the ends of the tube to hold the bearing seals axially in position, the end plugs having portions, extending beyond the ends of the tube, shaped for non-rotatable engagement by idler support structures at either end of the shaft.

2.
An idler roller according to claim 1 wherein each end of the shaft includes an end zone which is located outboard of an associated bearing support zone and which is of reduced diameter relative to the associated bearing support zone.

3.
An idler roller according to claim 2 wherein the shaft has a central zone with a relatively large diameter and intermediate zones of reduced diameter relative to the central zone located between the central zone and the bearing support zones, the bearing support zones being of reduced diameter relative to the intermediate zones.

4.
An idler roller according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the bearings are ball bearings.

5.
A idler roller according to claim 4 wherein each bearing housing has an axially extending, cylindrical portion within which the associated ball bearing is housed and a generally radially extending portion extending towards the associated bearing support zone, axially inwardly of the associated bearing.

6.
An idler roller according to any one of the preceding claims wherein the portions of the end plugs which extend beyond the ends of the tube are enlarged relative to portions of the end plugs which are press-fitted into the ends of the tube, the bearing seals being located between the enlarged portions of the end plugs and the bearings.

7.
An idler roller according to claim 6 wherein the enlarged portions of the end plugs are formed with diametrically opposed flat surfaces.

An idler roller according to claim 6 or claim 7 wherein each bearing seal comprises a stationary, elastomeric seal element mounted fast on the shaft, outboard of the associated bearing, and a rotating metal seal element extending partially about the associated stationary seal element and engaging the associated bearing housing.