Building with aluminium profiles offers numerous benefits, but there are times when it’s advisable to use a metal-free alternative.
That’s why item developed Profile KH for the MB Building Kit System. This particular profile is based on a composite of thermoplastic (polypropylene) and wood from sustainably managed forests bearing the PEFC label. Comprising over 70 percent wood fibre, Profiles KH are lighter (1.06 kg/m) and more ergonomic than their aluminium counterparts. They also exhibit better CO2 values (CO2 equivalents: 3.6 kg) and are ideal when it comes to electrical insulation or transparency to electromagnetic waves. What’s more, they are fully compatible with the item product range. Just like their aluminium equivalents, Profiles KH feature a Line 8 profile groove, which makes it possible to use any item fastening elements and means panels can be built directly into the profile frame. The potential applications range from assembly trolleys, mobile racks and partitions to guards, screens and even laboratory equipment for EMC measurements. A KH variant is also available for the Lean Production Building Kit System.
Anything but your typical mechanical engineering profile
Marco Nieschwietz, Product Manager at item
The “classic” aluminium profile, meanwhile, clearly has the competitive edge in other projects. So what are the key points when deciding between profiles made from wood-plastic composite and those made of aluminium? We decided to put the question to Marco Nieschwietz. As a product manager at item, he knows all about Profiles KH.
Are there situations where you would say Profiles KH are particularly suitable?
Whenever I know that the load will be manageable and predictable, there’s a good chance I can use Profiles KH. You can even work this out using the item Engineeringtool. Another example is when I have, say, mobile factory equipment that I need in production – such as a side carriage or a small table with castors to put various tools down on. In such cases, I can naturally switch to using Profiles KH because the load is low and the resulting solution needs to be movable. And it’s easier for me to build such solutions using Profiles KH than with the aluminium version.
Apart from mobile solutions such as assembly trolleys, what other examples are there?
If a Profile KH and an aluminium profile are both at 20 degrees, the latter will always feel colder to the touch because it conducts heat more readily. Wherever my skin comes into contact with the structure, the Profile KH will be much more pleasant to handle. You could say it’s more ergonomic.
One of our customers made an interesting discovery. In the logistics operations at their production facility, there were some frames and pieces of factory equipment made from aluminium and steel that staff in the working areas frequently touched. Bladder infections were becoming an increasing problem. To reduce the number of sick days taken as a result, the customer made several modifications that improved ergonomics for the workforce. This included using Profiles KH to clad points where there was frequent bodily contact – or switching these to Profiles KH entirely. Sure enough, after the modifications were implemented, there was a noticeable drop in sick days.
Another potential application is to build a guard element. Using a combination of Profile KH, Safety Hanger, Stand Foot Set and polycarbonate panels, you can create guard applications in accordance with DIN EN ISO 14120:2016 for up to 330 joules. In practice, this makes it possible to achieve field sizes with a width of 1500 mm. Depending on the type of production, several metres of guards could be involved. Profile KH thus offers a genuine alternative to aluminium guards that is cost-effective, more carbon-neutral and helps save resources.