The purpose of oscillation is to improve doctoring efficiency in roll cleaning, sheet shedding and water removal. Oscillation ensures that the blade wears evenly keeping the linear pressure across the blade tip constant. Oscillation also aids in keeping the blade tip sharp, which allows for a lower operating temperature with less friction, prolonging roll life and blade life.
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In the past, oscillators used a pneumatic system called Air Bag Bellows Oscillator that was inexpensive but was not reliable due to jerky oscillating strokes. Most common systems today are Electro-Mechanical Oscillators which have a smooth oscillation stroke but are expensive to maintain, due to the failure of the electrical gear motor and other mechanical components. Today many papermakers are in the process of upgrading their systems with Pneumatic Doctor Oscillators.