More Productive Quarrying With New Bearing Technology
Listed inMaintenance & Repair
Phil Burge, marketing manager at SKF, explains how the latest bearing technology is helping quarrying companies to optimize productivity and minimize costs
Quarrying applications demand bearings that can deliver dependable service in the most extreme conditions. In addition to withstanding climates ranging from polar cold to desert heat, components must be capable of resisting aggressive contamination and of supporting heavy loads over extended durations.
A new generation of bearing technology has been developed to meet these demands, combining robust performance with resistance to extreme temperatures and contamination. As a result, mining and quarrying equipment is able to deliver enhanced productivity, efficiency and safety, with extended service life and minimal maintenance requirements.
For example, bearing systems are now available that are specifically designed to accommodate axial thermal expansion and movements. These self-aligning arrangements incorporate a CARB toroidal roller bearing in the non-locating position and a spherical roller bearing in the locating position, so that misalignment can be accommodated effectively. The toroidal bearing allows for axial expansion of the shaft with virtually no friction, providing smoother operation that minimizes the load on the bearings, extending their service life and optimizing the reliability of equipment.
Likewise, fit-for-purpose bearing units, such as SKF ConCentra, can be used to increase efficiency in mining and quarrying operations. These units offer a cost-effective alternative to conventional bearing and housing arrangements that can be mounted and dismounted quickly and simply, to maximize uptime.
The bearing units can be specified with ball or roller bearing elements, depending on the demands of the application. They provide reliable performance in aggressive operating environments, such as conveyor applications, where heavy loads, shock loads and contaminants are common.As they are supplied pre-greased and sealed, and feature an easy-locking system, the units can be installed or replaced simply and safely, eliminating the problems that are often associated with having to cut conventional bearings from the shaft to replace them.
To help companies get the most from these latest bearing technologies, a
range of condition-monitoring systems has been developed. Incorporating portable instruments and dedicated software programs, these solutions allow the life cycle of bearings to be optimized, maximizing performance and reducing maintenance requirements.
One such solution is SKF’s Copperhead fault-detection system for mining machinery, which allows faults to be detected before they lead to unplanned downtime. With rugged sensors developed exclusively for the mining and cement industries, Copperhead uses the latest vibration and temperature measurement techniques to monitor equipment, detecting faults such as loose or unbalanced parts, bearing damage, inadequate lubrication, and high temperatures. This allows machine operators to plan maintenance more effectively, ultimately boosting productivity.
Similarly, with adequate lubrication needed for bearings to deliver optimum service life, automatic lubrication systems can be fitted to equipment to dispense the appropriate amount of lubricant to bearings at predetermined intervals. This reduces the risk of over- or under-greasing, ensuring machinery is able to provide consistently high performance.
With quarry managers under increasing pressure to operate plant more efficiently, safely and productively, while at the same time minimizing costs, the latest bearing technology offers an effective solution. When used together with the new generation of condition-monitoring and lubrication systems, the purpose-built components can have a particularly beneficial effect on a company’s bottom line.