When one of SKF’s longstanding customers experienced numerous breakdowns and production losses due to lubrication issues on their cyclone extractor fans, SKF, in close collaboration with its Authorised Distributor, Westcape Bearings and Transmission (Pty) Ltd, stepped in with the perfect automatic lubricator and grease solution.
The cyclone extractor fans are used to extract sawdust from the work areas in a wooden door and window manufacturing plant and are safety critical units as the facility cannot operate if there is excessive air contamination.
In addition to a number of products supplied by SKF to the customer, including bearings, seals, and lubricators, West Cape Bearings and Transmission carried out condition monitoring which was analysed by SKF. “It was the data collected through the condition monitoring that alerted the customer to serious lubrication issues,” explains Eddie Martens, Product Manager: MaPro at SKF.
The manufacturer approached the SKF Authorised Distributor, West Cape Bearings and Transmission, for assistance. After conducting a mini lubrication audit, SKF found that many of the cyclone fan units were being over greased whilst some units were not being greased at all. This inconsistent greasing was causing, on average, two catastrophic failures on the cyclone fans every month.
SKF recommended a trial run on its System 24 lubricator and LGHP 2 grease fitted on one cyclone fan. According to Martens, positive results were evident within the first month of testing which impressed the customer so highly that they decided to convert all of their cyclone fans to automatic System 24 lubricators. Martens adds that the original test fan has now been running for over twelve months without interruption or failure.
The fact that these advanced automatic System 24 lubricators require minimal maintenance means extended service intervals on the fans, maximizing uptime. The elimination of manual lubrication further boosts uptime and, importantly, enhances the safety of personnel who are now freed up to perform other tasks. Cost savings due to less grease being used contribute to lowest total cost of ownership for the customer.
“SKF is committed to equipping customers with knowledge and the knowledge that has been transferred to our customer’s maintenance team has both improved uptime on the units and created greater awareness of areas that need improvement,” notes Martens. This has resulted in SKF providing training courses to the maintenance teams as well as guidance on the establishment of the improved lubrication store. According to Martens, the customer is also in the process of implementing a lubrication planner to further enhance the knowledge they have received. Furthermore, they are purchasing special tools to improve maintenance.
“As a global bearings and lubrication system specialist, we strive to provide customers with cutting-edge solutions that not only solve their problems but tranform the way in which they operate,” says Martens. “This project has prompted a collaborative partnership between our customer, our Authorised Distributor, West Cape Bearings and Transmission, and SKF. We are committed to providing state-of-the-art solutions to our customers so that we remain their preferred bearings and lubrication partners along their business growth journeys.”