Solid Oil bearings from global rotating equipment and technology specialists, SKF, provides the ideal solution for the food and beverage industry where conventional lubrication methods of grease and lubrication and ingress of contaminants are simply not options.
A bakery in Germiston, Gauteng, was experiencing continuous unplanned stoppages and downtime on their dough rollers because the bearings were contaminated by the dough which entered the bearings in the rollers. “This ultimately affected production adversely due to unfortunate bearing failure and subsequent line stoppages,” explains Patricia van der Hulst – Key Accounts Manager – Food and Beverage, SKF South Africa (Pty) Ltd, adding that these unscheduled breakdowns were extremely costly.
Some concerns raised by the customer included the fact that because the dough going through the process would stand whilst the repairs were being performed, it had to be discarded. Other factors which added to costs were associated expenses and repairs needed due to failures, loss of production hours and increased stock holding.
The bakery needed an urgent solution and SKF, through distribution partner, Citi Bearings Wadeville, came to the rescue with SKF Solid Oil Bearings – 6307-2RS1/W64F & 6005-2RSH/W64. After installation, the customer reported Mean Time Between Repair (MTBR) increased from 0.5 months to 12.5 months as a result of the new solution. Zero breakdowns were recorded in between.
According to Van der Hulst, Solid Oil bearings have been developed especially for applications where the conventional lubrication methods of grease and lubrication cannot be used. “The bearing is filled with a polymer matrix saturated with lubrication oil that completely fills the internal space and encapsulates the cage and rolling elements.”
The solution is ideal in situations where the bearing is in a difficult-to-reach or dangerous location, and is excellent when contaminant exclusion is required. van der Hulst points out that the Solid Oil bearings are available in a food grade, as well as a non-food grade option and most bearings can be filled with solid oil.
Van der Hulst says the customer reports numerous benefits such as increased availability of production machinery as a result of a reduction in unplanned downtime. In addition, the improvement in machine reliability has reduced the number of associated expenses and repairs needed on auxiliary equipment and components such as couplings, gears, shafts, housings, bearings, seals, electric motors, etc. Free re-lubrication saves on lubricant costs. And finally, the increased service life, due to fewer failures, results in less unplanned machine downtime, and consequent loss of production hours as well as less waste of dough. In conclusion, Van der Hulst points out that the customer value and relationship is of utmost importance to SKF. “We understand that downtime is simply not an option for our customers and, together with our distributors, we remain committed to providing fast, effective and cost saving solutions.”