Monday 28th Sep, 2020

Automatic lubrication offers better bearing performance

By harnessing the power of automation, Schaeffler significantly cuts the amount of manual labour and downtime required for bearings in bulk systems.

By harnessing the power of automation, Schaeffler significantly cuts the amount of manual labour and downtime required for bearings in bulk systems.

As with many industrial components, bearings require the right amount of lubrication to function. Too little can mean frictional forces intensify wear, while too much can cause pressure to build and raise internal temperatures.

Manually lubricating these components takes time and manpower that could potentially be spent elsewhere on more productive work.

This problem is what Schaeffler’s Concept2 aims to solve. The device provides a constant and optimal supply of lubrication to the contact points of the rolling bearing.

Mark Ciechanowicz, Schaeffler Industrial Services Manager, says that by installing the system, manual resources are not needed to feed grease into the bearing – it happens automatically.

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“A lot of the issues we face when it comes to bearing failure is actually lubrication related. By installing a Concept device, bulk handlers can cut a considerable amount of downtime.”

The Concept2 is Industry 4.0 compatible, can be controlled externally as required, and are easy to integrate into machine operations. It can lubricate up to two points and has different lubrication intervals for each outlet. The device has a wide operating temperature range, making it suitable for harsher environments, and monitors the dosing and filling levels.

Traditionally, Schaeffler is a bearing original equipment manufacturer. However, according to Ciechanowicz, the company has looked to expand its capabilities, now offering bearing products and everything around it.

This includes services like mounting and dismounting, alignment, lubrication and condition monitoring.

The company believes condition monitoring contributes to high availability and longevity for machinery and plant.

Ciechanowicz says there has been a big push from the bulk handling industry to move towards a digitalised approach.

“Our customers are demanding systems that can be automated and integrated into a process. We’re especially finding large mining companies are well and truly down this path and want that technology from suppliers,” he says.

“In Australia, we have an online monitoring centre that can see the status of sensors connected to a 4G or 3G router, such as the Concept2. Reliability engineers view alarms daily and put together a comprehensive report for customers, so they know straight away if there is a condition change.”

Schaeffler helps its customers detect and avoid potential trouble through its condition monitoring solutions. Smart-connected devices detect a variety of factors, such as alignment of shafts and belt pulleys, vibration, lubricants and temperature to determine if intervention is needed.

This increases machinery and plant service life, the performance of production lines, and helps to reduce the total costs of ownership. In addition, the company offers permanent on-site support for its clients through servicing contracts and can provide emergency assistance.

Companies that are looking to improve expertise in rolling bearings and condition monitoring also have access to Schaeffler’s training and consultancy portfolio. Training is available worldwide, with the standard program of courses designed to give in-depth knowledge for day-to-day operations.

Ciechanowicz adds that Schaeffler provides turnkey solutions for customers in the bulk handling sector through its extensive support network in Australia.

“Local support is extremely important, because when our team goes to visit customers, it’s easier to do so if they’re close at hand,” he says.

“We have offices located around the country that work autonomously to a certain degree to ensure we offer the support needed.”