Equipment & Technology

Flender takes gear units to the next level

Flender has reimagined its single-stage helical gear unit to meet precise project requirements and provide a fast return on investment through its high efficiency and thermal capacity. 

Flender has reimagined its single-stage helical gear unit to meet precise project requirements and provide a fast return on investment through its high efficiency and thermal capacity. 

Originally designed 30 years ago, Flender’s single-stage FZG helical gear units have withstood the test of time. 

Many of those units remain in operation to this day, remaining as reliable as when they were first installed.

However, Joe Bruford, head of sales at Flender, told ABHR that in the digital age, equipment needs to be more than just reliable.

“Imagine a gear unit that meets your project requirements precisely. That offers quick amortisation due to its extraordinary thermal capacity and high efficiency. With minimum downtime due to its quality and digital intelligence. With simple, quick, and smart configuration options,” he said.

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“We’re now in the generation where almost everything is available online,” he said. “Harnessing the Internet of Things allows our customers to increase efficiency, reduce emissions and eliminate downtime.”

“Reducing the total cost of ownership is vital for us, which is one of the reasons we designed the next generation of single-stage gear units.”

The Flender One features significantly increased thermal capacity and surface area, without changing the footprint from the previous series. This eliminates the need for overdimensioning to increase the gear unit’s own cooling capacity, while also reducing the need for additional cooling measures.

This is made possible through the ribbed design of the housing, which improves airflow around it. A shaft mounted fan is installed on the drive side, between the motor and the gear unit and is the most reliable of all cooling options. A thermostat-controlled electric motor fan – mounted on the end – can be activated dynamically, keeping energy costs low. 

In addition, a cooling coil can be included to provide reliable and effective cooling. In this process, cooling water absorbs the heat via pipes in the gear unit’s oil sump and leads it away from the gear unit. If this still isn’t enough, additional cooling equipment such as a coolant lubricant system or a central lubrication system can be installed.

Bruford said Flender’s Metaperform gearing is one factor that has led to significantly increased efficiency.

“The gearing was calculated according to state-of-the art methods and represents an important step in the development of industrial gear units,” he said. 

“Thanks to its improved roll-off characteristics and even more uniform path of contact, the power dissipation of the gear unit has been reduced by 50 per cent in comparison with the previous model. 

“You also benefit from the new AIQ gear unit intelligence with integrated sensor technology straight from the factory, which optimises your specific process.”

The AIQ gear unit intelligence plays an important role in minimising downtime with its integrated sensor technology and analysis functionality. It allows operators to monitor things like vibration, temperature, and oil condition from a smartphone application. This condition monitoring provides reliability and predictability at a glance and can help to increase plant availability as well.

Flender has also designed the gear unit to have simpler assembly and maintenance processes. While it has a greater capacity and fits the same footprint, the Flender one is lighter than its predecessor and takes up relatively little space.

Bruford said the company’s Australian facilities are set up to support the entire lifecycle of the product, with a team that can provide everything from installation to decommissioning. 

“Flender’s gearboxes have a proven track record and are an industry benchmark when it comes to reliability,” he said.

“Our products have some of the largest install bases in Australia, which is why we have invested in growing our local operations – opening facilities in Rockhampton and Perth. 

“We also plan to have our new Sydney facility up and running by the end of the year to support our customers in New South Wales, and through our recent acquisition of Moventas we now also have a presence in Melbourne.”

The facility will be just over 1,800 square metres and has the structural capacity for a 50-tonne crane. Like all of Flender’s facilities, it can operate 24 hours a day if needed.

Being close to its customers means Flender can provide more agile support and respond to customer requests as fast as possible.

Bruford said Flender can also also provide proactive support, using our OEM knowledge, vibration analysis and condition-monitoring expertise to help customers avoid unplanned shutdowns.

“We want to continue supporting our customers with the latest technologies and products, like the Flender One,” he said.

“Our team is excited to help our customers embrace digitisation and condition monitoring, which will ensure they’re getting the most out of their equipment.” 

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