An electricity supplier based in Mpumalanga was experiencing frequent breakdowns of their submersible scraper conveyor (SSC) idlers and looked to SKF South Africa for a solution.
SSC idlers are used in the boilers of coal-powered power stations to remove ash from the boilers. “As these recurring breakdowns were leading to costly downtime it was vital for us to find the best solution as quickly as possible for the electricity supplier who is a long-standing SKF customer,” stresses Andre van Loggerenberg, SKF Junior Project Engineer
The solution offered by SKF was an improved sealing design consisting of an SKF custom-designed sealing arrangement. “To perfect the design, the units were submitted to several design reviews in order to obtain the optimum operating performance for the customer,” explains Van Loggerenberg.
“Our sealing arrangement maximises bearing life and extends idler operation by several months compared to the customer’s previous idlers. “In fact,” says Van Loggerenberg, “the operating life of the unit increased from four to eight weeks to an incredible 18 months, which is a vast difference. Ultimately, this leads to vastly improved uptime or operation time for our customer.”
In addition to minimising contamination ingress, the design, according to Van Loggerenberg, also allows the customer to re-use some components when units are reconditioned.
The success of SSC idlers, with all the related cost saving benefits, according to Van Loggerenberg, serve as a foundation to present similar arrangements to a sister plant which promises great potential for future business opportunities for SKF.
Building strong customer relationships are important to SKF. “This project has without any doubt strengthened both SKF and SKF authorised distributor, Bearing & Transmission Newcastle’s relationship with the customer. SKF’s country-wide authorised distributor network offers an extension of our capabilities, taking SKF appropriate products and services to our customers’ doorstep. Bearing & Transmission Newcastle will continue to add value to the customer relationship through continued excellent after-sales service delivery to the electricity supplier,” concludes Van Loggerenberg.