Services - 2021-06-21
A short training session and the use of professional tools from NSK: with these two simple measures, a company in the glass recycling industry was able to reduce the manpower costs required for bearing replacement by a factor of four and increase the service life of mounted bearings.
Nowadays, the circular economy is the objective for many types of material, but in the case of glass it has been standard practice for decades. The established glass recycling chain makes a considerable contribution to conserving resources.
Specialist companies play a major role in this conservation effort by collecting and processing used glass, and supplying it to glassworks as a valuable (secondary) raw material. One of these companies, which operates several sites in Germany, employs its own maintenance teams at each plant. The maintenance technicians are constantly busy because the abrasive glass dust affects the bearings in the processing and conveyor systems. This extremely fine dust is able to penetrate the bearings and significantly shorten their service life.
As a consequence, the maintenance operatives were having to replace the bearings again and again, prompting a number of pertinent questions: was the team proceeding with sufficient professionalism, and was it using the optimum tools? Furthermore, were improvement options available that could extend bearing life, regardless of the environmental conditions?
With these questions, the glass recycling company requested support from NSK’s bearing experts, who could see the potential for improvement. In the first instance, an NSK training course for maintenance personnel helped to unlock this potential. Specialist trainers from NSK provided operators with information on how to proceed when mounting and dismounting bearings, supported by the adoption of professional, dedicated tools.
Maintenance operators are now very careful to uphold extreme cleanliness when replacing bearings, using two dedicated tool sets from NSK for mounting and dismounting. The mounting tool set ensures, through the optimal combination of impact ring and impact sleeve, that the mounting forces never transmit across the rolling elements of the bearing. As a result, no mechanical damage occurs to the rolling bearing during cold assembly.
Ultimately, the user saves time and gains from the fact that correct mounting extends bearing service life. The extractor tool applies the forces exerted during bearing dismounting evenly to the surrounding structure, allowing removal without incurring damage or taking off the shaft.
As a result of these initiatives, the labour costs amounting from the time required for dismounting and mounting failed bearings has reduced by a factor of four. Furthermore, the service life of the newly installed bearings has seen a significant increase.
The company recouped the cost of the two NSK tool sets, which was manageable in itself, in less than three months thanks to the savings accrued, not counting the increase in bearing service life.
Picture 1): Bearings have to endure challenging conditions in glass recycling plants. Photo: iStock.com/pixinoo
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