Roulements - 2008-02-15
Global bearing supplier, NSK, is constantly developing new technologies and services to meet the demands of quarry operators and equipment manufacturers for continuous operation with minimum maintenance. The latest component in this integrated strategy is a new asset improvement programme (AIP), which is designed to deliver real benefits to the operating costs, efficiency and profitability of UK quarry operators.
NSK’s AIP programme is designed for end-user bearing customers in the quarrying industry that are looking for more than just product supply. Rather, they are looking for a value-added service that actually helps them to reduce operating costs, improve efficiency and profitability. These objectives are achieved by delivering tangible savings to assets, such as equipment and machinery, and also by improving the working knowledge of maintenance and engineering personnel.
AIP is simple to implement; it is broken down into stages in order for people to understand the programme. This makes it logical for end users to buy into and understand the process; and it shows them how NSK can add value to their businesses. The process often starts with a site survey, which is very detailed. NSK engineers visit a customer’s premises, talk to them; get to understand what their difficulty is and work out what NSK can do to support them.
As part of the AIP programme, all aspects of a company’s operations, including systems, stock, specific problem applications, lubrication, and even training issues are audited. A lot of the time is spent questioning, understanding and listening; this is crucially important because if this stage is not right, then anything that follows won’t work.
An analysis of the data acquired is then performed and this leads to recommendations for improvements. In practice, these recommendations could relate to training: about how to examine or look after bearings; how to spot failure modes; and how to handle bearings correctly - as that is one of the biggest causes of premature failure.
In addition, NSK might need to look at the lubrication of bearings; or recommend part substitution for a bearing that would work more effectively. The overall aim is to provide added value through the provision of engineering solutions that when documented can represent substantial savings on operating and maintenance budgets. This provides management with firm figures that give them reassurance that they have saved money and improved profitability by working with NSK.
AIP Programme Delivers Savings of £4,580/year On One Quarry Conveyor
The value of NSK’s AIP programme as a cost reducer in the quarrying sector is evidenced by an early application of the programme, where a quarry operator was experiencing short service life on a conveyor tail drum take-up unit located in a relatively inaccessible area beneath a shaker screen. The bearing in the take-up unit was subjected to arduous conditions due to the open nature of the operating environment. In addition, regular re-greasing was inconsistent due to remote location of the bearing location. The problems were culminating in failure of the bearings, resulting in conveyor downtime and consequential loss of production
NSK inspected the application and recommended a switch to RHP triple- lip seal Self-Lube® bearings, and a best practice re-lubrication regime. This has resulted in significant improvements in bearing lifetime, from an average of 4 months to over 2- year’s continuous operation.
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