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An intelligent lubrication system for vibrating screen bearings has saved an Austrian crushed-rock producer up to EUR450,000 per year in maintenance costs and production downtime.

Located in Bad Deutsch-Altenburg in Austria, Hollitzer Baustoffwerke Betriebs-Gesellschaft MBH is part of the Cemex Group.

The Hollitzer quarry employs around 30 staff and specialises in crushed-rock production for ready-mixed concrete.

The quarry uses a combination of double and single-platform circular vibrating screens to sieve the rocks prior to crushing.

In the past, these vibrating screens have caused problems at the plant and have frequently had to be shut down due to bearing failure caused by insufficient bearing lubrication.

The latest vibrating screen was installed at the quarry in August 2006.

After only a short time in operation, this machine suffered a bearing failure due to insufficient lubrication.

The bearings support the screen arms, which have to perform heavy continuous oscillating movements.

The screens must also withstand the very harsh and dusty conditions.

Hollitzer contacted FAG Industrial Services (F’IS), the maintenance and condition monitoring company within the Schaeffler Group, to recommend a course of action for the bearings.

In December 2006, F’IS agreed to install an FAG Motion Guard Concept 6 automatic lubrication system on one of the vibrating screens at Hollitzer.

This unit served as a six-month trial in order to prove the solution worked and to show the potential savings.

The unit was mounted in a protective housing and filled with Schaeffler’s Arcanol Multitop grease in a 500cm3 canister.

FAG Motion Guard Concept 6 is an intelligent lubrication system that can be used for either single or multi-point lubrication.

The system can supply up to six different lubricating points with grease and can lubricate a range of bearings and applications, including rolling bearings, plain bearings, drive chains, guides, conveyor chains and open gears.

At Hollitzer, the Concept 6 trial demonstrated that significant time and cost savings could be made if the quarry installed lubricators on each vibrating screen.

Prior to installing Concept 6, bearing failures at the site averaged between four and six per year.

Each bearing failure required a bearing replacement, which required the plant to be shut down for one complete shift (10 hours).

With a machine-hour rate of EUR2,000, a 10-hour bearing replacement cost the plant around EUR20,000.

In addition to this, loss of production (approx 6,000-7,000 tonnes per day) was estimated at EUR 70,000.

This meant a total cost for one bearing failure was around EUR90,000.

For an average of five bearing failures in one year, the total cost was EUR450,000 per year.

Ideally suited to extreme applications, Concept 6 can be used both indoors and out.

Each system within the series discharges individual and precise amounts of lubricant over extended periods, removing the need for costly central-lubrication systems.

Concept 6 is also fully automatic and maintenance-free thanks to constant re-lubrication, resulting in longer bearing life, longer maintenance intervals for machinery and considerable cost savings for users.

Steve Lacey, engineering manager for Schaeffler (UK), said: ‘Almost 50 per cent of all bearing damage is caused by insufficient or incorrect lubrication.

‘This can be very costly for businesses as bearing damage often results in unscheduled downtime, which in turn can result in loss of production and repair costs that often amount to tens of thousands of pounds.

‘This kind of damage can be prevented by using automatic lubricators such as the FAG Motion Guard line.’ FAG Motion Guard Concept 6 can be programmed using two push buttons and features an accurate and easy-to-read LED function light that displays lubricant level.

The system can be used in operating temperatures ranging from -20C to +60C with a maximum counter pressure for each system of 25 bar for longer distances.

Each model has an electromechanical drive system housed in a robust metal housing unit.

Available in battery powered or machine controlled options, Concept 6 comes with either 250cm3 or 500cm3 lubrication canisters.

Combined with the FAG Easy Check rolling bearing monitoring system, Concept 6 (battery powered) and Concept 6 Control (machine controlled) can be used as complete, reliable safety packages for critical bearing locations.

These independent systems are compatible and can be connected directly to the lubricating point.

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