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Corus has chosen Schaeffler’s Fag Procheck online condition monitoring system for its Medium Section Mill in Scunthorpe.

The Medium Section Mill supplies railway lines and steel rail sleepers, as well as sections for the construction industry.

The plant has been in operation for three years and consists of one abrasive saw that cuts hot rails and four cold saws.

The two saw lines consist of one fixed and one moveable saw per line.

Engineers had been undertaking basic plant condition monitoring on the saw lines for some time.

This involved maintenance engineers using portable patrol monitoring equipment to monitor the condition of the bearings in the motor and gearbox units that drive the friction saw.

However, following a review of the area, the plant became a locked-access area to comply with health-and-safety requirements.

Chris Smith, plant condition monitoring engineer at Scunthorpe, said: ’Access to this saw line was a real problem for us.

’We could only do checks on the equipment when the saw was idling, but this rather defeated the object of monitoring and assessing the condition of the bearings and other rotating components under real-time working conditions,’ added Smith.

Access to the area is restricted by a Castell key system.

This trapped key interlock safety system isolates the plant by ensuring that personnel cannot gain access to the locked gates surrounding the area until the power has been confirmed as switched off.

This makes it impossible to conduct vibration monitoring using handheld devices.

As a result, the engineers were forced to consider various online systems.

Following the success of Schaeffler’s Fag Dtect X1 online vibration monitoring system, which monitors the hot saw gearbox in the Beam Mill at Corus’s sister plant in Redcar, Teesside, it was agreed to look at a similar system for Scunthorpe.

Although a Fag Dtect X1 system had been installed at Corus Teesside to monitor the gearbox on the hot saws, it was felt that the latest generation of online monitoring devices from Schaeffler would provide the best solution for the abrasive saw application.

Wayne Jackson, electrical maintenance engineer at Corus’s Medium Section Mill, said: ’We have a number of critical applications within the Medium Section Mill that require continuous monitoring.

’We were therefore looking for a device that has enhanced network capabilities and offers an increased number of input and output signals.

’The PCM team recommended the Fag Procheck system to us and was able to support us with the installation and configuration,’ he added.

Fag Procheck is an online condition monitoring system that enables companies to monitor vibration levels on critical rotating plant or machinery, including electric motors, drives, bearing arrangements, gearboxes, pumps, generators, ventilators, fans and excavators.

The system is claimed to be simple to set up and reliable.

Its modular design means it can cater for different maintenance and condition monitoring strategies employed across different industry sectors.

For example, the system has a range of communications interfaces so that it can be integrated with a company’s existing plant management or production control and maintenance systems.

Once set up, Fag Procheck operates automatically without further intervention from the user to measure, record, analyse and issue alerts on vibration data from rotating plant.

By continuously monitoring a machine or piece of rotating equipment, Fag Procheck can detect changes in their behaviour early and alert maintenance personnel to a potential problem before it actually occurs.

Maintenance teams can therefore improve their planning and scheduling and production downtime is reduced.

With the recent failures of motors adding to the plant maintenance costs, Jackson is keen to extend his condition monitoring regime to other areas of the plant.

He said: ’We cannot afford the two to three months it takes for a motor to be repaired, nor do we like paying the repair costs, which can be as much as GBP20,000 per motor.

’The cost of an online condition monitoring system is considerably less than this and we can avoid the disruption to the process while at the same time being able to plan changes rather than react to them and to ultimately make better, more informed decisions,’ added Jackson.

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