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Schaeffler UK has assisted in the replacement of the main trunnion bearings on basic oxygen steelmaking (BOS) plant vessels at Tata Steel Port Talbot. The customer’s BOS plant departmental engineer Simon Life said the bearing replacement work was smooth and successful, with the units fitted to a high standard.

Tata Steel Port Talbot has two BOS steelmaking vessels — V1 and V2 — in operation. Each has a steelmaking capacity of 330 tonnes; loss of operation at a BOS vessel would result in significant lost revenue for the company.

An area works engineer at the BOS plant contacted Schaeffler in July 2011, advising of a sudden bearing failure on the non-drive side (NDS) of the V2 BOS plant vessel. Action plans on how to replace the trunnion bearings were discussed between Tata Steel Port Talbot and engineers from Schaeffler Germany, specifying the sequence and method as well as a tooling list and a step-by-step procedure for dismounting and mounting of the drive-side (DS) and NDS bearings.

The standard ‘solid’ bearing on the DS was replaced by a FAG split spherical roller bearing, which reduces the amount of downtime when installing the replacement bearing. The NDS bearing was to be replaced with a similar ‘solid’ bearing.

Various surrounding components also required replacing, once the secondary damage caused by the bearing failure had been identified.

Key benefits of product application

  • By replacing the DS trunnion bearings with split rolling bearings, Schaeffler helped to save the customer five extra days of work as it removed the need for the customer to have to disassemble the bull gear unit — in other words, the main drive unit for the BOS plant vessel.
  • Any problems encountered — such as damaged components and jacking issues — were discussed with Tata, Schaeffler engineers and central engineering support, and between all parties, solutions were generated, action lists compiled and remedies implemented.
  • The work was completed successfully in less than two weeks.
  • After completion, Schaeffler prepared a recommended practical maintenance schedule list for the BOS engineers; customer ‘as-built’ cross-sectional drawings were updated to show the actual parts (with measurements) now in place at V2.
  • Schaeffler also participated and contributed to the Bearing Failure Review meetings with Tata Steel that followed the bearing replacement for the BOS vessels.
  • Since replacing the trunnion bearings, engineers from Schaeffler have supervised two further BOS vessel bearing changes in a timeframe of just two months.
  • Schaeffler is now the preferred supplier of main trunnion bearings for the two BOS plant vessels at Tata Steel Port Talbot.

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