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Siemens has supplied a bevel helical Flender FZG gearbox for British Sugar’s Wissington plant in King’s Lynn.

When a worm gear drive crown wheel failed – owing to overload on a crucial conveyor belt at the Wissington plant – the priority was to get things running again quickly, and the ultimate result was a minimum of 10 per cent improved efficiency.

The conveyor fed limestone and coke into a kiln to help purify the sugar at the plant.

In the run-up to the plant’s busiest time of year, two men and a shovel loader were hired to manually load the feeder for 24 hours per day, but this could only be a temporary measure because of cost.

British Sugar approached Siemens Industry’s Mechanical Handling Division, which had supplied the original Flender Cavex 280 worm gear unit in 1997.

Any delivery delay could have affected the start of British Sugar’s next ‘campaign’ period and would also have meant there would be no time for running in and appropriate checks.

British Sugar had already looked at a refurbished competitor’s unit, but it had a lower rating than the Flender one and British Sugar was not confident it would be suitable.

The Siemens service team therefore suggested a more energy-efficient bevel helical Flender FZG gearbox (size B3HH08).

Where the existing 280 Cavex worm gear unit had a rating of 12,500Nm at 1,000rev/min, the new Flender bevel helical unit was rated at 27,000Nm.

The bevel helical unit also had the same hollow shaft diameter as the Cavex worm gear unit, so the customer could use the existing headshaft.

The unit was supplied direct from the Siemens Bradford factory.

The old unit was between 74 and 85 per cent efficient; the new one offered 95 per cent efficiency, according to Siemens.

The new unit was selected and supplied within eight days of British Sugar’s enquiry, against which drawings were submitted with the quotation to ensure suitability for the customer that the existing hydraulic motor would also fit.

The new unit cost less than a replacement worm gear unit would have done.

The Wissington plant produces bioethanol, a renewable fuel, among other sugar products.

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