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SKF linear motion technology is helping Mirage Machines to enhance the performance and reliability of its flange-facing tools.

The company’s flange-facing systems allow industrial pipelines to be reconditioned while in use, minimising the cost of maintenance for end-users.

SKF ball screws and linear guides provide both the levels of precision required and vibration damping, allowing flanges to be repaired safely and efficiently.

Mirage Machines specialise in portable on-site machine tool design and manufacture, and pride themselves on providing customers with equipment that offers dependable performance and long life.

These systems deliver superior surface finishes and flatness tolerances, helping end-users improve the reliability and service life of their pipelines.

Richard Silk, managing director of Mirage Machines, explained how the linear motion technology used is essential to the performance of Mirage products: ‘Over time, the flanges on pipelines, such as those used in the oil and gas and petrochemical sectors, corrode and leak.

‘To fix the problem, the flanges need machining.

‘Our products allow the flanges to be split, re-machined and re-bolted in situ, saving companies the time and money needed to close pipelines for maintenance.

‘For our flange facing tools to do this job effectively, they need to be positioned accurately on the flange and held tightly in place, withstanding considerable resistance and vibration.

‘Linear motion technology helps us achieve this.

‘Prior to the SKF components that we now incorporate in our products, we were using a competitor’s technology.

‘This wasn’t really up to the job as it offered no vibration damping.

‘The result was an unacceptable level of vibration and wear in our equipment, limiting performance and causing premature wear.’

SKF analysed the problems that Mirage Machines were having and suggested the company use its latest generation of ball screws and linear guides, capable of the high levels of precision and repeatability required while also offering vibration damping.

This would both increase the performance and extend the life of the machine tools effectively.

SKF ball screws are designed to convert rotary action into linear motion, providing a highly reliable driving force for the Mirage flange facing tools.

The components combine rigidity, precision and speed, ensuring the on-site machine tools can be used quickly, efficiently and safely by end-users.

The ball screws are complemented by the latest SKF precision rail guides, which incorporate bearing technology to allow the machine tools to operate smoothly and accurately.

The guide carriages used are made of tempered bearing steel for strength, with the machine parts directly mounted onto them to minimise vibration levels.

Richard Silk believes this SKF technology has made a noticeable difference to the performance of the Mirage flange facing tools: ‘We tested a number of linear motion systems and the SKF solution stood out immediately.

‘Since implementing the technology, we have been able to achieve the superior results that we wanted, with our machine tools now more precise, reliable and durable than ever,’ he concluded.

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