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Gearboxes, bearings improve quarry uptime

Nov. 26, 2008
At the Corcoran Concrete quarry located in County Mayo, Westport, Ireland, bearings and gearboxes were failing at regular intervals, severely impacting profits and throughput.

The business of running a concrete quarry is labor and energy intensive. Man and machinery must work together to keep rough-and-tumble processes running smoothly. Nowhere is this a bigger issue than on the conveyor systems used in and around quarries. To illustrate, at the Corcoran Concrete quarry located in County Mayo, Westport, Ireland, bearings and gearboxes were failing at regular intervals, severely impacting profits and throughput. Then a switch was made to Dodge gearboxes and bearings from Baldor Electric Co., Fort Smith, Ark., solving the troubling issue of frequent downtime.

In fact, conveyor uptime has increased dramatically since the recent switch. The decision to install the alternative components was made following trials on conveyors in the quarry’s sand production area. Here, bearings were failing as often as three times a year, and gearboxes typically lasted just 12 months. In some cases, a bearing failure also meant changing out the gearbox, as it had to be removed by force and sustained damage in the process. In these situations, material costs were dwarfed by the expense of a day's downtime necessitated by the repair.

Corcoran Concrete discussed the problem with local power transmission distributor, Central Bearing Supplies, who suggested replacing the Plummer block bearings that came with the original conveyor equipment with Dodge ISN components. The ISN bearing's combined triple-lip and flinger sealing system is highly effective against contaminants such as sand and stone dust. A further advantage is that it is a shaft-ready bearing with an adapter mounting system, allowing installation in as little as 15 minutes.

As bearing failures occurred in the sand production and washing plant, Corcoran Concrete replaced them with ISN types as well, and saw reliability increase three-fold. When a gearbox failed, Central Bearing Supplies suggested a Dodge Torque-Arm II shaft-mounted speed reducer, primarily because of its tapered bushing system, which makes disassembly and reassembly a snap. Reliability improved here as well. Another benefit for Corcoran Concrete is the speed reducer's two-stage helical gearing, with 96% efficiency. For the sake of simplicity and easy maintenance, only two sizes of Dodge gearboxes and two sizes of ISN bearings are used throughout the quarry’s 17-section conveyor system.

For more information, visit Baldor Electric Co.

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