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Field Reports: On a Roll

May 1, 2004
A disc coupling that can accommodate misalignment solves a paper plant's frequent equipment failures

Background: Smooth white rolls of paper stream out of a U.S. paper plant at a rate of nearly 700,000 tons per year. Another 100,000 tons of bleached market pulp for fine white paper is also produced, destined for conversion into envelopes, computer paper, and business forms.

Problem: Inefficiency was plaguing plant machinery, as engineers were experiencing frequent, expensive failures in the dryer section of the paper line. Initially, the company used a gear coupling, but then replaced it with a disc coupling that failed after only ninety days of operation. Papermaking machinery comprises two main areas, a wet area and a drying end. There can be anywhere from 100 to 125 processing pumps supporting one paper machine, as well as conveyors and power systems, all requiring some type of coupling for smooth operation. The problematic disc coupling required a full eight-hour shift for repairs each time it failed. Not to mention, like many paper mills, this one didn’t have the personnel to maintain the couplings and lubrication services, so management had to contract with an outside company to perform routine lubrication.

One replacement option, a lubricated gear coupling, still necessitated machine shutdown for routine maintenance, and the sheer weight of the coupling increased its chances of premature breakdown and wear.

Solution: A Jaure disc coupling from Lovejoy Inc., Downers Grove, Ill., ultimately solved the problem. The disc coupling the plant was using wasn’t rated for the amount of misalignment needed for the application, which caused the equipment failures. In addition, the coupling was difficult and time-consuming to install and maintain.

Besides handling misalignment, the Jaure coupling has no moving parts to wear out, meaning there’s no need for lubrication, which saves money and time. In the proper situation, where parts are well aligned, the anticipated lifespan for the coupling is 10 to 12 years.

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