16 Dec Bearing the load for mobile recycling equipment
While wheel loaders and excavators are traditionally associated with mining and civil construction industries, such mobile equipment is a central component of any high capacity recycling plant.
Given the often harsh and variable conditions of recycling facilities, equipment in the resource recovery space has a unique set of application requirements.
A wheel loader sorting irregular, heavy and abrasive waste at a demolition and building materials recycling facility requires a sturdy external structure and durable drivetrain While an excavator handling damp material in the humid confines of a dusty composting facility needs to be capable of withstanding the effects of high temperature and contaminant laden environments.
Ross Lee, CBC Technical Manager Strategic Partnerships – Bearings, says that in addition to placing strain on external structure, recycling facility conditions can stress the internal function of mobile equipment. He adds that this include engines, hydraulic pumps and motors, transmissions, and the bearings associated with these modules.
To counteract harsh conditions and associated maintenance costs, Ross says operators can invest in direct equivalent specification bearings. He adds that sustainable and proactive maintenance is critical to ensuring the viability of resource recovery operations.
“High quality bearings are necessary in all recycling facility sectors. At a metal recycling facility for instance, operators are likely to run material handling equipment equipped with grabs or magnets that pick-up steel and dump it into shredders,” Ross says.
“Like the shredder, the key equipment feeding it requires anti-friction bearings to perform to their design capabilities, and beyond in some cases.”
When dealing with mobile equipment, Ross says facility operators have two options.
“Operators can either lease or purchase the machines and rely on the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to provide the preventative maintenance servicing and parts.” he explains.
“Or, if equipment is purchased outright, beyond warranty period they may elect to manage their own maintenance and spare parts process.”
In the latter case, Ross says operators can engage organisations such as CBC for bearing supply. He adds that once engaged, CBC works via a three-step process: identification, cataloguing and agreed delivery.
Moreover, Ross says that equipment is often assembled with non-standard bearings to satisfy the demands of application and reliability that differ from standard execution catalogue ball or roller bearings.
“We won’t always have the required bearings sitting on a shelf, but given our large suite of offerings and significant manufacturing supplier relationships, it’s unlikely that we won’t be able to satisfy the client’s needs,” he says.
One supplier with which CBC has a long-term strategic partnership is NTN, a global bearing manufacturer from Japan that has been operating since 1918.
According to Ross, NTN is one of the world’s leading bearing manufacturers, with OEM customers that include Caterpillar, Komatsu, John Deere, Hitachi and Kawasaki.
For example, with excavators, NTN produce bearings for splitter gearboxes, hydraulic pumps, slewing transmissions, travel transmissions and tumblers.
For wheel loaders, NTN manufacture tapered roller bearings, deep groove ball bearings, cylindrical roller bearings and needle roller bearings.
Ross says NTN’s comprehensive product lines are engineered to serve any industry where lower friction coefficients and higher energy efficiency are required. Moreover, where operators determine a bearing is not achieving the required service interval before failure, NTN have developed unique bearing material technologies that can extend bearing fatigue life, avoiding the need to increase bearing envelope size and related machine modifications.
He adds that when dealing with high-value equipment such as wheel loaders and excavators, operators can’t take risks that compromise their componentry.
“We have significant application and catalogue knowledge and are able to positively identify where a particular bearing specification applies,” he says.
“Working together, NTN and CBC are fully equipped to provide value added bearing solutions to suit the often harsh conditions of recycling plants and waste transfer stations.”