Tag Archives: bearings

Brammer Buck & Hickman on achieving the three ‘Rs’ in bearings

At a time when the world is looking to limit its energy usage and impact on the climate, pressure is mounting on the mining industry, worldwide, to play its part in the transition to a net zero economy, Alan Stewart* writes.

The products and services we produce need to be sustainable; they need to be produced through economically-sound processes that minimise negative environmental impacts while conserving energy and natural resources.

Individual bearings use relatively little energy, but as they are in such widespread use, and are also one of the most frequently replaced machinery components, the sustainability of the bearings you use matters. By applying the three Rs waste hierarchy – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – to bearings, we can make a genuine difference.


Is it possible to reduce the number of bearings used? Well, you can’t simply not use a bearing where one is required, but, by extending their life, you can reduce the total number of bearings used during that machine’s lifespan.

To ensure longevity, select the right bearing for the task at hand. There’s an incredibly wide range to choose from, many of which have been created for use in mines and other similarly demanding environments. SKF Explorer Spherical Roller Bearings, for example (pictured), are ideally suited for operation in harsh conditions, including mining. They help cut costs and extend bearing service life thanks to their high radial and axial load-carrying capacity and low operating friction. They have recently been upgraded to feature even higher quality steel and an improved heat treatment, for an even better service life performance. A specialist version for vibratory applications, such as vibrating screens, is available, which is proven to last twice as long as other screen bearings and also operate at lower temperatures.

It’s important to do your homework or ask for advice on the bearing best suited to your specific needs.

Not only should the bearing be the right type, but it should also be of a good quality. Opting for a low cost, unrecognisable brand not only risks premature failure and costly downtime, but it may also lose performance over time, which almost always results in wasted energy as most systems keep drawing power despite the drop or lack of output. Every second of wasted production equates to wasted energy and impacts on a days’ production targets.

Ensuring the product is correctly fitted also has a part to play. Misalignment can lead to friction and vibration which can significantly increase energy consumption, plus the risk of premature failures. Alignment tools are readily available which allow you to increase machine reliability through easy to use and accurate alignment. Other options include selecting products that don’t require realignment, such as SKF Cooper Split Spherical Roller Bearings that do not require the drive coupling or the cantilevered drive to be dismounted to replace the bearing; these bearing types are easily and safely replaced in-situ. This also greatly reduces the safety risk to workers in mines and makes for faster maintenance, reducing mean time to repair by two thirds.

Reduce the amount of lubrication you use by using sealed, re-lubrication-free bearings such as SKF’s Three-Barrier Solution. In mining environments, open bearings quickly become damaged from ingress of dirt. SKF’s Three-Barrier Solution (ideally suited to conveyor systems) consists of a bearing housing – with labyrinth S seals, a lubricant to act as a contamination barrier and sealed spherical roller bearing. These three barriers protect the bearing from contaminants, leading to extended bearing service life which is, on average, three times longer than standard open bearings.

Sealed bearing units also help to reduce lubrication usage. Alternatively, automated lubrication systems can be installed to ensure the correct amount of lubrication is applied, reducing wastage.


When it comes to reuse, you may be surprised to hear that bearings can be remanufactured, which can significantly prolong bearing service life, as well as reduce cost and lead times. A large variety of bearing types can be remanufactured, including backing bearings, caster bearings, large sized bearings, slewing bearings and housings. Bearing remanufacturing can significantly reduce carbon emissions, consuming around 10% of the energy of making a new one. By extending bearing service, remanufacturing avoids the scrapping of components and wasteful use of natural resources.

In addition to bearings remanufacture, lubricants can also be reused in some cases. SKF’s RecondOil, for example, removes contaminants from used oils, and returns them to a cleaner, usable and high-grade state. Compared to a traditional, linear use, regenerating the oils allows for a significant decrease of CO2 emissions.


While the amount of steel per bearing is on the decline due to better bearing design and more efficient manufacturing methods, that steel still has a value as scrap. Not all bearings are easy to recycle though and normally only parts of them can be recycled. Check with the manufacturer.

Beyond the product

The three Rs are a good starting point to help improve the sustainability of your bearings’ usage, but you can’t apply sustainability to the product in isolation. It’s important to take into account every aspect surrounding that product, including the manufacturer and its suppliers and distributors. Sustainability should encompass the use of raw materials; the manufacturer’s factory processes and utilisation of those materials; the amount and type of energy used to make the bearings; distribution and transportation. Does the manufacturer deploy the IS0 14001 Environmental Management System and the ISO 50001 Energy Management System across all of its sites, for example?

Reducing wastage when it comes to bearings is not only good for the planet, but makes good business sense. A bearing that performs well over a long period of time is a bearing that won’t slow your machinery down and won’t lead to expensive unplanned maintenance and downtime. Applying the three Rs to bearings is a good investment in the future, whichever way you look at it.

*Alan Stewart is Brammer Buck & Hickman Bearing Product Manager – SKF Products

SKF addresses service life of large sealed bearings for HPGRs with Explorer SRBs

SKF says it has extended its range of large bearings for roller presses, with a sealed version that prolongs service life in equipment such as high pressure grinding rolls (HPGRs).

Its Explorer spherical roller bearings (SRBs) in the 241 series are now available up to 1,250 mm bore, with this series and sizes commonly used in HPGRs in cement and mining operations.

“Using sealed bearings is the best way to increase mean time between failures,” Daniel Ortega, Product Line Manager for Sealed SRBs at SKF (pictured), says. “It is a long-term investment that increases machine availability and reliability.”

The new version – which is sealed on both sides – offers up to double the lifetime of an open bearing and has shown in tests that it reduces grease consumption by up to 99%, SKF says.

In a HPGR, four large spherical roller bearings are usually used. During a maintenance interval of three months, normally 540 kg of grease is used for certain sizes. With sealed Explorer spherical roller bearings, only 7 kg of grease is needed during the same interval, according to the company, reducing both cost and environmental impact.

In addition, the sealed SRB can be remanufactured twice, which further extends service life. This raises productivity and machine availability while lowering total cost of ownership.

The new bearing has been redesigned to have a higher load-carrying capacity. Bearings with a bore diameter below 1,000 mm have an HNBR seal that is retained by a snap ring. Larger bearings use a G-ECOPUR seal that is bolted to the bearing’s outer ring.

The sealed bearing can be used on its own, or as part of an SKF three-barrier solution.

Roller press bearings often wear out because ineffective sealing leads to lubricant contamination. The sealed bearings overcome this problem – and this delivers several advantages, SKF says:

  • First, bearing failure relates to more maintenance interventions, which carries a higher risk of accident and injury and expensive shutdowns;
  • The new design also offers a maintenance benefit. Rather than stopping production for preventive maintenance of the bearing, the wear of the roller press roller determines when a service is needed; and
  • The bearings are available with short delivery times – even in the largest sizes.

SKF and CPS strengthen conveyor roller collaboration

Conveyor Products and Solutions’ (CPS) conveyor roller and idler sets have achieved “SKF Equipped” status, providing clients with assurance of industry-leading premium quality conveyor products and technology, CPS says.

The trademark licence agreement with SKF builds on the supply partnership between the two companies, which has been in place since 2013.

“CPS clients can be assured that CPS conveyor roller and idler sets are of the highest quality and have passed SKF’s strict quality standards on the overall performance and reliability of each rotating equipment component,” CPS said.

Under the terms of this agreement, SKF will be supplying the bearings and bearing components, to be included as an integrated part in CPS Conveyor Rollers. The SKF Equipped status then provides CPS the right to label its conveyor roller and idler sets as “SKF Equipped” and use it in promotional materials, the company said.

“CPS has always had a long-standing relationship with SKF, and this agreement cements our partnership and common goal of leading the industry in conveyor roller technology and quality,” Michael Einhorn, CPS CEO said.

Hercules Engineering introduces new H-Glide structural bearings

Custom-fabricated structural bearings are being introduced by Hercules Engineering for extremely high stress applications in resources projects requiring outstanding load-bearing performance, even in compact or wet spaces in the likes of mineral processing applications.

The latest Herculon™ structural bearings are manufactured by integrating H-Glide fibre-reinforced composite pads sliding on 2B finish stainless steel to achieve an exceptionally low sliding coefficient of friction compared with other engineering bearing materials, even under water, Hercules Engineering says.

Unlike metal bearings that may rust or require continual lubrication and maintenance, H-Glide bearing pads are dry sliding and will not release contaminants into surrounding environments or adjacent processes, according to the company.

David Booty, Manager of Hercules Engineering (a division of Cut To Size Plastics Pty Ltd), said: “H-Glide’s excellent sliding properties (including friction coefficients from 0.05-0.1) are invaluable to infrastructure developers, engineers, architects and specifiers because lower coefficients of friction will transfer less stress onto the load-bearing structural components when the bearing does its job of protecting them against surrounding movement.”

Booty added: “With their incompressible H-Glide sliding layer, these bearings can withstand extreme point pressures of 350-500 MPa, depending on bearing design and application.

“This outstanding performance – which is up to 40 times greater than conventional water-resistant and non-lubricated fibre-reinforced elastomeric bearing pads – is complemented by the material’s ability to function well in a variety of environments including, but not limited to, damp or under water applications.”

The company’s standard ranges of Herculon structural bearings and Hercuslip™ composite slip joints are, according to Hercules Engineering, widely proven product designs that have performed over decades since 1972 in industrial and resources projects.

The H-Glide bearing pad is available in different formulations, including conductive materials. It is equally suitable for a wide variety of high-load structures requiring extreme load-bearing capability combined with non ‘stick-slip’ behaviour, where static and kinetic coefficient of sliding friction are virtually equal.

“By using new generation composite formulations, H-Glide bearings allow the highest loads, with ultra-low wear rates and friction values,” Booty said. “The material is resistant to a majority of common industrial chemicals and environments, whether it is immersed in water or used in dry applications, or anywhere in between, from freezing to tropical conditions.”

SKF and NLS collaborating in Namibia mining market

SKF has appointed a new authorised distributor in Namibia as it looks to grow its network to deliver “innovative bearing and rotation technology solutions to customers across the sub-continent”, Christian Murman, SKF South Africa’s Business Development Manager – Neighbouring Countries, says.

Namibian Lubrication Systems (NLS), which specialises in the supply of lubrication equipment and systems to the industrial and mining sectors across the entire Erongo, Khomas, Karas and Otjozondjupa regions of Namibia, has been an SKF authorised distributor since September 2019.

The company was established by André Bezuidenhout in Oranjemund in 2000 and, in the same year, it was appointed as the sole distributor for Lincoln Lubrication South Africa, part of the SKF global group. NLS also holds the title as the only company in Namibia qualified to service and repair all Lincoln Lubrication equipment.

Murman explains how SKF and NLS have been collaborating since being the Namibia-based company came on board as an authorised distributor: “While calling on customers together with our new authorised distributor, we received an enquiry from a gold mine for a replacement bearing for their stock for an upcoming project in Q1 (March quarter) 2020.”

The gold mine shared a long history with NLS and Lincoln products giving the company an in-depth knowledge of the operation, SKF said.

“But, as a newly appointed SKF authorised dealer, NLS was still on a learning curve regarding SKF products and thus decided to call upon the expertise of SKF’s Engineering Department. Cody Petersen, Junior Project Engineer at SKF, was considered as the best person to assist in making this project a bonafide success.”

After putting heads together, the SKF 4176 ECAK30/C3W33 replacement bearing was recommended. NLS submitted a quote and, after a follow-up call, the mine placed the order in November.

This successful project and collaboration between the companies affirms SKF’s decision to appoint NLS as an authorised distributor, SKF said.

“The company has an excellent footprint within the country, boasts a stellar reputation for on-site service and has technicians on contract at most of the mines in Namibia who look after Lincoln products,” Murman said.

Now, as a SKF authorised distributor, NLS is responsible for delivering the comprehensive SKF product and service portfolio in Namibia focusing on a condition monitoring service delivered by the company’s technicians who have been specifically trained in this field.

“NLS’ ultimate goal is to have multi-skilled technicians that are able to offer customers a complete maintenance package, thereby securing all the Lincoln Lubrication and SKF product offerings,” SKF said.

Murman concluded: “The success of this project solidifies our position as a powerhouse duo in the Namibian mining space. Furthermore, this agreement enables us to leverage off our Lincoln Distributor’s excellent reputation in the local market.

“When customers can see the real value that our authorised dealers add to their mine, plant or operation and realise that they are able to rely on their expertise, it becomes a win-win scenario.”

SKF to help customers transition to condition-based monitoring practices

SKF, a global supplier of bearings, seals, mechatronics and lubrication systems, has released a new digital vibration monitoring solution that, it says, allows industrial businesses to adopt smart condition-based maintenance practices.

SKF Enlight ProCollect is a new portable solution for customers after a condition-based maintenance procedure, or those seeking to extend their machine monitoring programs to a wider range of assets, it said.

The solution incorporates an updated version of SKF’s QuickCollect hand-held sensor, together with the new mobile app, SKF ProCollect. Running on a standard iOS or Android device, ProCollect has been designed to simplify the collection, interpretation and communication of both operational and machine condition data, according to SKF. Furthermore, the new software links to SKF Enlight Centre – SKF’s advanced, web-based monitoring platform.

“Enlight ProCollect is easy for non-specialists to use, allowing frontline operators and maintenance personnel to incorporate vibration monitoring tasks into their everyday activities,” SKF said.

“For example, pre-programmed inspection routes can be downloaded from Enlight Centre to a ProCollect device, which will then guide the operator through the steps necessary to collect data. That data is then transferred automatically to the Enlight Centre platform, where it can be analysed and visualised.”

Enlight ProCollect comes equipped with pre-programmed alarms to help operators and maintenance staff to diagnose and fix common problems. The visualisation capabilities of the Enlight Centre platform, meanwhile, allow companies to generate dashboards that provide an overview of plant performance.

Maintenance teams can use the platform’s suite of advanced tools to spot trends, diagnose problems and conduct root-cause analyses, according to SKF. Users also have the option of a connection to SKF Remote Diagnostic Services, giving them access to the company’s global network of reliability experts.

Enlight ProCollect customers can opt to buy the solution outright or choose a subscription approach that provides all the hardware, software and support services they need for a fixed monthly fee, according to SKF.

Barrie Rodgers Product Line Manager, Mobile Solutions at SKF, said: “Our subscription model allows companies to shift the cost of maintenance program improvements from capex to opex. They can easily extend their agreement to include other equipment and services – such as bearings or lubrication.”

Timken bolsters automatic lubrication offering with BEKA buy

The Timken Company says it has reached an agreement to acquire BEKA Lubrication for around $165 million, expanding its market share in the automatic lubrication market which it entered in 2013 with the purchase of Interlube.

Timken is already a leader in engineered bearings and power transmission products. BEKA, meanwhile, is a global supplier of automatic lubrication systems and serves a range of industrial sectors including wind, food and beverage, rail, on- and off-highway and other process industries.

Just one of the products BEKA produces for the mining industry is the BEKA-MAX automatic lubrication system, which services vehicles such as dump trucks, draglines, excavators, LHDs , shovels and rock drills.

Richard G Kyle, Timken President and CEO, said the acquisition of BEKA expanded the company’s global leadership in the attractive automatic lubrication systems market sector, in addition to increasing Timken’s geographic scale and market coverage in Europe and Asia. It also created new opportunities to serve wind and other industrial end markets more fully, he added.

“BEKA is a premier brand and technical leader, and like our Groeneveld business (which it acquired in 2017), offers automatic and central lubrication systems that reduce operating costs and extend equipment life,” Kyle said.

“We expect to realise significant synergies, margin expansion and revenue growth opportunities through the combined Groeneveld-BEKA business.”

BEKA, family owned and operated since its founding in 1927, is headquartered in Pegnitz, Germany. Its sales are expected to be around $135 million for the full year 2019. The company employs around 900 people, with manufacturing, research and development based in Germany, and assembly facilities and sales offices around the world.

With the acquisition of BEKA, Timken says it will become the world’s second largest producer of industrial automatic lubrication systems, according to industry estimates. Automatic systems have gradually displaced manual lubrication methods to improve equipment life and reliability, while reducing the total cost of ownership.

The company concluded: “The transaction advances the company’s strategy, which is focused on growing its leadership position in engineered bearings while diversifying Timken’s portfolio into adjacent products and markets.”

The privately negotiated transaction is subject to regulatory review approval in Germany and is expected to close during the December quarter of this year.

PROK Conveyor Components and SKF sign ‘Australia first’ bearing agreement

PROK Conveyor Components has announced a strategic partnership with SKF and the introduction of the “SKF Equipped program”.

PROK claims the agreement is an Australia first, being the only time in the country an original equipment manufacturer has integrated SKF bearings into its products.

The company said: “Through working with SKF and combining market leading bearing technology and testing of the new composite range of PROK rollers, the PROKOMPOSITE, customers can be certain that they are buying the best product in the market.”

PROK says the PROKOMPOSITE rollers generate more than 50% less noise than traditional steel rollers, are up to 55% lighter than traditional steel rollers and cost up to 20% less to own due to easier maintenance and lower energy demands.

The PROKOMPOSITE range of conveyor rollers will come standard with SKF Ball Bearings and PROK bearing housing technology verified and tested by SKF, according to PROK. This combination will provide customers with unmatched performance and sealing protection, thus increasing the life of the rollers and reducing the overall total cost of ownership, the company claimed.

PROK said: “After extensive testing it was clear that SKF Bearings were a great fit for PROK’s range of PROKOMPOSITE rollers. Being an ISO 9001 certified company, PROK was able to achieve SKF Equipped status by meeting high quality standards on the design, manufacture and assembly procedures of rotating equipment set out by SKF. This is an exciting venture for both companies.”

ABB tightens bulk handling roller bearing offering with Dodge Safety Mount

ABB says the built-in patented locking mechanism on its newly launched Dodge® Safety Mount spherical roller bearings reduces installation time by up to 75% compared with traditional products.

Best suited for bulk material and air handling applications, the new bearing mounts by tightening fasteners instead of using a hammer and other tools. The new system also allows for simple installation and removal from the same side of the bearing, which means only one person is needed for the task, according to ABB.

“The new mounting system replaces the blows of a hammer with the tightening of fasteners,” Jim Madsen, Dodge Mounted Roller Bearing Product Manager, ABB, said. “It also makes it faster to install large bearings, but more importantly, it makes is safer for the installer.”

Safety Mount bearings feature a triple-lip contact seal and corrosion-resistant flinger sealing system, which prevents contamination from entering the product during installation and operation, ABB says. A labyrinth seal option is available for high-speed and high-temperature applications.

Dodge Safety Mount spherical roller bearings come ready for installation of the ABB AbilityTM Smart Sensor for mounted bearings, a wireless sensor that monitors the health of bearings.

The company said: “Safety Mount spherical roller bearings combine the advantages of the Dodge Imperial family of bearings; factory sealed and greased, shaft ready out of the box, with no feeler gauges required.” They are offered in split cap and single piece housing options in standard SAF, metric SN, Type E, and Imperial housing dimensions in sizes 4-15/16” to 7” (115-170 mm).