A major South African clay brick manufacturing company has plants that manufacture high volumes of products on a daily basis, many of which are produced through high-heat and high-intensity processes. To help manage the high temperature demands at one of its facilities, where the plant was experiencing fan breakdowns every three to four weeks at a replacement and downtime cost of R80 000 each time, Lubrication Engineers (LE) South Africa replaced the fan bearings’ lubrication with one of its Monocal® GP Grease products. The fan units were then able to run for over a year with no breakdowns.
The Monocal® GP Grease 1499 (NLGI 2) product that was used to solve the brick manufacturer’s lubrication challenges is a versatile grease with calcium sulfonate complex thickener, which protects equipment from heat, moisture and heavy loads.
“With the Monocal 1499, they don’t have any more downtime when it comes to fan bearing failures. They don’t have the cost of replacing the fan parts or the labour to install the parts. They’ve also had an electrical saving because there’s less vibration and the motors run more easily,” says Gary Wentzel, Senior Technical Consultant at LE.
The client then sought help from LE on how to manage the breakdowns for its new plant it was setting up. Wentzel and the LE team began by obtaining the original manufacturers specifications, then matched the Lubrication Engineers products to the specification on a “first fill” basis. The new plant has been operational for over two years, without any major breakdowns.
The nature of brick making means that all of the manufacturer’s equipment has to work hard and run in high intensity conditions. LE also worked with its client to improve the performance of the gearboxes at its plants.
The gearbox oil that was in use was contributing to continual equipment failures, and the maintenance team had to replace the oil often. LE was doing monthly oil sampling in the gearboxes and realised that they could be performing significantly better. The brick manufacturer switched to an LE product, Duolec® Industrial Gear Lubricant, and in the next month’s oil sample found that there was no more debris in the oil and gearbox.
The Duolec® Industrial Gear Oil separates easily from water, so any water in the system doesn’t get integrated with the oil. If any moisture gets into the gearbox, the oil can be drained and reused. “The biggest saving with the gearboxes though was on electricity, where savings of up to 20% on energy usage have been shown,” adds Wentzel.
LE also introduced some of its after-market reliability solutions, such as oil level monitors, sight glasses and breathers to help with the monitoring and maintenance at the plant. When maintenance teams have visibility of the oil levels and any possible contaminants, they can act quickly to prevent any critical failures.