Dealing with a breakdown in any production process can cost precious time and money. But when the failure is due to a bearing which is difficult to access, and the production line is processing a seasonal vegetable, time becomes even more critical. For D’Arta, a food processing company based near Roeselare in Belgium, the latest stoppage persuaded the maintenance manager to call Revolvo in to investigate the cause and offer a solution.

For a company involved in the processing of seasonal vegetables, a breakdown due to bearing failure can lead to significant losses in production. This is especially true when there is restricted access to the bearings. D’Arta’s investigation into the most recent failure on its spinach slicing machine found that over-greasing and water contamination of the existing plummer block bearing assemblies were to blame.

The slicing machine has a driven shaft which is supported by one fixed and one floating bearing at either end, each of which are housed in conventional plummer block housings. In the event of a bearing failure, the time taken to remove and replace the bearings was considerable. This situation required not only a more reliable bearing but also a much quicker method of inspecting and replacing the bearings and seals.

The meeting with Revolvo, which is known for its SRB split roller bearing designs, led to a demonstration of the latest Split Plummer Block Bearing, which incorporates the benefits of the SRB design into applications using conventional plummer block bearings. It was clear that the design would drastically reduce the time to change a bearing, but it also allowed for greater heat expansion and a higher degree of axial movement.

The solution, suggested by Revolvo, saw the installation of four complete bearing assemblies, suitable for the 100mm shaft diameter of the slicing machine, complete with a Walker sprung garter-seal arrangement to prevent the ingress of water. As part of the project, Revolvo also carried out on-site training for the maintenance engineers to demonstrate the ease of assembly and maintenance, as well as assisting with the installation of the bearings and realignment of the motor and gearbox.

The compact SRB split plummer block bearings are fully interchangeable with standard SNL/SN/SD/SAF series plummer blocks, making them suitable for a larger range of applications. The design greatly reduces the time required to replace a bearing, which traditionally can involve significant disassembly of a machine to allow the removal of a standard plummer block with a solid bearing.

In addition, the ability to easily remove the upper section of the bearing makes for rapid visual inspection, which saves time and reduces the risk of unplanned downtime. Combined with the ability to compensate for a significant degree of shaft misalignment, which helps to promote a long service life, the SRB bearing design can significantly reduce maintenance time and help improve the overall reliability of the application.

The performance of the new SRB bearings at D’Arta resulted in evidence of a payback period of less than 8 months, along with improved reliability, which ensured that additional units would be installed in other areas of the production facility. Six captive drives on a conveyor section were replaced along with a further three processing lines, which were still in the planning stage, were also specified with Revolvo SRB bearings.