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Split Roller Bearings Contract to Reduce Down time, Increase Savings

Time:30 Nov,2007
Split Roller Bearings Contract to Reduce Down time, Increase Savings South African split bearings specialist supplier OE Bearings has won a contract to supply steel producer Highveld Steel & Vanadium’s steel plants with UK bearings manufacturer Revolvo’s split roller bearings (SRBs). The two-year contract is valued at more than R1-million. “The Highveld Steel contract was awarded in July, and we have already supplied some SRBs to the plant,” says OE Bearings director Warwick Steinhobel. Steinhobel tells Engineering News that split bearings offer many advantages and can reduce operational down time significantly. “Split bearings can be installed in as little as an hour, resulting in large savings in down time,” he says. Down time in operations can run from R10 000 an hour, up to about R1-million an hour. “If down time can be reduced to only an hour, as opposed to the traditional time of up to five hours or longer, one can see the value of savings when installing split roller bearings,” states Steinhobel. Also, the simplicity of fitting split roller bearings compared with a spherical roller bearings, which require a skilled artisan, is also one of the main factors in its longevity. “Split bearings have a longer lifespan in high-heat applications, because they cannot be cross-located,” says Steinhobel. He notes, too, that Revolvo has made substantial improvements in the manufacture of SRBs such as the inclusion of SKF logarithmic profiled rollers, as well as using brass in the bearing cage. “Brass is acknowledged as the best material for a cage because it is able to handle vibrations and shock loads,” explains Steinhobel. In addition, the bearings offer superior sealing arrangements, which result in longer bearing life. Unlike standard plummer block bearings, real maintenance can be done as the bearing can be completely disassembled and inspected.Other features of the Revolvo SRBs include grade 250 cast iron, which is the strongest of all split bearing cast iron. Meanwhile, Steinhobel says that cheap imports from the East is the main challenge facing the company, and the industry, in general. He says that cheap split bearings fail prematurely, which leads to a bad reputation for split bearings, in general. “In relation to ordinary spherical roller bearings or solid bearings, SRBs are almost 2,5 times more expensive. However, this can be justified based on their technical abilities and the reduced down time that they offer, and a longer bearing life,” says OE Bearings technical consultant Leon van den Berg.Steinhobel says that one of the challenges facing the company is trying to get potential customers to see the savings in down time that these bearings can offer. In spite of this challenge, Stein-hobel is confident that the company will continue to grow and says that it hopes to list on the JSE within the next five years. “There is a potentially huge market for solid bearings to be converted to split bearings, and it is our focus to capitalise on that market,” enthuses Steinhobel. He says he is so confident of SRBs that he will guarantee their success. “Provided certain conditions are met, OE Bearings will do an investigation based on our technical ability, assess the situation, install the bearings, and subsequently guarantee them.” The company is the sole supplier of Revolvo SRBs in sub-Saharan Africa and supplies bearings to companies in Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Steinhobel adds that the SD and SN range of SRBs were developed in South Africa. “South African companies manufacture all the cast iron for the range under the auspices of OE Bearings, which is exported to England. The last shipment went to countries including Norway, Poland, China, and Australia,” he says. Steinhobel says that there are plans to expand the business and introduce learnerships in an effort to share the knowledge and experience in the company. “The main focus of OE Bearings is to grow the split bearings market from the replacement of solid bearings,” he concludes.

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