The recent coronavirus pandemic has once again brought to light the need for a resilient waste management sector that can facilitate the move towards a circular economy.
One question that operators and maintenance personnel in recycling plants often have to deal with is ‘how do you know which lubricant is the best fit for a given application?’
The answer is not always simple. While each piece of machinery usually comes with a maintenance manual containing a qualified product list, Christopher Bright, National Account Manager at Gulf Western Oil says this solution may not always be suitable to determine the optimum lubrication for a given gear set.
Gulf Western Oil (GWO) has been supplying lubricant solutions to recycling plants for over 30 years, and as such offer a comprehensive range of industrial gear oils; covering a wide range of viscosity, base oil and chemistry types from cost effective, high load Sulphur/phosphorus mineral oil based lubricants through to semi and fully synthetic base gear oils.
“It is quite understandable for operators to get confused when it comes to choosing the right lubricant,” says Bright. “In GWO’s portfolio, there are nine viscosity grades of mineral industrial gear oils alone. In addition, there are also a range of synthetic base oils, each with different viscosity grades.”
It is to avoid such confusions that GWO and its national distributor, CBC Australia, work closely with customers to offer their expertise, according to Bright.
“It is quite common to come across customers who purchase second-hand equipment and don’t know which lubricants are best suited to the gearbox. We then work with our partners at CBC to find the right oil for the application. This might require testing the oils at our in-house laboratory or consulting with the additive manufacturers to recommend the right viscosity grade,” he says.
Bright says in order to choose the best lubricant for a gear set, a fundamental understanding of the base oil type is important.
“Within each recycling plant, there might be certain machines that are crucial to the continuity of operations and that the owners don’t want to have offline too often. For these machines, we usually recommend synthetic base gear oils instead of mineral base alternatives to ensure longer oil-change intervals,” he notes.
“It is particularly important for recycling plants, which often operate 24/7, to be able to get a longer life from the gear oils they use. Synthetic oils are engineered in a way that makes them more stable across a wide temperature range allowing them to perform their primary function of reducing friction and wear for longer periods of time. This allows the customer to save on machine maintenance and down-time,” he explains.
Synthetic gear oils are also different depending on the type of synthetic bases they use, says Bright.
“For example, Poly Alpha Olefin or PAO based gear oils such as the GWO Syn-Gear range are compatible with mineral oil bases. This means you can pour a PAO based oil on top of a mineral base oil that’s already in the machine without facing any incompatibility issues.
“On the other hand, if you mix Poly Alkylene Glycol, or PAG base oils with other lubricants, including PAO synthetics, it can produce a sludge and, due to the incompatibility of the base oils, reduces the protection of the metal surfaces from wear as the additives are carried in the base oil.
To use PAG base oil, you need to first flush the existing mineral lubricant from the machine,” he explains.
Steve Keown, CBC’s National Product Manager for Lubricants says viscosity grade is an important parameter in selecting industrial gear oils.
“It’s important to understand that gear oils can affect the overall energy efficiency of the operations. A good synthetic gear oil, such as the GWO Syn-Gear oil, has a high viscosity index; which means it can improve energy efficiency and resist degradation at both high and low operational temperatures,” he explains.
The viscosity for a gear lubricant determines if the lubricant can provide the required film thickness between interacting surfaces at a given speed and load.
Being a PAO based oil, Keown says the GWO Syn-Gear oil is perfectly suited to industrial applications where there’s a considerable temperature variation. In recycling plants, conveyors, shredders and compactors are some equipment that can run more efficiently with the right choice of gearbox oil.
“GWO products are built to suit the operating conditions in Australia as they are manufactured in Australia, by an Australian-owned company,” says Keown.
“Over the years we have found that both CBC and Gulf Western Oil share a lot of the same values; which is to serve the Australian industries with our expert knowledge around lubricants. We are confident that whatever the customers’ requirements might be, together we can provide the right blend of products and expertise.”
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Ever since Melbourne-based construction and demolition material recycler, City Circle Group, were introduced by their CBC sales manager to the high-performance Gates belts a few years ago, there’s been no looking back for them, according to City Circle Group’s Recycling Operations Manager Josh Ralston.
Recycling construction material and waste generated from building demolitions is a highly challenging task. The process involves crushing heavy concrete blocks and large pieces of rock into crushed aggregates that can be re-used in pavement or road construction.
City Circle Group, is one of the leaders in this field in Victoria and has considerable capacity to process and supply a range of high quality recycled concrete, rock, brick rubble and timber products to the Victorian construction industry.
The company owns three facilities across Melbourne, each of which has the capacity to recycle as much as 1.5 million tonnes of waste material per year.
Ralston says the belts they were using prior to switching to Gates were not as durable as they needed them to be. With the heavy work load and the harsh work environment, the City Circle Group team were looking for belts that would require minimal maintenance and last a long time.
“We’ve worked with CBC for nearly five years and they’ve always been very helpful and quick to respond whenever we needed any equipment or spare parts. Through CBC, we were introduced to Gates belts and we’ve simply never stopped using them since,” says Ralston.
“We use the Gates Predator v-belts in our jaw crushers and cone crushers. They are the strongest belts out there and we are getting three to four times more life out of them as we could get with any other belts, the design, construction and materials used in this belt really do make a difference and will save you money and down time. We also use a range of standard Gates belts, including the Gates Hi-Power II wrapped v-belts on conveyor belts and other general applications,” he adds.
Building materials account for about half of all materials used and about half of the solid waste generated worldwide.
In Australia, about 20.4 million tons of waste was generated from construction and demolition in 2017, of which more than 7.3 million tons went into landfills.
But the push to increase recycling in the sector is growing, with the Federal and state governments each having policies in place to increase their recovery rates by 2021-2022.
A part of this increased demand for waste recycling will inevitably be borne by the existing plants, highlighting a need for the recycling plants to streamline their operations and add capacity where possible.
One of the ways by which existing operations could operate with better efficiencies is by switching to higher capacity drive systems, according to Steve Hittmann, National Product Manager of Mechanical Drives at CBC Australia.
“Gates belts are among the high-end v-belts in the market. For recycling applications such as in the crushing or mulching machine that works continuously under peak loads, we recommend using a high-end product such as the Gates Predator and Super HC v-belts,” he says.
“The Gates Super HC belts are ideal for transmitting high horsepower on high-speed applications where space is limited. Despite their small cross sections, they feature higher tensile strength than the conventional rubber belts,” he adds.
Iain Street, Business Development/ Technical Support Manager for Power Transmission at Gates, concurs.
“While the Gates Predator v-belts are the toughest belts in the range, the Gates Super HC belts are the next in class.
They can handle up to three times more force than the industry standard v-belts or carry the same power at one third or half the space, and with all sizes meeting the Gates V80 tolerances, can be installed without matching” he says.
“The Flex Weave wrapping on the Super HC belts adds additional protection against oil, dirt and heat – all of which may be present in a recycling environment,” he adds.
Street, who has been working in the power transmission sector for over 25 years, says poor installation and poor maintenance are the most common reasons that belts fail prematurely.
“If belts are not tensioned correctly during installation or if the pulleys are not aligned properly, it increases the risk of belt failure. Belt re-tensioning is another important maintenance practice that tends to get overlooked,” he explains.
All of Gates belts that carry the V80 logo match all other V80 belts of the same type and size. These include the Gates Hi-Power, Super HC and Tri-Power belts.
“When a number of belts work together in a group, a length difference of even a fraction of an inch can make or break the belt drive. If the belts are not matched correctly, this leads to uneven load distribution and sheave wear, which ends in premature failure of the belt. The Gates Super HC belts are V80 matched belts; which means that they meet the tolerances set out by the Rubber Manufacturers Association,” he explains.
Street says as part of the Gates engineering technical services, Gates’ field team members visit and survey any plant along with the relevant CBC team member to provide on-site solutions, ranging from drive performance evaluation, belt tensioning, laser alignment and more.
Additionally, the Gates engineering technical team also conducts preventive maintenance training upon request to train the maintenance crew on the most common causes of poor belt life.
The Design Flex Pro belt drive design software is another tool that helps the operators in designing the drive system and checking if the existing belts are sufficient to carry the incoming loads, according to Street.
“The software is relatively easy to use. By inputting only a few parameters, the program will recommend different configurations for the belt type, number and length. All you need to do then is select the solution that best suits your requirements,” he says.
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From the moment the wheel came into existence, people have been faced with the seemingly simple task of mounting their inventions to a shaft so that something useful could be accomplished.
Within an industrial scenario, such as in a recycling plant, components such as couplings, pulleys, sprockets and flywheels need to be effectively connected to a shaft in order to transfer the torque.
The choice of the right shaft connection technique could determine how well the forces are transferred and how efficiently and smoothly the operations run.
Some of the more traditional shaft connection methods, including keyed and splined connections, while quite widespread, have certain limitations, according to Donald Brierley, who is the manager of FPT Far East Pte Ltd – a subsidiary of Inenco Group.
“Using a keyed connection has some limitations. Because you have to do some machining and cut the shaft for the key to fit in, you are basically reducing the shaft’s cross section,” he explains.
This makes the shaft weaker and you need to make adjustments in the original design, which often leads to a bigger shaft cross section being used.”
“Similarly, splined connections need many notches to be machined on the shaft, which increases the manufacturing cost and time and also increases the risk of cracking around the notches,” he adds.
To avoid these limitations, Brierley recommends using keyless locking devices, such as the Trantorque keyless bushings manufactured by Fenner Drives, where speedy installation and compact designs are needed.
Keyless locking devices use locking screws and tapered rings to lock the components on to the shafts. There are a number of advantages in using a keyless mechanism, says Brierley.
“Keyless locking devices do not need any notches to be machined on to the shaft. This means you can use the full cross section of the shaft, which is more economical. Also, because you don’t need to machine a key, the processing time is reduced,” he explains.
Another advantage of using keyless locking bushings is the shorter installation time, he says.
“Using keyless bushings reduces the time needed for aligning the coupling or pulley during installation. Also, all of the screws on the Trantorque bushings can be tightened using a single spanner, which also makes the installation faster,” he says.
Lower vibration is another key consideration with a number of applications in recycling. Vibration in the shaft connection is often caused by imbalanced weight as a result of the keyed section.
But because keyless connections such as Trantorque have a uniform diameter, Brierley says vibrations are significantly reduced.
Fenner Drives’ Trantorque bushings can accommodate shaft sizes from 1/8 inch (3 millimetres) up to 3 inches (75 millimetres) and are available for both metric and imperial shaft sizes.
The locking devices are also available in the stainless-steel range or with anti-corrosion coatings, which makes them suitable for aggressive environments in recycling plants.
Steve Hittmann, who is the National Product Manager of Mechanical Drives at CBC Australia, says these advantages make Trantorque keyless bushings the connection device of choice for a number of original equipment manufacturers.
“One of our customers is a manufacturer of agricultural machinery that uses Trantorque bushings to connect hydraulic motors to driven shafts. The customer required an imperial shaft device of one-inch diameter and had a restricted envelope to work with. Because Trantorque locking devices are compact in design, they were a perfect fit,” says Steve.
“Moreover, using Trantorque enabled the hydraulic motors to be installed concentrically and with the convenience of a uniform mechanical fit,” he explains.
Apart from being the exclusive distributor of Trantorque bushings in Australia, Steve says the CBC technical team can also respond to any enquiry from the customers regarding the right design.
“When we get an enquiry from a customer, we often help them with the selection of the right locking device. When needed, we also work with Fenner Drives to assist with designing the technical specifications,” says Steve.
“This gives our customers the comfort to order what they need when they need it, knowing that we will support them every step of the way,” he concludes.
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While Australia’s recycling sector has grown considerably since the 1990s, there is increased pressure on operators to recycle waste more efficiently – particularly in the wake of the China National Sword import restriction and a media focus on Australia’s waste management facilities.
This is why it’s essential to keep the rotating equipment at Recycling Plants in good service, says industrial bearing expert, Tony Tormey.
“The NTN Ultage spherical roller bearings are a popular choice among clients in the recycling sector because they offer superior longevity – up to five times longer service life than other spherical roller bearings,” explains Tormey, who is CBC Australia’s Product Manager for Industrial Bearings.
“Nearly all of our customers in the recycling industry are using Ultage bearings in at least one application at their plant.”
Unlike its traditional spherical roller bearing predecessors, the NTN Ultage series comprises a completely new design. The main feature of this design is the increased roller diameter which makes the Ultage bearings suitable to all applications with high radial loads.
“The Ultage is the ultimate spherical roller bearing that NTN produce. This series provides an industry-leading performance with dynamic load ratings of up to 65 per cent more than NTN conventional spherical roller bearings, in addition to an increased service life of up to five times more than our traditional spherical roller bearings and at least one and a half times increased fatigue strength,” says NTN-CBC Product Manager for Bearings, Fabio Rebecchi.
“With environmental demands being more prevalent and the recycling sector growing so rapidly, we’re seeing a significant increase in demand for these spherical roller bearings.”
Spherical roller bearings are used in all recycling material recovery facilities. Typical applications include conveyor rolling systems, vibrating screens, sorting machines, shredding machines, grinding machines, crushing machines and in all pulp and paper mill machinery.
Rebecchi points out that the Ultage series has a custom bearing type to suit each and every one of these applications.
“There are six types of Ultage bearing types that we stock for use in various Recycling Plant applications. In fact, the name ‘Ultage’ is a combination of the words ‘ultimate’ and ‘stage’, which indicates NTN’s intention in designing an industry-leading performance spherical roller bearing that can be employed in a diverse range of applications”, explains Rebecchi.
“The Ultage series bearings have the world’s highest standard load capacity. This has been achieved by maximising the roller diameter as well as the number of rollers and roller design.”
Another key benefit of the Ultage series range is that they will function at optimal capacity in temperatures of up to 200 degrees Celsius. Ultimately, these features provide significant cost savings from a total cost of ownership perspective.
“The service life that operators are getting from the NTN Ultage series is just first-class. Not only do operators within the recycling sector get increased productivity from their equipment, these high-performing Ultage bearings also reduces the amount of maintenance needed on machinery,” says Tormey.
Customers within the recycling segment also stand to gain from the unique joint venture between CBC and NTN. Particularly as one of the NTN-CBC company directors, Mr Jerry (Takao) Maki, is based locally.
Maki has held various posts within NTN and has been working with the Japanese manufacturer since 1981. His ability to tap into the NTN global network and directly communicate with the company’s manufacturing and design divisions makes him a great asset to NTN-CBC Australia.
“In the recycling sector, the focus is always on uptime of machinery and NTN being able to provide superior products for applications in this segment,” explains Maki.
“The Ultage series bearings are highly-engineered products. We have total access to the manufacturing division and can ensure our customers in Australia are paired with the correct Ultage type for their application.”
Tormey reiterated the fact that having access to the manufacturer is a major advantage, but also noted the importance of CBC’s availability and accessibility to customers.
“At CBC we take pride in our understanding of a customer’s requirements and their plant requirements. As well as having the right parts and on-time delivery, we provide full engineering services to help improve the uptime of rotating equipment.”
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When it comes to paper and cardboard recycling, Australia is relatively well-positioned globally. The National Waste Report 2018 shows that about 60 per cent of Australia’s paper and cardboard waste is recycled, with other estimates putting the figure as high as 87 per cent.
All paper or cardboard recycling processes often begin by shredding the raw material in an industrial shredder – also known as a mulcher – before moving on to pulping, de-inking, drying and rolling of new paper.
Overloading or feeding wet cardboards into a mulcher can send shock loads to the machine, resulting in the drive not performing to its optimum capacity.
This was the case with an operator using a 250-horsepower mulcher – their existing v-belts tended to slip under the severe load conditions, which eventually caused the belts to fail prior to their required service lives.
Since synchronous belts rely on tooth grip and not on slip (as is the case with v-belts), the drive system also needed to be replaced. The CBC team proposed using 56-tooth and 112-tooth driven sprockets to replace the existing drive system of the paper and cardboard mulcher.
Steve Hittmann, CBC Australia’s National Product Manager for Mechanical Drives, says the solution enabled the plant operators to run the mulcher to desired capacity, without requiring any maintenance in the 18 months that followed their installation.
“The Gates Poly Chain GT Carbon belt gave the site the ability to operate the mulcher at their desired level of severe shock loads. The belts have been working without any slip under high load conditions, resulting in maintenance-free and higher capacity operations,” says Hittmann.
Poly Chain is a polyurethane belt that replaces traditional roller chain applications for power transmission. It uses carbon fibre tensile cords to provide an increased power carrying capacity and extended flex fatigue life, helping it withstand shocks, surge loading and heavy abrasion.
In addition, Hittmann says the Gates Poly Chain synchronous belts offer energy saving benefits when replacing v-belts, older synchronous belts and chain drives.
“Since v-belts have thicker cross sections than synchronous belts, they need more energy to bend around sheaves. Gates Poly Chain synchronous belts offer up to 5 per cent energy savings over v-belts,” he explains.
Synchronous belts are toothed and require the installation of mating grooved sprockets. These belts maintain their efficiency over a wide load range. In applications where v-belts lose their efficiency at high torque due to increased slippage, synchronous belts can offer a better solution.
“The Gates Poly Chain synchronous belts require minimal maintenance and re-tensioning and run slip-free,” says Hittmann.
Poly Chain GT Carbon belts operate on Poly Chain GT sprockets and do not require any adaptation of existing GT applications.
Gates distributes its power transmission products through CBC and the two companies work closely to support the Australian market with their technical expertise. CBC operates more than 35 branches across Australia, with each branch employing experienced product managers and engineering support teams to provide everything from design, installation and fitment.
If recycling plant owners wish to re-design their plants to reduce downtime and increase their efficiency, they can contact the CBC support team, who will conduct a thorough survey to come up with the best solutions. They also offer training for maintenance staff if necessary, according to Hittmann.
“Gates and CBC have had a strong relationship going back to the early 90s and have both grown in that period,” he says.
“The combined expertise of CBC and Gates specialists ensures that customers get the best belts and drives solutions for their plants.”
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It’s a little-known fact that the humble roller chain, a critical component to recycling plants, was first conceived by Leonardo da Vinci in the 1500s.
However it wasn’t until 1880 that the roller chain was actually invented and the Indianapolis Chain and Stamping Company was founded in 1890. The first US domestic roller chain producer was focused on a chain for the safety bicycle.
The Diamond chains then went from strength to strength, partnering with Henry Ford for the automotive drive chain and being used by Wright Brothers for the first flight.
In 1901, the company was renamed to the Diamond Chain Company and is now widely differentiated as a leader in providing precision roller chain for select mechanical power transmission applications.
Diamond today, is reliant on support from CBC in Australia to provide it with best in class wear life on its roller chains for select mechanical power transmission applications. Some of the benefits at a glance are industry leading technical expertise, a commitment to customer and strategic national account growth and a low total cost of ownership.
Troy Markland, CBC Product Manager, says that recycling plants are diverse in nature and thus the roller chain is suited to multiple applications.
“Diamond Chain is renowned for offering a high-performance industrial roller chain,” Troy says.
“One of the reasons it has such a long life is the attention to detail on the manufacturing of the components. Diamond use high quality steel and pre-tensions the chain up to 50% of its tensile strength. Every process of manufacturing is checked to the next stage of production.”
Whether it be municipal solid, commercial and industrial and construction and demolition waste, the applications are extensive.
The relationship between CBC and Diamond is crucial to providing the right product support. The best chain is only possible with the best materials, and Diamond Chain leverages its long-term supplier relationships to meet exacting material standards, with multiple inspection and process checks to ensure quality and performance.
Troy says that CBC draws on global factory and engineering support and design capabilities from Diamond based on the application when required.
“Given that Diamond has more than 125 years of industry experience, we’re able to tap into case studies of applications throughout the world,” he says.
“We’ll submit via email or phone conversation if we have an application and require some design assistance we’ll go to the technical centre and ask for support.”
Proper lubrication substantially extends a chain’s life. Diamond Chain applies a proprietary initial lubricant that contains special corrosive-resistant additives and has superior surface retention leading to longer wear life. The hot dip application process ensures complete internal penetration and uniform exterior coverage.
In terms of pre-loading after assembly, carbon steel chains are preloaded to 50% of their ultimate tensile strength. This exceeds the normal operating loads, with the process seating the pins and bushings, significantly reducing initial run-in and extending the life of the chain.
Troy says Diamond is a world leader in precision roller chains which offers superior wear life.
“Depending on the style of chain that exists there are a couple of reduced maintenance options,” Troy says.
When it comes to the fabrication, the more precise the components, the better the performance. The bushings and rollers have a seamless design extruded with uniform wall thickness and near perfect roundness for smooth travel. The pins are precision ground for consistent fit and smooth travel. They use a proprietary multi-step pitch hole operation to maximise the bearing surface for optimal fatigue life.
Importantly, Troy says full factory after-sales support is offered based on the customer’s requirements. Performance testing comprises fatigue and wear tests that ensure the chain performs to expectations, regardless of the application.
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