Recently, a Tasmanian abattoir was experiencing significant problems with their render plant fan, which was originally supplied by a major fan designer and manufacturer. For reasons unknown, this was only achieving a 3-month service life before requiring a full replacement, resulting in expensive component fees, labour hours, and lost production costs.

In the meat processing industry, a render plant fan is a critical component used to process and recycle animal waste into useful products such as tallow, bone meal, and meat. The fan is responsible for drawing the waste material through the plant and into the rendering process, making it an essential piece of equipment.

After the fan’s initial bearings reached the end of their service life, the original manufacturer provided the abattoir with the part numbers and bearing types for replacement. Motion was chosen to supply the parts and conduct the installation, but unfortunately, the fan failed on start-up due to incorrect information provided by the original manufacturer.

With the rendering part of the plant out of production, Motion was tasked with finding a solution to the problem. They teamed up with their partner Schaeffler – a company with a wealth of knowledge, technical expertise and understanding of bearings and fan applications.

Schaeffler ascertained that the fan was failing was due to the previous bearing design. They were able to rectify this with a new bearing arrangement.

As a resolution, the fan received custom-built one-piece housing, which is designed specifically for high-speed fan applications and the Motion team assisted in this change out. By running the spherical roller bearings in one piece, they achieved a constant oil level with labyrinth seals. This ensures the bearings will run reliably for their maximum design life.

Schaeffler’s new bearing unit resolved the problem, and the render fan has now been running for 6 months without any issues.

Schaeffler’s technical solution and work with Motion not only extended the service life of the render plant fan, but also reduced the high amount of continued maintenance previously required. Through the use of vibration analysis and condition monitoring, the plant will now be alerted should the bearings begin to wear. After 6 months of running, there are no signs of bearing wear or failure, giving the abattoir peace of mind and reliable operation with their render fan.

Leon Stefanec, Motion’s National Business Development Manager for Food & Beverage, says Schaeffler and Motion’s collaborative approach to this issue highlights the importance of industry partnerships and knowledge sharing in solving complex problems. 

“Schaeffler and Motion’s collaboration successfully resolved a complex problem for the abattoir, providing a sound technical solution to ensure the rendering part of the plant can continue to operate effectively. The extended service life of the critical piece of equipment will also save the abattoir valuable time and money in the long run,” he expands. “This is just one example of the excellent work our organisations are doing in partnership to provide world class solutions to customers.” 

Features of fan custom housing

• Constant level of lubrication

• Designed to provide slight interference fit on bearings

• Built to keep contaminants purged away

• Can be fitted to the fan pedestal as a completely sealed unit