Industrial fan bearings are crucial components in various industries, especially in the food and beverage sector, where maintaining optimal air quality and ventilation is vital to ensure the safety and quality of the products produced. A large shopping centre in Noarlunga, South Australia, reached out to Todd Gates, a bearings specialist and a member of the Motion engineering team, to address a problem with their fan bearings. Recognising the urgency of the situation, the team had to find a fast and effective solution.

“The job was to supply fresh air to the shopping centre, through the use of Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC), so this was pretty important especially over the warmer months, with the avoidance of any lengthy downtime,” explained Todd. The problem with the fan bearings was due to a worn shaft located in a hard-to-reach area, which made maintenance challenging. This shopping centre also had a bustling food court with a variety of restaurants, as well as supermarkets that stocked fresh produce and other food items. As a result, the maintenance team had to work efficiently to come to a resolution.

Todd explained, “we took measurements, analysed the area, and came up with a few options for the customer.” Todd and the Motion engineering team determined that the best solution was to pull out the entire shaft, which was approximately 3 metres long, and replace it with a new one made of high tensile steel. High tensile steel offers several benefits when used with bearing such as strength and durability, the ability to withstand extreme temperatures and high corrosion resistance.

Todd added there were various health and safety risks associated with access. “The access to one of the bearings was not ideal as you had to climb on a roof and down a hole and crouch down to get to it, which I don’t think anyone was really going to do that on a regular basis.”

Due to this inaccessibility and with longevity in mind, the engineers added an automatic lubricating system which would dispense a set amount of grease over a period of time. This was a significant upgrade from the previous manual lubrication system and would yield various potential benefits in improving equipment performance, reducing downtime, improved safety, and extended equipment life, according to Todd.

After the installation, they conducted vibration testing, a type of machine condition monitoring, to ensure that the fan was balanced correctly. The entire project was completed in under two weeks, showing they met the expectation of completing this job efficiently.

Todd highlighted the engineering team’s work saved the shopping centre thousands of dollars. “They were possibly looking at getting a new system altogether, which could cost up to $40,000,” said Todd. Therefore, the work Motion carried out made a significant impact.

Todd continues, “the benefit for the customer by working with Motion was it was all handled by the one supplier. The supplier for the parts needed, the lubrication system, the bearings/shaft plus the labour was all handled by the one company, and they didn’t have too many people doing too many things. It was a package solution. We completed the work in under two weeks, which was beneficial to the customer.”

The success of this project highlights the importance of having reliable and efficient fan bearings in the public domain, especially in busy areas like shopping centres, where it is crucial to maintain optimal conditions for food service. Effective HVAC solutions played a pivotal role in this case, underscoring the importance of working with a reliable organisation like Motion, who can provide comprehensive solutions and quick turnaround times.