In the paper and board industry, every roll counts – quite literally. The smooth operation of a paper machine relies heavily on the proper functioning of its various components. However, in a NSW paper factory, a catastrophic failure of the bearing used in a bottom roll resulted in unexpected downtime and significant production disruption. Alan Phillips, Motion’s Engineering Services Manager, emphasised the importance of finding a quick and effective solution to the issue to minimise the impact on the customer. 

“Water and moisture are common culprits behind lubrication breakdown, corrosion, and bearing failure in the paper and board industry,” Alan explains. Equipment in this industry is often exposed to water, which can infiltrate bearings through poor seals, condensation etc. To ensure smooth operation and prevent water ingress, effective sealing, proper maintenance and lubrication practices are crucial.  

Unfortunately, in this case, water compromised the grease in the bearing. As Alan notes, “When water gets into bearing grease, it impacts its ability to lubricate. Water causes a breakdown of the grease, leading to metal-to-metal contact and ultimately the destruction of the bearing.” 

The team conducted a comprehensive bearing failure report, which provided a number of recommendations for the client to optimise bearing life in the application. These included investigating new and improved sealing solutions for the roller bearings to ensure water is effectively excluded from the bearings.  

The customer was pleased with the ideas presented in the report, and the Motion Engineering and Services Team were able to provide two sealing covers to fit to the existing roll bearing housings. These were designed and manufactured by the team and amounted to a significant budget. The team was also involved in fitting the new parts, ensuring a smooth and successful implementation of their solution. 

Alan highlights that over ten months have passed since the Motion Engineering  and Services Team fitted the new parts, and the bottom roll bearings have been functioning without any issues.  

“Tests of the bearing grease have shown that the new sealing solution has effectively excluded water from the bearings, ensuring that the grease is no longer compromised,” he says. 

Alan explains that Motion is equipped with the necessary expertise to conduct a thorough investigation of issues, identifying the underlying causes, and providing customised solutions.  

Furthermore, Motion can design and manufacture the required parts and offer support in fitting them to the machines. This all-inclusive service provides customers with a complete solution that caters to their specific requirements. 

According to Alan, “If one of these bearings failed during normal machine operation, it would take roughly 8 hours to change, and 8 hours of paper production would stop, costing a significant amount.” 

By resolving the issue effectively, the team saved the customer a significant amount of money and prevented any further disruptions to production. 

The Motion Engineering and Services Team’s success in identifying and resolving the root cause of the bearing failure and providing a comprehensive solution underscores their expertise in industrial equipment. Their ability to work closely with the customer, design and manufacture the necessary parts, and prevent any further downtime resulted in significant cost savings for the customer. For any issues related to industrial equipment, customers are encouraged to contact Motion for a tailored and effective solution.