Hydrated lime, also known as slack lime, builders’ lime or pickling lime, is used extensively in water treatment, as well as for production of mortar, cement, plaster and paint. The hydrator, which mixes quicklime with water to obtain hydrated lime, is a key piece of machinery in any hydrated
lime plant. 

WebsterBSC Territory Manager, Luke Gee, says proper alignment of the rotating shaft in the hydrator is critical to the lime mixing process.

“The shaft has a very limited tolerance for misalignment. If it’s not perfectly aligned, the hydrator cannot mix the lime properly,” he explains. 

Luke first noticed an issue with the fluid coupling in the limestone plant’s hydrator when conducting a site audit to assist the client with spare part management. 

“The fluid coupling was originally fitted in reverse, which in turn created a lot of issues, including excessive vibration, misalignment and premature coupling wear and failure,” says Luke. 

“Each time the fluid coupling failed, which could be as frequently as every few weeks, the site had to hire a crane to lift the motor up to separate the drive components and then they had to re-align the motor. The entire process took nearly five hours and cost around $6000 in labour and equipment expenses,”
says Luke.

Luke’s recommendation was to correct the orientation of the fluid coupling and also to change the flexible coupling connected to the fluid coupling with the Quick-Flex® couplings, which the client approved and the WebsterBSC Launceston branch delivered after re-machining the coupling to mount to the fluid coupling.

Lovejoy Quick-Flex® couplings by Timken are designed to eliminate the need for disassembling the driving equipment to replace the coupling insert. Their design eliminates mechanical interference between coupling hubs so that the urethane inserts can be quickly and easily replaced without removing the hubs. 

“When they do require replacement, the inserts can be replaced within minutes rather than hours, without requiring any motor re-alignment, crane hire or lifting up the motor,” he says.

The main saving for the lime quarry, however, has come from the increased uptime, according to Luke.

“While previously the flexible coupling had to be replaced every few weeks, the site hasn’t had any issues since the Quick-Flex® couplings were fitted more than a year ago. Even though the coupling inserts themselves are inexpensive, the loss of productivity from having to stop operations for over five hours was more than the plant could afford,” he says.

Luke says he would recommend using Quick-Flex® couplings as an answer to re-alignment and other maintenance problems. 

“While drive arrangements vary across different hydrators, WebsterBSC experts would be happy to offer advice on a case-by-case basis about the type of Quick-Flex® inserts suitable for each application, as well as assisting with fitments and other technical challenges,” he concludes.  

Quick-Flex® coupling inserts are available in four materials for varying temperature and torque needs:

Quick-Flex® red insert (standard)

• Made from a relatively soft urethane compound

• Excellent in vibration dampening and shock loads cushioning 

• Best for reversing applications or applications with quick starting and stopping 

• Operational temperature range of -50° C to 100° C with a 48D durometer

Quick-Flex® blue insert (high torque)

• Made from a relatively stiff urethane compound 

• Well suited for applications with moderate to high torque

• Excellent replacements for gear, grid or chain-style couplings

• Operational temperature range of -50° C to 100° C with a 60D durometer

Quick-Flex® black insert (highest torque)

• Well suited for very high torque applications

• Excellent replacements for gear-style couplings

• Operational temperature range of -50° C to 100° C with a 68D durometer

• Not recommended when using a highspeed cover

Quick-Flex® white insert (high temperature)

• Made of a heat-resistant urethane compound 

• Suitable for applications where heat is a concern

• Operational temperature range of -50° C to 177° C with a 60D durometer