The importance of good ventilation in underground mines cannot be overstated. To quote Rhys Thompson, Company Manager at AirEng, “If the ventilation system goes off, the mine has to shut down. That’s how critical it is.”
As a company that specialises in the engineering, design and manufacture of industrial fans and blowers for a wide range of industries – including for surface and underground mining, AirEng puts a lot of emphasis on sourcing reliable components for its industrial fans.
In the mining industry, AirEng is active in two broad areas of coal mining and hard rock mining, producing primary, secondary and booster fans, among other products. The company also manufactures a wide range of industrial fans and blowers for industries such as food and beverage, pulp and paper, agriculture and many more.
With bearings playing such a crucial role in the reliability of industrial fans, Rhys says Schaeffler bearings have been AirEng’s trusted brand for bearings over the past 25 years.
“We put a lot of emphasis on the reliability of our products and delivering consistent high quality to our customers. The Schaeffler bearings provide the level of reliability that ensures our products perform well in the market, posing minimum risk to our reputation as a business,” says Rhys.
“Just to give an example of how reliable the Schaeffler bearings are, one of our customers had neglected lubrication of their fan’s bearings for over 19 years and the fan was still working after 19 years! While this is far from desirable and we always encourage regular bearing maintenance and lubrication, this just goes on to show how durable Schaeffler bearings are.”
CBC, the largest distributor of bearings and engineering services in Australia, has been supporting AirEng for over 25 years, not just as an exclusive supplier of Schaeffler bearings, but also through a range of technical and engineering services provided by CBC’s bearing experts.
CBC’s expertise with bearings and housings has proven beneficial for AirEng on multiple occasions, according to Rhys.
“Over the years, we have relied on CBC engineers’ technical advice, which has helped us improve our products and grow our range continuously. At AirEng, we have some of the largest testing facilities for fans, which enables us to test every product before delivering it to a customer. CBC engineers have, on multiple occasions, visited our testing sites to help us resolve technical issues when we were looking for quick solutions,” he says.
“Moreover, CBC’s extensive branch network across Australia means we can rely on their support wherever we are. The CBC branches always maintain a good inventory of products in stock and they have always looked after us when we needed a component urgently,” he adds.
Leon Stefanec, Area Business Manager at CBC Australia, says CBC works closely with Schaeffler Australia to supply Schaeffler bearings and plummer block housing units to AirEng.
“Schaeffler Australia has always been a good source of support for our engineers and they assist us to better service our customers whenever we need.”
More recently, Leon says CBC engineers have custom-designed and manufactured a unique housing for a large diameter heavy-duty bearing unit for AirEng, which has helped reduce their production turnaround time.
“While AirEng only uses Schaeffler bearings, the housings they were using for these heavy-duty bearings were previously ordered from overseas. The average lead time for these housings to be delivered to AirEng customers was around 20 weeks. Our engineers worked with AirEng to design the pattern and casting model for the housing and by manufacturing these housings in-house, we were able to reduce the lead time to 12-14 weeks.
“To get an idea of the size of these housings, the bearings themselves have a bore diameter of 300 millimetres and they weigh around 140 kilograms each. The housings we supply weigh another 160 kilograms. The in-house production by CBC has given AirEng a distinct supply advantage as the housings are now readily available here in Australia and we can carry these housings in stock, which allows quick turnaround time for AirEng.”
With more than 30 years of experience, AirEng fans are installed on every continent and in well over 50 countries. AirEng was also a Gold winner at Motion Asia Pacific’s Let’s Roll: Australian Business Awards 2020.
Rhys says AirEng’s strength as a business lies in offering turnkey solutions and supporting its customers from concept right through life of asset.
“At AirEng, we strive to offer quality products that are easy to maintain. Through our strong distribution network, we have so far installed tens of thousands of our units across a broad range of applications and the proven performance of these products is what gives our clients a high level of confidence in our products.
“Our partnership with CBC and our choice of Schaeffler bearings aligns well with our goal of maximising our products’ reliability and that’s something we value greatly.”