One of the greatest logistical challenges for quarrying operations is transporting materials from one location to another on site. The heavy loaded, vibrational, and abrasive nature of moving quarried materials requires a sturdy and efficient method of transport– the most convenient of these being a classic belted conveyor system.
Anyone who has visited a quarry, will be familiar with the intricate web of conveyors that spans across the site– some troughed; some flat; and some slanted for uphill and downhill movement. A classic quarry conveyor system consists of belts, pulleys, bearings, and rollers that feed materials in and discharge them out by way of chutes for transport, sorting, and processing.
Of these parts and components, the most critical for the success of a quarrying conveyor system, are the bearings – according to Michael Greelish, National Account Manager for Mining, Quarrying and Resources at Motion Australia.
“Bearing failures are one of the primary causes of downtime on quarrying conveyors and this is often due to how they are installed,” he says. “Correctly measuring the internal clearance of the bearing is difficult to get right on installation. In many cases, the bearing ends up being fitted too tightly so it breaks during production, or too loosely so it spins on the shaft.”
“It is very important to install conveyor bearings correctly with the proper fit up, so you can get the optimal performance and service life out of the bearing. A step-by-step fit up that includes checking and using gauges to install the bearings will ensure a prolonged bearing life on quarrying applications,” he emphasises.
For Michael, determining the best bearing solutions for quarrying conveyors and working with suppliers to ensure correct installation is a huge part of Motion Australia’s offering to the quarrying industry.
However, there are some suppliers, like Australian Timken, that set the standard in terms of providing reliable bearing solutions for these types of applications, he notes.
“In particular, the Timken® Spherical Roller Bearing Solid-Block Housed Unit has established itself in the market as the strongest housed bearing unit of its kind– providing exceptional resilience and strength under extreme operating conditions– and that standard remains unparalleled in the industry,” says Michael.
An example of how the Timken® Spherical Roller Bearing Solid-Block Housed Units perform in quarrying conveyor applications happened recently when a quarrying customer who was experiencing issues with the tail bearings on their quarrying conveyor approached the Motion Australia team.
“The bearings were getting buried by dirt, dust, and contaminants – causing shutdowns every few months and costly bearing replacements,” explains Michael. “But after a successful trial on one of their conveyors with two Solid-Block Housed units, the customer replaced all the bearings on their conveyors with the Timken units.”
According to Mark Davies, National Mining Manager at Australian Timken, the success of the Timken® Spherical Roller Bearing Solid-Block Housed Units is due to their superior manufacturing and construction methods.
“The housing is made from solid cast steel and the bearing is fitted inside the housing at the factory level,” explains Mark. “The internal clearance is pre-set at the point of sale, and the sealing arrangement is pre-fitted to lock in grease and protect from the ingress of dust, dirt, and contaminants.”
“In addition to this, the units are available in a host of shapes, sizes, sealing arrangements and locking systems. We have six different internal locking mechanisms: V-Lock, Double V-Lock, Concentric, Eccentric, Tapered Adapter, and the Double-Nut Tapered Adapter,” elaborates Mark.
“Of these, the Double-Nut Tapered Adapter has been tailored specifically for conveyor pulley applications as an easy screw and lock mechanism that eliminates the need for complicated installation processes.”
In recent years, providing bearing installation training to quarrying sites has become an integral part of Motion Australia’s business offering.
“In the case of the Timken® Spherical Roller Bearing Solid-Block Housed Units, if the installation is done right, it should be a quick and easy process of simply locking the unit onto the shaft with no fitting required,” says Michael.
Furthermore, he notes, Australian Timken plays an active role in working with Motion Australia’s quarrying customers to provide on-site training for Timken® Solid-Block Housed units.
“We regularly supply Timken® Spherical Roller Bearing Solid-Block Housed Unit installation training to customers,” he says. “In conjunction with Australian Timken engineers, we teach customers how to correctly install the Timken® Spherical Roller Bearing Solid-Block Housed Units. This training includes all staff on site– from the apprentices to the fitters to the engineers.”
Currently, Motion Australia is also offering their Quarry Training Session– a workshop with a focus on skills sharing and upskilling, that covers training on fitting conveyor bearings, V-Belt tensioning, and alignment procedures.
“This is not an online program. We bring training rigs out to the site and concentrate mainly on the fitting of spherical roller bearings because they are a bit more specialised in their installation requirements. We teach the staff how to measure and calculate radial internal clearance and the reduction of it once the bearing is fitted up by allowing staff to work on the rigs,” says Michael.
“It is a two-hour training session with no digital component or online modules, and no PowerPoints,” he concludes. “We understand the best way for a lot of tradespeople to learn is by doing. So, this truly a hands-on training.”
Timken® Spherical Roller Bearing Solid-Block Housed Units
Features and Benefits:
• A two-row spherical roller bearing
• Black oxide inner ring
• Six different primary seals against inner ring
• Machined solid feet
• Housing tolerance: J7 > Light Interference fit
• Standard Relief Valve
• Optional open or closed steel or urethane seal covers (bolt on)
• Five axial locking styles
• Easy to change from fixed to floating
• Housing can be supplied with Standard Powder Coat or special order Nickel, Zinc, or Urethane coating
• Housing manufactured from cast steel
For more information on Motion Australia’s Quarry Training Sessions and Timken® Spherical Roller Bearing Solid‑Block Housed Unit training, contact your local Motion Australia branch today.