Bearings on mining equipment rely on three barriers of protection against the ingress of contaminants that are present on mine sites: the housing, the housing seal, and the grease, according to Motion Australia’s in-house bearings expert, Tony Tormey. 

In his role as Category Manager for Industrial Bearings, Tony has developed a kind of sixth sense for the subtle differences in bearing performance when they need to contend with dusty and dirty applications such as coal and ore mining operations, aggregate quarries, or mills where raw materials run on conveyors around the clock. 

“On heavy industrial applications such as mining and quarrying conveyors, it’s very easy for dust and dirt to penetrate a bearing housing,” explains Tony. “Sometimes when the bearing is being installed, dust in the surrounding air may make contact with the parts as the bearing is being driven up the shaft. Over time, if contaminants continue to build up, the bearing life will start to run down.”

“In this instance, any presence of moisture from washdowns or damp environmental conditions will quickly transform dust into sludge further hindering the performance of the bearing,” he continues. “Eventually the bearing will require replacement. And in the worse-case, halt production altogether.”

“For this reason, it is extremely important to use advancements in bearings technology to the advantage of our customers that are working with harsh mining equipment,” Tony adds. 

On that note, Schaeffler has been on the leading edge of bearings technology since their inception more than 120 years ago. During this time, Motion Australia and Schaeffler have enjoyed a distribution partnership since 1983—when Motion first began stocking Schaeffler bearings products and supplying them to Australian customers. 

Tony has been working with Schaeffler’s bearings experts for so long that their team feels like close colleagues, he says. One of Tony’s liaisons, John Tawadros, Head of Distribution Sales at Schaeffler, concurs with this sentiment, explaining how the companies have found the partnership to be mutually beneficial over the years. 

“When we find a good joint solutions-based partnership as we have with Motion Australia, it’s all about our combined capabilities,” says John. “As a bearing manufacturer and technology company, Schaeffler’s product expertise and engineering know-how supports Motion, our distribution partner, to develop joint strategies for presenting these solutions to customers.” 

When it comes to bearings for mining and quarrying equipment, the Schaeffler Sealed Spherical Roller Bearings (SRB) has been a standout in that market, according to John. 

“On the materials handling equipment side, large conveyor belts need to be able to move immense amounts of heavy material across long distances,” he says. “This is where the Schaeffler Sealed SRB in X-life comes in. This particular bearing design has increased longevity in these types of applications due to its X-life design as well as the benefit of integral seals.” The addition of the integral seals on the bearing itself gives the added advantage of a fourth barrier of protection against ingress.

The Schaeffler X-life design focuses on material, surface finish and internal geometry tweaks, to result in much higher axial and radial load capacities as well as higher limiting speeds.

“With X-life, we’re able to maximize the capacity of these bearings, to improve their robustness in this harsh environment.” explains John. “Additionally, Schaeffler’s sealed SRB’s are heat stabilised to +200°C with increased wear resistance, while the seal material operating limit is up to +100°C (+120°C intermittently).”

Designed for simple and fast mounting and installation, the Radial Internal Clearance (RIC) is marked on the Outer Ring of Schaeffler Sealed Spherical Roller Bearings, thus maintaining the pre-sealed integrity of the bearings. That is, the seals don’t need to be removed to measure the clearance during mounting. In addition to these features, the Schaeffler Sealed SRBs are pre-greased and allow for controlled greasing through a lubrication groove. 

“The result is a robust, high capacity, long life bearing, able to survive harsh environments,” concludes John. “Combine this with Schaeffler’s hydraulic drive-up mounting method and free online Mounting Manager tool, and it makes the bearing installation process simple and efficient, whilst preventing contaminants from entering the bearings.”  

Why Maddie the Miner loves Schaeffler SealED Spherical Roller Bearings:

• Longer operating life.

• Reduced maintenance cost

• Pre-greased with Schaeffler Arcanol Load 400 grease

• Contact seals

• X-life design: Very high dynamic and static loads ratings

• Radial internal clearance marked on outer ring

• Easy to mount, reduced downtime