Maintenance, Test & Measurement, Calibration


SKF increases paper machine reliability

October 2021 Maintenance, Test & Measurement, Calibration

SKF’s virtually maintenance-free rope sheave units offer a unique solution to the pulp and paper industry by significantly reducing the high costs related to rope sheave maintenance and improving paper machine reliability.

“Rope sheaves are notorious for frequently causing maintenance problems at paper mills, leading to unscheduled shutdowns that negatively affect production levels and drive up costs,” notes Frans Odendaal, SKF product manager, Power Transmission. Odendaal explains that if the sheaves are not running properly, the rope can slip, resulting in rope wear and paper tail tears. He adds that worn ropes can break while lubricant leakage can lead to paper damage. Furthermore, accessing hazardous locations to re-lubricate rope sheave bearings puts maintenance personnel at unnecessary risk. Pointing to a less common but very important problem, Odendaal cautions about the dangers of sheaves falling off their shafts causing serious injury to personnel and damaging product rolls.

According to Odendaal, mills often accept these conditions as normal and have resorted to applying preventive maintenance to minimise the potential problems caused by malfunctioning rope sheaves due to bearing failures. He notes that inadequate lubrication and corrosion damage are two main causes of bearing failures. “But mills no longer have to contend with the high costs of rope sheave maintenance,” he adds. “The fitment of SKF rope sheaves will increase uptime and dramatically reduce maintenance costs. The rope sheaves have been specially designed and engineered to reduce rope wear as well as the possibility of paper breaks.”

The rope sheaves are based on SKF’s tried-and-tested wheel hub units which perform well even under extremely stringent conditions. Rope sheaves are fitted with two deep-groove ball bearings which are ideal for accommodating low loads and moderate speeds. Both the unit as well as the bearings are sealed for life, ensuring long maintenance-free periods. Not only is the need for grease nipples and lubrication ducts which can potentially leak and contaminate the product eliminated, but personnel are no longer required to enter difficult-to-access potentially hazardous areas to re-lubricate the bearings.

Furthermore, a patented security device locks the unit firmly in place, preventing it from falling off the shaft and creating a safer working environment for paper mill personnel.


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