After the recent X.e series agitator unit launch, SEW-EURODRIVE South Africa secured an order for nine units earmarked for the mining industry – a world-class first. The company has an extensive and proven reputation for providing reliable high-performance solutions for mixing and agitation applications in various industries globally. The X.e agitator units have proven suitable for mixing and blending liquids and other materials in the harsh African operating environment.
“The X.e agitator units are ideal for applications where high power ratings are required for stirring and mixing materials. We can customise these agitator units to suit the customer’s specifications,” explains engineering manager, Jarrod Futter. “For example, we offer various bearing and shafting options, and modular systems for the unit which can be selected to meet the customer’s budget and expectations.” He adds that due to the customer’s requirement for nine low-ratio and moderately high torque and force application, the X3FSM240e HD version was selected. The selection process depended on multiple factors, including the input speed, motor power, loading distance, axial loading, and most importantly the radial loading and required output speed.
The X.e agitator differs completely from previous X Series vertical drives. The X.e agitator unit is purpose designed for mixing and agitation, focusing on a stronger and dynamically improved housing. This allows for higher radial load applications, with a maximised bearing distance and an intelligent housing split above the maximum oil level to minimise potential leaks completely and offer better servicing and maintenance capabilities. The X.e agitator also features a new robust, integrated foot design, with multiple aligned foot holes to allow for easy mounting and stiffness.
During the X.e agitator design process, SEW-EURODRIVE applied the digital twin concept that ties real-world testing to a digital finite element analysis. Explaining the process, Futter says this methodology allows the matching of real-time figures from testing to the digital analysis, achieving the same results. “This enabled many cost benefits, minimised the need for physical testing, and allowed the team to see and solve problems before they happened. The digital twin concept is a more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly solution for development and testing, and it minimises potential waste,” Futter adds.
As an example, he says that the extended bearing distance could be further optimised along with the oil flow characteristics. Using fluid simulation, the piping was optimised internally, allowing the designers to see how the flow occurs before creating a physical unit to evaluate the theory. The simulation results could then be checked with real-time tests to ensure the oil flow occured as designed and optimal lubrication was achieved.
The X.e agitator unit has a unique application-specific reinforced and extended bearing distance, with the distance between the lower and upper output shaft bearing mounted further apart. This creates a greater shaft distance between these loading points, which allows the low-speed shaft to handle higher radial forces. “In layman’s terms, the lever has been made longer to move a larger load,” Futter explains.
The X.e agitator unit features a pressurised internal lubrication system that allows for continuous oil flow to all upper bearings and gears to ensure the units are well lubricated. The unique labyrinth seal also ensures protection from external particles that may damage the oil seals. Offering three sizes with various torque ranges and gear units, SEW-EURODRIVE can provide client-specific products, all safely encapsulated inside the gearbox for client and product protection.
SEW-EURODRIVE is committed to sustainable engineering solutions, and the X.e agitator unit is testament to this. The housing has been developed for easy servicing and maintenance, contributing to sustainable long-term use. Therefore, components are easily replaceable. The efficiency gains are attributed to the X.e series gearing, which has been extensively adapted from the original X-series. Using standard existing components, the X.e agitator series requires less design time to achieve the final product.
With five production plants worldwide and a footprint in more than 50 countries, SEW-EURODRIVE offers a quick turnaround in aftersales support and aggressive lead times. “We are looking forward to making history by delivering the first nine X.e agitator units in the world and offering world-class aftersales support,” says Futter.
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