Waste without waste - Using the right gearboxes, drives, couplings and motors in waste handling and recycling can significantly reduce long term operating costs, says ERIKS
- 07 August 2012
- Company & Industry News
Waste handling and recycling creates one of the toughest operating environments for all types of motion and control equipment. In particular, gearboxes, drive motors, couplings and chains have to withstand extreme loads, shock, and contamination from dust, debris and glass, plus widely varying temperatures and, in many instances, infrequent maintenance. Despite this, it is important for waste management and recycling companies to maximise machine uptime, while minimising maintenance and long-term operating costs.
Aggressive materials such as glass are typically found in waste and recycling debris and yet many gearboxes, drive motors, couplings and chains are not equipped for the challenge. Couplings, for example, often wear out fast in recycling plants owing to a lack of tolerance in their connections and the swift development of misalignment that result from incorrect installation. However, the use of improved couplings can reduce the likelihood of failure; for example, Fenaflex Tyre Couplings provide more flexibility, which allows for a greater degree of misalignment.
While the specification of improved components offers one method of increasing efficiency, the addition of one particular component offers another. The variable speed drive will not only save energy but also reduce shock loading on belts with features such as 'soft start' and programmable ramp times, minimising both maintenance and operating costs. Using a Fenner QD Inverter, for instance, to vary the speed of an electric motor can deliver significant energy- and cost-savings. Inverters are not typically fitted to waste handling machines but when they are the resulting elimination shock loads can significantly limit wear and tear as well as manage energy consumption. Motor efficiency is also enhanced by upgrading to an IE3 motor, which offers even greater energy efficiency than the IE2-rated motor now required within the EU.
To combat the aggressive conditions within waste and recycling – moisture, dust, abrasive particles – it is also necessary to specify rolling bearings that offer a longer lifespan. NSK Super TF and Hi-TF bearings can offer up to seven times the lifespan of alternatives made with ordinary carburised steel in applications such as waste and recycling where lubricant is contaminated.
A failure of hydraulic hose can damage profits, not only as a result of maintenance and repair costs but also the potential price of any clean-up that may be required to comply with environmental legislation. An effective way to avoid failure here is to pay attention to the minimum bend radius when specifying hoses, as it is stress on the wire braiding that often causes catastrophic failure. Hoses are typically subject to abrasion in the presence of aggressive substances but Gates hoses are 25 more times resistant than international standards demand.
There will never be a shortage of waste and recycling: the challenge is to process these materials in the most cost effective way, and that means relying upon the most up-to-date methods of production, state-of-the-art products and new technologies. Plant reliability is vitally important in minimising downtime and maximising uptime - even a couple of hours' downtime can result in huge losses - but a range of components are now available that can reinforce that reliability.