Schaeffler Llanelli helps Corus Packaging Plus, Trostre Works, solve bearing vibration problem on critical tin plate leveller rolls
- 20 March 2007
- Company & Industry News
UK manufacturers can now benefit from a wide range of precision-machined components, one off prototype parts and housings - designed and produced locally in the UK by Schaeffler UK's Llanelli plant.
The factory's toolroom and engineering staff have already carried out a wide range of projects for customers, including the design and manufacture of non-standard housings and adaptor sleeves for the paper industry; the manufacture of back-up rolls for the steel industry; and 3D machined components. In addition, the company has trained staff in the repair and refurbishment of most types of specialised bearing applications.
Brian Fox, Engineering Manager at Schaeffler UK commented: "The toolroom here is now a profit centre in its own right. The toolroom was already producing low volume samples and one-off prototypes for other Schaeffler Group plants around the world, but we decided to look for business elsewhere, particularly local firms in the UK. So, rather than just machine and refurbish standard bearings, we're trying to move into a niche market of low volume, high precision machined components and sub-assemblies. We can even offer the design and engineering capability too."
One local company based in Wales, Corus Packaging Plus Trostre Works, which manufactures tin plate for the packaging industry, approached Schaeffler Llanelli because it was experiencing bearing quality problems on its back-up leveller rolls. The bearings for the leveller rolls are critical to tinplate production, as they ensure that any surface irregularities in the tin plating (caused by the rolling process) are removed.
Brendan O'Loughlin, Manufacturing Support Engineer at Corus Trostre commented: "We've got three main coating lines here, two for tin plating and one for chrome plating. These lines are the final stage in production, after that the product goes out to the client, so the tension leveller is critical. The lines can run up to 500 metres per minute, so the bearings that support these are also critical. There's lots of metal-to-metal contact and the loads on the bearings are quite high. Any premature bearing wear causes excess vibration, which in turn, can lead to surface indentations in the coated strip."
At the time, Corus Trostre's supplier of the back-up leveller rolls and bearings was experiencing difficulties with premature bearing failures, which according to O'Loughlin, "were down to poor re-lubrication practice and maintenance procedures". Corus was wasting a lot of money throwing away worn out bearings and therefore wanted a more reliable bearing, better maintenance procedures, faster lead times on new or refurbished bearings and so approached Schaeffler's Llanelli plant, which is located just a few miles down the road.
Working closely with engineers at Schaeffler Llanelli, Corus changed its maintenance and inspection procedures on the back-up leveller rolls and bearings. As O'Loughlin explained: "We did a lot of work with Schaeffler Llanelli, who helped us improve our inspection and maintenance procedures on the bearings. We also wanted to speak to someone local, so that we could actually show them and explain the problems we were having first hand. The bearings are now lasting longer and the refurbished bearings are more cost effective for us in the long term."
Schaeffler Llanelli now takes all the special purpose cylindrical, deep groove needle roller bearings from Corus Trostre, to check whether they can be refurbished. If the bearings can be repaired, the bearings are re-machined, re-greased and the end caps sealed. The bearings have a 47mm diameter and are 145mm in length.
But there has been another spin-off for Schaeffler Llanelli too. As Paul Gibbons, regional sales engineer at Schaeffler UK explained: "Corus Trostre is now sending 210 bearings to our Llanelli plant for refurbishment, twice a year. They are paying half the price they would for a new bearing replacement, so they are extremely pleased with the service. Corus Trostre has also asked us to supply some round shafts that are also fitted to the leveller rolls, so this is another knock-on benefit for us."
With considerable design expertise based at its Sutton Coldfield site, Schaeffler UK can work closely with customers through all stages of new product development, from initial concept, 2D and 3D CAD modelling, through to rapid product development and final production.
The Llanelli plant can handle the design and manufacture of super-precision fully integrated solutions such as kits, spacers and shafts. Advanced materials can be incorporated such as steels, tool steels, corrosion resistant steels and polymers. High precision honing, grinding and turning facilities are available on components from 5mm outside diameter up to 250mm. Full class 10000 clean room facilities are available, a laboratory for inspecting material microstructure and a metrology room.
For more information on Schaeffler Llanelli or a brochure entitled ‘UK Design and Manufacturing Solutions from a single source', please telephone the marketing department on 0121 351 3833.
Schaeffler (UK) Ltd,
West Midlands B76 1AP
Tel: 0121 351 3833
Fax: 0121 351 7686