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South Africa: Authorised SKF Distributor Bolt and Engineering’s improved lubrication solution extends bearing life for leading North West Mining group  

A TLSD System 24 automatic lubrication solution installed by SKF authorised distributor, Bolt and Engineering (B.E.D.) Distributors Group, has substantially improved the bearing life of vibrator screen motors for a long-standing customer, a foremost South African mining group in the North West Province. As a result, the risk of bearing failure has also been significantly reduced.

Phenyo Ramela, Area Sales Manager at B.E.D.’s Rustenburg branch, explains: “B.E.D. has been supplying the mining group – an important customer – for over 25 years, with a range of product solutions including bearings, belts, pulleys, taper locks and BRG housing; as well as other offerings from our fasteners division.

Due to over-greasing, the customer was faced with the costly challenge of premature bearing failure on its vibrator screen motors at one of the mine’s metal extractor plants. In the quest for a suitable yet cost-effective lubrication solution, the customer requested a trial run before making the final decision regarding the replacement of their lubrication system, which gave B.E.D. the opportunity to participate successfully in this particular project.”

According to Ramela, B.E.D. previously made improvements to a TLSD System 24 lubrication system installed at another mine in the North West Province, with excellent results.

He clarifies: “We recognised that the improved TLSD units would also be a perfect fit for the vibrator screen motors, and on the back of our successful previous installation, we could confidently recommend this lubrication solution to the mine.”

Ramela explains that Kevin Sevenster, B.E.D. Rustenburg’s bearing division’s sales and technical support, had been part of the previous installation: “He played an additional role in this project by customising the cabinets, ensuring they were tamper-proof and that the TLSD units could fit neatly inside,” adds Ramela. 

“It was extremely challenging work, as Kevin had to safely navigate his way through very tight spaces. We therefore had to plan and create safe areas where the pipes could be placed in order to feed the lubricant to the various areas on the vibrator screen – all while working at a height of 4 storeys above ground – and coping with the high temperatures brought about by the nationwide heatwave in January this year.”

Before proceeding with the most recent lubrication system improvements, B.E.D. reached out to Eddie Martens, SKF Product Manager – MaPro. Martens provided valuable input on the lubrication system design, and assisted with the installation itself. Marten’s team also provided the customer with the necessary product training.

Commenting on the improvements, Ramela notes that, in collaboration with Martens, B.E.D. designed a unit box called the SKF TLSD System 24 auto lube, which consists of four TLSDs placed inside a tamper-proof cabinet, with four pipes linked to the vibrator motors.

“We now supply the units within enclosed cabinets, and the technical aspect of our design has improved the effectiveness of the lubrication system,” he enthuses.

The B.E.D. team installed two TLSD System 24 auto lube units – with a total of eight lubricating points on the vibrator screen – situated on the primary section of the metal extractor plant. The solution also included the use of LGHQ2 grease, due to its extremely long grease life and high thermal and mechanical stability.

Ramela explains further: “The solution ensures that lubrication is now done with the correct lubricant, on time, at the correct point, and in the correct amount. The elimination of over-greasing has effectively removed the risk of bearing failure.”

There is furthermore very little chance of unauthorised unit tampering, as these are locked inside branded cabinets.

“As the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) of the units, we are responsible for maintaining and servicing the cabinets on a monthly basis,” says Ramela. adding that when the TLSDs are empty, the customer calls on the B.E.D. team for the necessary replacements or refills.

“In addition to giving us a broader view of the market, the improvements that we have made on the TLSD have also helped us to identify the tremendous potential within the lubrication space,” says Ramela. “We trust that the solutions we have co-created with SKF will allow B.E.D. to be involved in more SKF System 24 auto lubricator installations in the future.”

SKF’s Martens concludes: “As our long-term distributor, with which we have an excellent relationship, we are greatly encouraged by B.E.D.’s willingness not only to sell these solutions to more end-users – but also to adapt them, as required, to suit the customer’s individual needs.”

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