A Comprehensive Solution for Bolt Performance and Longevity by Boltstress Technical Services
A major mining company based in Port-Hedland relied heavily on the bucket wheel reclaimer for a bulk of their operations. This tool is responsible for reclaiming bulk iron ore, which is conveyed to another component - the Lump rescreening plant.
Regular servicing is a necessity to maintain the bucket reclaimer's optimal performance. It is expected to obtain a 14,000-ton per hour flow rate during each operation. Furthermore, it must be able to move to any position to reach the ore.
This is made possible by the slewing ring, and its bearing is the primary piece that accommodates the load coming from any direction. Thus, accurate tensioning is required to ensure the peak performance of the slewing ring.
The team at Boltstress Technical Services introduced a more efficient and more thorough means of servicing slewing ring bearings. The result: 100% of the bolts were tested and checked instead of the previous 10%.
This led to an enhanced bearing accuracy and lifespan, prevention of unscheduled downtimes, and elimination of safety risks in the workplace such as line-of-fire and pinch point injury. All of these resulted in an increase in the client's bottom line as business productivity improved and unnecessary expenses on machinery repairs were prevented.
The challenges that BTS worked with were three-fold:
1. Lack of an efficient and accurate means of servicing slew ring bearings;
2. Production losses when bearings were being serviced; and
3. Safety hazards in the workplace
Lack of an Efficient and Accurate Means of Servicing Slew Ring Bearings
Prior to commissioning the BTS, the mining company assigned two personnel to service slewing ring bearings. One was tasked to operate the pump while the other tightened bolts using a hydraulic bolt tensioner or a standard torque wrench.
However, it did not result in an accurate measurement of bolt tension. They had no means of determining if the desirable tension range was achieved. Moreover, it was a laborious process and only a maximum of 10 percent of the bolts were inspected.
Production Losses When Bearings Were Being Serviced
Due to the inaccuracy of the original servicing methods used, this has led to an eventual need for a replacement. Thus, it interrupted business productivity and caused production losses during this servicing period.
Safety Hazards in the Workplace
The issue with defective bearings increased the chances of pinch points. In addition, there was a high risk of line-of-fire, which impacted the overall safety of individuals in the workplace.