Case Studies & Field Reports

A machine is only as good as its ball bearings

bearing fallures baldo dodge ultra kleen ss ball
Bearing failures on this roll-sizer caused significant downtime at the Lamb Weston potato products plant. After installing Baldor’s Dodge ULTRA KLEEN SS ball bearings, the machine went from being the least reliable to the most reliable. Inset: The new bearings feature SS inserts and are filled with H1 food-grade grease. The QuadGuard sealing system and Maxlife cage help retain lubrication and prevent washout in wet environments. Source: Baldor-Dodge.
A new set of bearings changes the least-reliable machine to the most-reliable machine in the plant.
 
ConAgra Foods is dedicated to making the food people love and doing it in an environmentally responsible way. As part of its sustainability strategy, the company has set aggressive goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, waste and packaging. 
 
In early 2010, increasing plant uptime became a major project at the Lamb Weston potato products plant in Connell, WA. The plant makes French fries and other potato products, primarily for the commercial marketplace. Plant Maintenance Manager Colin Walters worked with a corporate team to identify the top downtime-producing pieces of equipment in the plant. They pored over data collected over a two-year period, identifying equipment failures and whether the downtime was associated with operational issues or a mechanical or electrical failure. Walters says the numbers pointed to a roll-sizer as one of the least-reliable pieces of equipment in the plant.
 
“In fiscal year 2010, the plant ran 48 weeks of production,” explains Walters. “During 29 of those 48 weeks, we experienced at least one downtime event on this roll-sizer, which added up to 2,700 minutes of capacity loss. We took a closer look and found the majority of the failures were related to the bearings on the machine.”
There are 22 bearings on the roll-sizer, one on each end of the 11 tapered rollers that drop cleaned-and-peeled potatoes by size into the appropriate flume, carrying them to the knives to be cut into fries. 
 
“Because the bearings were always at different states of wear on this machine, they caused uneven wear on sprockets and failures with drives and chains,” says Walters. “We believed that if we installed a better bearing, we could significantly reduce downtime on this machine.”
 
To help find that better bearing, Walters called Jeff Stroben at Applied Industrial Technologies’ Pasco Service Center. Stroben, who has called on the Connell plant for the past 21 years, took a closer look. He said poor sealing was the primary factor in bearing failure. 
 
Stroben recommended the Baldor-Dodge ULTRA KLEEN stainless steel ball bearing, which offers a triple-lip sealing system plus a cage that holds in the grease and prevents it from being washed out. 
 
At first, Walters considered changing out only half the bearings, but then quickly decided that to get an accurate comparison, all of them needed to be changed. “Since installing these Dodge bearings in the first week of August 2010, we have had no downtime event caused by bearings on this machine,” says Walters. “Again, the numbers tell the story about this success, because we have run the plant 56 consecutive weeks without experiencing any bearing or drive failures. It’s amazing how this machine has moved from least reliable to most reliable just by changing bearings.”
 
For more information:
Jim Ludwig, 864-383-2786, joludwig@baldor.com

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

IPPE 2015

The 2015 International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) was held in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center, Jan. 27-29. More than 30,000 poultry, meat and feed industry representatives attended the event to interact with the 1,288 exhibitors on the show floor that covered more than 490,000 net square feet. At the show exhibitors demonstrated innovations in equipment, supplies and services utilized by firm in the production and processing of meat, poultry, eggs and feed products.

Podcasts

Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

Food Engineering

Food Engineering March 2015 cover

2015 March

In this March 2015 issue of Food Engineering, we explore how a surprise FDA audit could be serious if you're not recording key data.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Plant Facility/Site Issues

What issue about your current plant facility/site keeps you up the most at night?
View Results Poll Archive

THE FOOD ENGINEERING STORE

Food-Authentication-Flyer-(.gif
Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

STAY CONNECTED

FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.png linkedin_40px.pngGoogle +

Food Master

Food Engineering Food Master 2015Food Master 2015 is now available!

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit www.foodmaster.com to learn more.