What can you do in five minutes?
You have five free minutes. Think about what you can do in that time.
Brew a pot of coffee? Certainly. Make a dinner reservation? Sure. Reply to some emails? Definitely.
Crawl under an oven, inspect hundreds of bearings to identify the one that failed, and then replace the failed bearing?
Doesn’t seem likely, but that’s the situation faced by many of our customers in the bread-making industry.
It’s an issue that occurs in the proving ovens commercial bakeries use to ready loaves to progress through the baking process. Though this isn’t a particularly hot environment, the humidity is significant. As the moisture builds, it will inevitably intrude into the bearings, causing the grease to emulsify.
When the grease changes consistency to this degree, it can leak and risk contamination and increase the chances for a failure.
And failures can leave maintenance teams scrambling. They’ll typically have only five minutes or so to spot the failed bearing and rectify the problem before the production process has to be stopped, and all dough and loaves in the proover have to be scrapped.
Five minutes isn’t really a lot of time, especially when you consider how challenging it can be to work in such wet, slippery conditions. Because of this, we sought a different approach: one that helps bakeries and other manufacturers avoid the five-minute firefighting maintenance by providing bearings that are optimally suited to perform in these unique conditions.
And with SKF bearings utilizing Solid Oil lubrication technology, that’s exactly what we’ve done. Our technology of an oil-rich polymer matrix – instead of traditional grease – provides a strong barrier against moisture, helping to eliminate emulsification and leakage. The bearings are able to provide correct lubrication at all times and for a longer period.
This way, you’ll be able to avoid those frenzied five minutes where your maintenance team searches high and low for that one failed bearing. Plus, by preventing lubricant leakage, you’ll make working conditions much safer – while avoiding contamination risks.
This means fewer hours lost to both planned and unplanned production halts, helping you increase throughput. And by limiting the time your team spends replacing bearings, they’ll have more time – much more than five minutes – available to support other initiatives.