SKF sealed spherical roller bearings eliminate need for re-greasing

The challenge

A mining operation was experiencing high costs and poor reliability in the pinion drive bearings of mills responsible for crushing iron ore. The pinion drives had open bearings into which grit, dust and contaminants collected. The system included 100 bearing positions and required 100 kg of grease per year, per bearing, to keep them operating. The large amounts of grease meant high costs for purchase and disposal according to environmental requirements.

The grease also created a work environment hazard, as dripping grease often caused slippery floors. High-pressure water, used to wash pinion units, also pushed water and dust into the bearing housing. Water also threatened to seep into nearby electrical motors.

The solution

After testing SKF sealed spherical roller bearings, the operator determined it could eliminate re-greasing, thus negating the need for a central lubrication system.

The result

The SKF sealed spherical roller bearing solution paid for itself in one year, and earned significant cost savings over five years. Additional savings came from reduced downtime for bearing replacement. Eliminating the relubrication system and washdowns should enable the SKF bearings to last 10 years, double the prior 5-year service life.
Total savings over 10 years for reduced grease usage:
Cost for open bearing with grease€ 7 860
Cost for SKF sealed solution€ 3 262
Total savings for one bearing position€ 4 598
Total savings for 100 bearing positions€ 459 800
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