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SKF Explorer bearings halve consumption for ArcelorMittal

SKF Explorer spherical roller bearing

2014 March 12, 09:00 GMT

SKF’s knowledge, experience and recently upgraded SKF Explorer self-aligning roller bearing assortment were put to the test when ArcelorMittal Mining, one of Canada's leading suppliers of iron ore to steel markets around the world, asked for assistance. ArcelorMittal was experiencing lengthy repair delays on the roller screen that helps the company achieve full production capacity at its iron ore pellet plant in Quebec and a solution was urgently required. These delays resulted from the frequent replacement of bearings and were causing the company to miss vital production targets, as well as putting a strain on resources.

The harsh conditions and tough lubricants required were resulting in rapid surface contamination of bearings within the roller screen, which sorts pellets to the correct size before they are hardened in the furnace. When fully functioning, this vital component in the ArcelorMittal mining process helps the company achieve its capacity of processing 9 million pellets annually and plays a key role in the quality of product delivered. However, any failure causes serious interruptions to production and necessitates costly downtime.

The solution to the problem came in the form of SKF Explorer self-aligning roller bearings. Recently upgraded to offer the best abrasion resistance characteristics on the market, SKF extended MTBF (mean time before failure) for ArcelorMittal from 6 to at least 12 months and also reduced the associated maintenance costs, bringing the overall annual saving to $20,000.

Combining the clean and homogenous high-quality steel used in the original SKF Explorer bearings with an improved heat treatment process, upgraded SKF Explorer bearings provide longer service life, particularly under difficult operating conditions. When SKF materials experts developed the upgraded bearing steel, they tested it against the best – original SKF Explorer bearing steel. During these demanding tests, researchers were not interested in knowing how much better the upgraded SKF Explorer bearings would perform compared to the competition. They wanted to know how much better they would perform against an already proven leader in the market.

When compared to original SKF Explorer bearings, the upgraded bearings have a superior balance between hardness and toughness. This advancement gives SKF Explorer self-aligning roller bearings a higher degree of wear resistance, enabling longer service life, especially in applications affected by high contamination or poor lubrication conditions,such as those found within the mining and quarrying industry.

The SKF Explorer performance class has been certified by Det Norske Veritas and Germanischer Lloyd to last longer than standard bearings.

SKF’s knowledge and experience as both a consultant and a supplier has proved its worth time and time again in mining and beyond. “I appreciate the proactive work performed by SKF in identifying areas of improvement,” commented Martin Fournier of ArcelorMittal. “Through discussion and analysis, SKF has been able to turn my issues into real-life applicable solutions that have saved us valuable time and resources”. 

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