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Breakdown Avoided Thanks To Condition Monitoring

15 January 2013

Thanks to the swift response of a diagnostic monitoring and back-up service from Siemens Mechanical Drives, a raw mill at a major cement manufacturer’s UK site has maintained vital production throughput.

The company had a programme of pro-active maintenance in place, opting for a condition monitoring service from Siemens for the plant critical drive unit running the raw mill. This particular unit was a Siemens Combiflex DMGH, measuring around 2.5m tall by approximately one metre wide. At the heart of the unit was a Flender girth gear, and the monitoring service Siemens operated ensured regular checks were made on bearings, vibration analysis and wear characteristics.

Siemens service engineer Steve Stratton identified the early stages of potential bearing failure during one of these routine checks, and plans were quickly put in place for a scheduled shutdown.

So important was this gear unit to the smooth operation of the raw mill, that the cement producer kept a complete spare gear unit on site. During the planned shutdown this was quickly installed and the other gear unit returned to Siemens Mechanical Drives at Leeds for checks, where the early stages of bearing failure were found. The unit was serviced and given a bearing and seal change before being swiftly returned to site on standby as a spare.

The costs of servicing the unit were about £40,000, but because the changeover was forward planned, it caused minimal disruption or plant downtime. Had condition monitoring not been in place and the bearing failed, the resulting damage and costs in lost production to the company would have been huge.