When conventional, heavy-duty roller bearings failed to keep kiln racks rolling at its Fayetteville, N.C., operation, Fayblock Co. turned to McNeil Industries’
When conventional, heavy-duty roller bearings failed to keep kiln racks rolling at its Fayetteville, N.C., operation, Fayblock Co. turned to McNeil Industries’ Maxam bearing. Plant Manager Richard Asbell and Fayblock President Robert Allen sought a solution equal to repeated 12-ton shock loads and prolonged exposure to dust, heat, and moisture.
Fayblock’s automated facility transfers thousands of concrete block onto pallet-based forms before loading the pallets, one by one, onto large, wheeled kiln racks. Holding 81 300-lb. pallets, each rack enters a kiln, where it slowly proceeds down a track during the 12-hour curing process. While the procedure imparts strength and toughness to block, it tortured the roller bearings previously installed on Fayblock’s 57 four-wheeled racks.
The pounding as each of 81 pallets of green block were loaded, followed by hours of heat and steam, exacted a heavy toll, explains Asbell. Downtime was a huge headache, because we would lose production, he recalls. Roller bearings came installed on the racks from the factory. Although we lubed them regularly, they deteriorated, because the load was just too great. Out of 57 racks Û that’s 228 wheels in all Û there were always some in disrepair. When the bearings would begin to deteriorate, the wheels would start skidding, and the racks became difficult to move.
The only thing more challenging than moving a stubborn, 12-ton load was trying to replace the failed bearings while the rack remained in line, Asbell asserts. Each unscheduled repair either impeded production in one of the kilns Û where up to nine racks were being treated simultaneously Û or the main line idled.
When Fayblock’s industrial bearings distributor was contacted, the Maxam bearing was cited for its success in handling shock loads in hot and dusty environments, including steel and brick making, as well as aggregates. After a demonstration, four of the bearings were installed as a test. Since that initial trial, the producer has purchased hundreds of Maxam bearings, modified with a snap ring. Many of the original 228 bearings we installed in 1999 are still in service, says Asbell.
Beyond lubing with a high-temperature grease once every quarter, the bearings have required no maintenance and no repair. The savings Û through increased production and reduced maintenance Û reportedly have been significant. Û www.mcneilindustries.com