Faced with chronic linear ball bearing failure in carpet tufting machines, one major carpet manufacturer opened its doors to Pacific Bearing Co. to research and test potential solutions to some old and predictable problems.
Carpet tufting machines take a toll on linear components with all the hundreds of fast, short strokes. A typical weeks production is more than 1 million yards of carpet.
Linear motion is a necessity in modern manufacturing plants, yet oftentimes available options are overlooked or unknown – at least until problems provoke a search. In carpet manufacturing, linear bearings are critical components in tufting machinery; in fact, this customer had an average of 36 bearings per machine and more than 250 machines. The problem was a typical one – premature catastrophic failure and product contamination that resulted in yards of scrap carpet.
The self-lubricating material FrelonGOLD in Pacific Bearing’s Simplicity linear bearings eliminated the need for ball bearings, removing a major source of downtime. The Simplicity bearings help keep the carpet equipment running up to three times longer.
The ball bearings were unable to withstand the conditions – aggressive contaminated short strokes and high speeds. These machines run at hundreds of 25 mm strokes per second. The ball bearings experienced high temperatures and shaft spalling, and therefore failed catastrophically soon after installation. In addition, bearing lube often dripped onto the freshly manufactured carpet, causing perpetual scrap.
Working with the customer, engineers at Pacific Bearing replaced the bearings in the feet on the tufting machines with Simplicity bearings. These bearings use FrelonGOLD, a material that eliminates the balls and therefore ball spalling. Because this material is self-lubricating, it eliminated the need for lubrication. In an unusual move, the customer was able to replace many bearings while saving and using the slightly damaged shafts from the old linear ball bearing systems. Pacific Bearing recommends new shafting when installing Simplicity bearings.
The results were immediate. Production increased 10%. Scrap was eliminated, and the time between rebuilds tripled. Reduction in inertia in turn lowered energy costs and all of the above factors increased profits. One facility reported the following: In a typical week, it produces 1.26 million yards of carpet, however 28 machines would lose 32,000 to 54,000 yards a week in scrap. With the Simplicity bearings, that number has fallen to a mere 2000 to 3000 yards of scrap per week. Couple that with running up to three times longer without having to rebuild machines, and it all adds up to big-time savings.
: Design World :
Filed Under: Bearings