Split roller bearings, designed specifically for proactive maintenance requirements, may assist with the industry-wide trend of companies reducing their maintenance budgets and staff to cut costs, says specialist bearings manufacturer Cooper Bearings product manager for Southern Africa Matthew Tyler.
“The prevailing trend is simply to replace components as and when they break or malfunction. Further, the skills shortage facing South African industries also means there is a need for products that are easy to install, with minimum training requirements. This is where Cooper split roller bearings add measurable value,” he explains.
“Cooper continues to enhance its products through ongoing investment in new machine tools and modern manufacturing techniques. In addition, continuous advances in materials science allows for [the company] to produce bearings with higher capacities in accordance with the changing requirements of the market,” says Cooper sales director for Europe and the Middle East Tom Black.
Highlighting the company as a global leader in split roller bearings, Black says Cooper estimates its share of the global split roller bearing market to be about 85%. “Thus, we are the world leader by a considerable margin and certainly we have the largest installed base of split roller bearings of any other manufacturer in Africa,” he says.
The main advantage of Cooper split roller bearings is that they are split right to the shaft. “The reason for this is to allow the bearing to be changed when the life of the bearing comes to an end; this can be done much more easily than with a solid bearing,” Black points out, adding that the machinery in question is quickly back in operation.
Moreover, the bearings can also be removed without dismantling any ancillary equipment. They can even be replaced on-site by any fitter with experience in an industrial environment.
“We give our customers the assurance that, when their plant goes down, they will recoup a significant quantity of that lost production in terms of reduced maintenance time. Industries including the cement, marine, food and beverage, mining, sugar, pulp and paper, and materials handling sectors can all benefit from the Cooper split roller bearings range,” Tyler continues.
Cooper bearings are made from carbon chrome steel for added robustness, with the outer housings and cartridges made from cast iron. Bearings International carries local stock of up to 300 mm to cater for most shaft applications and can customise products for specific applications. Existing installations can be converted to Cooper split roller bearings through minimal modifications.
The products are manufactured in the UK according to strict quality and manufacturing standards, ensuring that they are suitable for the harsh operating conditions in Africa.
In a traditional solid bearing, the seal is contained in a static housing, which causes a gap in the event of any shaft misalignment. This gap allows for the ingress of contaminants such as dust, dirt or water, which is a major cause of bearing failure. The sealing arrangement and split nature of the roller bearing is what gives Cooper its extended life span, even under the harshest operating conditions.
Tyler says Cooper usually designs valves to last 100 000 hours, which equates to 12 years’ continuous operation on a 24/7 basis. “This is where Cooper really outshines the competition, as its products are easy to maintain and inspect, owing to the fact that the lubrication enters the bearing directly, as opposed to the cavity alongside the bearing.
“Cooper pioneered the split roller bearing in 1907 and has continued to advance the technology ever since,” he concludes.
Cooper Bearings are distributed locally by bearings supplier Bearings International.