Does anyone remember Victor Kiam from the Remington adverts in the 1980's? Not many people do but he was a gentleman that loved the Remington shaver so much in 1979, he bought the company. Well it turns out we have a similar story right here in Australia with Rodney Fitzpatrick, owner of Lubrication Engineering.
‘I began my sales career at Lubrication Engineers Australia in 1985 as a junior sales representative and progressed to State Manager Victoria. I was then head hunted by Shell Australia to set up their Specialty Mining Lubricants Business. Having been exposed to a vast array of lubricants in the industry, I knew where to turn my attention. I left Shell in 2007 and returned to Lubrication Engineers Australia and purchased the business', Rodney said.
‘We were recently challenged by Rio Tinto with several sites reporting short life, (3-6-month failure rates) on their Schenck 604 series exciter gearboxes. Detailed analysis showed that the exciter gearbox failures were predominantly bearing related' Rodney explained.
‘Rio tried several solutions to fix the problem including alternate bearing suppliers, changes in oil and viscosity however all of these were unsuccessful. Eventually, the Asset Management team identified that lack of lubrication in the top bearing was the root cause of the failures.'
When Rio Tinto approached Lubrication Engineering, they recommended a trial be conducted using a product known as Duolec manufactured by specialty lubricants company Lubrication Engineers Incorporated.
‘Duolec is a semi-synthetic gear oil which does things no oil should be able to do' explained Rodney.
According to Rodney, the gear oil contains LE Inc's dual acting additive called Duolec that provides both extreme wear and EP protection and is fortified with a shear stable tackifier to provide best-in-class adhesion to metal during use, even in the presence of high-water content.
Rodney explained that Rio Tinto conducted several bench tests to identify the cause of lubrication starvation in the top bearing. Two gearboxes on test stands were installed with clear covers to enable adequate inspection of the bearings during operation. One was filled with their existing SH220 synthetic gear oil and the other with LE Inc's Duolec 1605 220cSt oil.
‘What Rio saw was remarkable' said Rodney.
‘During the trials they found that their existing SH220 synthetic gear oil only climbed into the upper bearing after the exciter had reached 800rpm. In contrast LE Inc's Duolec achieved this at 400rpm.
According to Rodney, following this initial trial, each gearbox was left to sit idle for a period of 3 days at which time the top bearing was inspected to ascertain the volume of residual oil in the bearing, which would provide initial lubrication on start-up.
‘Rio were amazed to find that their existing oil had completely drained from the bearing however the Duolec oil remained in place with a significant oil wedge still present when manually turned over by hand'.
Following the success of Duolec in the bench trials, Rio elected to extend the trial onto 6 heavily loaded exciter screens at one of their sites with the goal of achieving a life cycle of 48 weeks.
‘After 56-weeks of normal operation, the site had not had a single failure of the 6 gearboxes using our Duolec gear oil', explains Rodney excitedly.
Rodney goes on to say. ‘Rio elected to strip down one of the gearboxes for inspection after this run period. This process included a road trip to Perth and a 3-week period before the strip down and inspection was completed.
After stripping the gearbox down, the Duolec still clung to all the internal components including the bearing raceways. The inspection also showed the original machining marks on the bearings with virtually no visible signs of wear. We never cease to be amazed by this product', said Rodney.
‘Obviously this is a great result for both Lubrication Engineering and Rio Tinto. So much so, they have now specified the Duolec product on all their exciter gearboxes. Whilst it's true they have to invest more for this superior gear oil, this is completely offset by the benefits of extended equipment life and associated performance', Rodney said.
Lubrication Engineering is the trusted supplier of choice for innovative lubrication maintenance solutions. We are the premier supplier of high-performance lubrication equipment and lubricants within Australia.
We deliver holistic solutions that improve performance, reliability and increase long-term profitability, through a process of on-site consultation and includes all aspects of the lubrication circle of reliability.
For More information please contact:
Lubrication Engineering Pty Ltd
26 Prince William Drive, Seven Hills, NSW 2147
Ph: + 61 2 9636 5655 Fax: + 61 2 9636 8566
Mob: + 61 (0)418 179 841
Duolec Industrial Gear Oil
Lubrication Engineering Pty Ltd