Release time : 2015-06-12 09:59:49
Treofan (TF), with sister companies in Italy, Germany and Mexico, is a leading biaxially orientated manufacturer of Polypropylene films used in the packaging industry. In June 2009, SKF installed a Specialised Chain Lubrication Solution at the South African production plant and, according to Treofan Engineering Manager, Raymond C. Beaton and the Mechanical Chargehand Gert du Plessis, Treofan immediately realised cost saving benefits.
The local Treofan plant uses very long lengths of chain conveyor that operate at strictly controlled speeds in order to obtain optimum stretching and quality. The chain requires high volumes of oil in a total loss system to ensure equal stretching on two sides for the chain Deep Groove Ball Bearings to operate at similar friction. "Chain wear, downtime, oil wastage and cost containment are high on any company's agenda and environmental responsibility is also very important to Treofan", states Gert du Plessis, Charge/Leading Hand - Mechanical, Treofan Group.
Gerard Perumal, SKF Lubrication Solutions Engineer discusses Treofan's manufacturing process: "This process presents a complicated configuration and requires very specific, specialised lubricant as oil contamination can affect quality of the extremely thin stretched Polypropylene film. Cast film is stretched biaxially to thickness from 20 Pm to 40 Pm via a chain with speed fluctuations of between 135 m/min - 150 m/min. Previously, an uncontrolled total loss brush lube system, with no metered quantities and random 24/7 lubrication was being utilised and chain maintenance was high due to wear and tear. Apart from lubricant wastage, downtime presented a massive problem. Treofan decided to remedy what was clearly a most unsatisfactory situation and requested SKF as well as certain other lubrication companies to present a reliable, cost effective solution".
"When we received the enquiry in February 2009 and tabled the SKF centralised MQL to Treofan's engineering department for consideration, it was evident that SKF was the only company with the knowledge, service support and product range to provide a total lubrication system solution - the only one of its kind in South Africa," Perumal reports. "SKF's service and product quality was beyond question, clearly evidenced by Treofan having used SKF Flanged Ball Bearings at the local plant since 1985 and also recently ordered SKF condition monitoring equipment. Treofan is a long standing customer of our distributor, SKF Roodepoort, who is responsible for servicing and product supply. We are rightfully proud of this 24 year relationship built on mutual trust, extraordinary service and superior products," continues Perumal and adds that he believes that SKF's training capabilities, and professional, round the clock service support available from a network of branches and SKF distributors nationally were other contributory factors for Treofan entrusting the lubrication solution to SKF.
Perumal says that SKF engineers paid two site visits and established excellent interaction with Treofan engineers. Based on what the plant inspection revealed, combined with many years of experience and technical knowledge, the SKF team produced the most viable system for the plant within the budget. "We installed a four point Minimal Quantity Lubrication (MQL) oil spray system, with four strategically placed nozzles that project lubricant onto specific, critical lubrication points on two chains. The four nozzles, two on each of the two chains, were set at a predetermined, specified direction to project lubrication to brushes and pins," explains Perumal.
Due to the nature of the process Treofan operates 365 days/7days 24 hours. The SKF VTEC based system comprises of a pump, controller and monitoring unit that delivers optimally directed minimum quantities of oil at regulated intervals, ruling out any unwanted oil contamination. The control unit operates round the clock, to control the lubrication cycle whether idle or active and values can be adjusted at the control centre, containing a 3,3 litre oil tank. This Minimal Quantity Lubrication System was installed over a two day period and another day (23rd June 2009) for commissioning. Gert du Plessis reports that from initial inspections after the installation, Treofan Engineering is anticipating notable cost savings over and above the predicted savings on lubricant consumption in other areas including dramatically less chain and machine maintenance and substantially reduced downtime and lost man hours.
Perumal says that as the Minimal Quantity Lubrication (MQL) system is very user friendly, Treofan technicians will only require training in adjusting the control unit and that 'on floor training' was conducted in July during a follow up visit by the SKF Lubrication Solution staff. The system's interlocking capability for future linking with Treofan's control centre is also a feature of the system that will offer them more control than previously possible.
"The system is working perfectly, the customer has expressed complete satisfaction and from our point of view, this has been a most rewarding and successful project,"comments Perumal. "The customer has stripped the machine once, only to reveal that the chain shows virtually no wear, a clear indication of a well designed integrated solution that delivers on all fronts".
Raymond Beaton and Gert du Plessis says that SKF's lube system has delivered on all expectations within a very short time and the trial run recorded a substantial reduction in plant oil consumption from 5 litres per week to less than one litre over a two week period. "We were using one tenth of the previous quantity of oil which not only represents a massive saving but the reduced oil consumption also benefits our vulnerable environment. Our engineering department has predicted that the plant would reflect annual savings of approximately R1 million and we are more than satisfied with the system as well as the service we have received from SKF,"concludes Raymond Beaton.
Customers have always placed complete trust in SKF to deliver product and service excellence but Perumal believes that the SKF Solutions Factory Africa, launched on 17th July 2009, added to the customer's confidence in the SKF product offering and engineering expertise. The SKF Solution Factory Africa integrates SKF knowledge and capabilities in core technologies with 100 years of industry and application knowledge, positioning SKF South Africa as the ultimate solutions provider. Through substantial investment in physical infrastructure, equipment, people and business processes, SKF's value proposition is to offer customers leading edge technology products and integrated solutions for reduced total cost of ownership (TCO) and enhanced asset performance.
The fully equipped Lubrication Application Centre was one of the latest additions to Solution Factory Africa and includes a workshop, training centre, customisation centre, physical assembly area, specialised test facilities, fire proof grease store and ISO 14001 compliant lubricant trap. SKF brings three integrated solutions to Treofan - Miniature Thrust Bearings, lubrication and project engineering.
After interacting with SKF on this lubrication project and attending the SKF Solutions Factory Africa on the 17th July 2009, Raymond Beaton states that he has full faith in SKF products and the solutions that they have provided and will proved in the future.
Raymond Beaton further states that 90 % of the bearings used on all rotating equipment in the plant are SKF products and wishes to increase this percentage and make more use of SKF products in the future.