Maintenance Matters
Moving more for less

Material handling is the process of moving materials or objects from one point to another. This is usually done with equipment designed to operate in an effective and efficient manner for minimal maintenance and costs. Although material handling is usually thought of as simple conveyors, it also covers applications such as cranes, elevators and escalators.

Specific applications can vary widely, however, one of the key driving factors is reliability as the result of a failure can result in stopping production or processing and also unplanned downtime and cost.

Sealed bearings

In the food and beverage, mining and mineral processing and timber industries there are a large number of conveyors to move product through the plant with moderate to high contamination levels in the surrounding environment. Although the bearings themselves normally require very little lubrication, frequent greasing is often used as a part of maintenance to keep contamination out of the bearings to improve reliability. Every time a bearing is greased though there is an opportunity for contamination and in the case of Y-bearings, excessive grease can result in the seals being pushed out of the bearings.

SKF offers a range of Y-bearings with effective sealing design to keep contamination out of the bearings and allow for relubrication free operation, under many conveying conditions with the 2RF seal – used on industrial and food line Y-bearings showing good success.

In larger bulk conveying applications using roller type bearings, the SKF three barrier solution using the SKF sealed spherical roller bearing, has proven to be extremely effective at excluding contamination under harsh operating conditions while reducing grease consumption. Addition of the improved SKF taconite seal with axial labyrinth design makes installation easier and increases the effectiveness of the seal.

Sealed spherical rollers and Solid Oil variants have also proven very effective on inclined auger applications where contamination from the process and environment can often lead to premature failure.

Automatic lubrication

The nature of some plants requires materials or objects to be lifted or lowered to areas where access is difficult and as a result maintenance tasks can be challenging and health & safety requirements can be either costly, or require the plant to be shut down temporarily. The use of remote grease lines in hard to reach locations has improved maintenance, however this is not always a suitable solution.

Single point and multi-point lubricators have provided consistent reliable lubrication for hard to reach points with LAGD gas powered lubrication units and TLSD battery powered systems. SKF TLMR units are available in 120 and 380ml reservoir sizes and can be operated by external 12 volt supply or internal battery with lubrication periods up to 24 months allowing long term lubrication.

For applications where serval lubrication points are in close proximity, such as on head or tail drums with two bearings and labyrinths requiring lubrication, the SKF MultiPoint TLMP lubricator can provide accurate lubrication along with machine steering to start and stop the lubrication system. The TLMP unit can lubricate between one to 18 lubrication points and has a maximum lubrication distance from the unit of five metres.

For further information, please contact your local SKF Authorised Distributor or visit

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