A convenient and cost-effective option for ageing African mines, some of them 50 to 60 years’ old, is to have their geared units professionally and cost-effectively refurbished by SEW-EURODRIVE (Pty) Ltd. Supplementing its refurbishment capability, the drive engineering specialist can also offer a drop-in gearbox replacement service.
Geared units are particularly difficult to refurbish or modify on mines, as their large size means that production has to be halted temporarily in order to gain access. This has a hugely negative impact on any mining operation’s bottom line. Thus, many mines hold out on replacing these essential high-capex items for as long as possible. SEW-EURODRIVE is now able to replace historically-inefficient worm gear units with the latest helical and helical bevel gearboxes, made from case-hardened steel for maximum durability.
The major advantage for mining clients, in particular, is that no modification to or adjustment of the original geared unit is required. “The drop-in replacement is based on a fabricated case that matches all critical dimensions of the existing gearbox exactly, and with improved mechanical and thermal ratings,” says SEW-EURODRIVE National Sales and Marketing Manager Norman Maleka.
While traditional worm gearboxes are only 60% to 70% efficient, helical or bevel helical units are up to 99% efficient. This is because the tooth profile, tooth pitch, and pressure angles, in addition to the precision case-hardened and fine-ground profiles, have been optimised to provide the highest torque possible, while maintaining maximum efficiency.
What makes the drop-in replacement service particularly attractive, in conjunction with refurbishment, is that the cost of repairing a worm gear unit usually exceeds its replacement cost. Factors that need to be taken into account are the associated downtime when the unit is out of service, together with the total removal, repair, and replacement cost.
An order can be placed for a drop-in replacement in advance, which enhances to the cost-effectiveness of the solution. When an ageing drive is ready to be replaced, a modern drive can be assembled, delivered, and installed at the same time as the old drive is removed. “One must bear in mind that the drop-in replacement is a completely new unit, in addition to being the most efficient technology,” Maleka elaborates.
Drive engineering specialist
Drop-in replacement units can cater for any competitor gearboxes, and are ideal for a range of industries, from cement and sugar mills to agriculture and milling, power generation, mining and conveying (materials handling), and water and wastewater treatment plants.
What’s more, the drop-in replacement service is ideal for these industries to take advantage of the latest technological developments from the drive engineering specialist, such as its X/M Series helical and helical bevel gearboxes. Some units are assembled in Nelspruit, translating into fast turnaround times and maximum stockholding.
Another advantage is that the client is already familiar with the older unit, which means that specialised technicians or support is not required for the drop-in replacement. The latest X/M Series has been designed to deliver better power and torque. The footprint, shaft centre distance and centre height and the input/output shaft diameter remain the same. Thus the installation process is exactly the same as with the older unit.
SEW-EURODRIVE has focused on this drop-in replacement service as a means to add maximum value to its clients’ operations by supplementing its refurbishment capability, as well as keeping them up to speed with the latest advances. “Service and support are key differentiators, especially in the prevailing market conditions where margins are constrained, meaning that factors such as energy-efficiency are increasingly important in curtailing costs,” Maleka concludes.