Bearings are indispensable machine components in all types of mechanical systems. If bearings stop working, entire machines can be destroyed along with them.
Given the size and scale of modern mining machinery and operations, bearing failure must be avoided. It is therefore not surprising that so much scientific and technical research is directed towards developing new means of protecting them, and by association the systems of which bearings are a part.
For Ross Lee, CTO – Strategic Partnerships at Radio Canadamuch of his career has been spent engineering bearing applications.
Even so, new surprises and cutting-edge innovations never cease to impress seasoned bearing experts like Lee.
One of these innovations is the Timken ES302 coating, part of the brand’s award-winning Timken Engineered Surface Technology Coatings range.
Simply put, the ES302 provides “Superior Wear-Resisting and Friction-Reducing Coating”, an abbreviated description of this innovation in purpose-designed nanostructured surface coatings, which sets a new standard for maximum durability for spherical rollers, tapered rollers, cylindrical rollers and thrust bearings.
Lee explains the practical importance of the Timken ES302 coating bringing the discussion down to earth.
“In terms of application potential, we’re talking medium to large bearing applications here,” he says. “Think of large dump trucks. Trucks loaded with moving huge tonnages – in coal, iron ore and hard rock mines.
“These are ideal for front line fleet transport vehicles. Their productivity, reliability and availability for mining operations are critical to operations, just like the bearings inside vehicles.
The maximum protection provided by the Timken ES302 coating isn’t necessary for most applications, Lee says.
Rather, its value manifests itself in mining sites subject to extreme conditions causing deterioration of bearing contact surface – where the risks of particulate debris contamination, high load and lubrication deterioration are prevalent. These are exacerbated by the extreme ambient heat made up of already hot transmissions to generate very high operating temperatures.
But sophisticated technology like the Timken ES302 is only as good as its implementation, according to Lee.
“Premature bearing failures occur for many reasons. But before initiating a new solution to the problem, it is imperative that there is an accurate diagnosis of the root cause of bearing damage,” he says.
To this end, site visits by CBC experts – often accompanied by Timken engineers – are essential.
“Providing the best and most cost-effective solutions to our customers is CBC’s top priority,” says Lee.
“Our reputation is built on the expertise and trust we inspire in our customers. We won’t offer solutions until we thoroughly evaluate a customer’s bearing problem and consult with our manufacturing partners, in this case, Timken. When we are satisfied that our assessment is accurate, we can then discuss potential solutions.
“CBC’s hands-on expertise and integrity are key reasons we create and maintain great, long-term relationships with our clients.
Mark Davies, Country Mining Manager for Timken Australia, is justifiably proud of Timken ES302 and the entire range of Timken Engineered Surface coatings.
“ES302 coating technology is only available from Timken,” says Davies. “Our range of coatings is the widest on the market to prevent application-related bearing degradation. But our coatings come into their own once the lubricant begins to age and accumulated contamination, either from the environment or within the application, begins to degrade bearing life.
“If lubricants degrade to such a degree that metal-to-metal contact occurs, our coatings provide wear protection for bearing components and can extend service life under these conditions.”
According to Davies, the ES302 coating underwent extensive testing in the development process to ensure bearing component protection, with a potential lifespan up to six times longer than uncoated bearings.
“I would highlight what Lee says about the quality of the technology based on its implementation,” Davies says. “We want to ensure that our products are recommended and implemented to the highest possible standards. That’s why we work with CBC.