Bearings case study

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Vesconite’s Hitemp 150 hanger bearings have been installed at a palm oil processing factory in Cameroon, Central Africa.

This followed a suggestion to test Vesconite Bearing’s most abrasion-resistant polymer - which also has a high-temperature rating. Abrasion resistance is important for a bearing’s success since wear can result in frequent replacement and factory downtime, while a high temperature rating means that the product can be fitted to screw conveyors with high volumetric flow rates. 

Developing hanger bearing materials for screw conveyors

Resulta Exporters, equipment supplier and engineering process designer for the palm oil producer, has already had significant success using Vesconite, Vesconite Bearings’ standard-grade bearing material. Further, Resulta applied Vesconite Hilube as a hanger bearing, an advanced-grade bearing material. But Resulta, always keen on testing and improving the products it supplies to the agroprocessing industry, looked for further improved materials.

“We have used Vesconite since 2007 and this has contributed to the good reputation Resulta screw conveyors have in the industry,” says Project Engineer Quihen Marais. “We see Vesconite hangers lasting for more than a year,” he notes of the bearing material’s performance in the palm oil industry when the bearing is correctly designed. With the introduction of Hitemp 150, Resulta hopes to see even longer life hanger bearings, as well as further reducing plant downtime. 

Hanger bearings in the palm oil industry

The palm oil industry is notoriously tough on hanger bearings used in the essential screw conveyors that transport palm oil processing plant products, including steriliser fruitlets (oily), cake from press (oily), nuts (non-oily), cracked nuts (kernels and shells, non-oily), kernels only (non-oily) and shells (non-oily). “Hanger bearings are the major source of maintenance and breakdowns on screw conveyors,” says Marais. “Every time a hanger bearing is replaced it comes with costly down time of the factory,” he notes.

According to Marais, hanger bearings that are made from inferior materials often require replacement. They also cause more shaft wear, and this can result in more frequent and expensive shaft replacement. Hanger bearing design can also contribute to failure: “Designing for a very low PV limit (<5) extends the life of the bushings significantly,” Marais explains.

Both of these issues have been combatted with the introduction of Vesconite and Vesconite Hilube, since these are wear-resistant materials and can safely operate without any lubrication below a pressure-velocity rating (PV) of 5 and 8, respectively.

The palm oil industry in Africa

The palm oil industry in Africa is small compared with the industry elsewhere. However, there is considerable scope for growth and significant investment is taking place. 

Resulta has supplied screw conveyors, which include Vesconite Hilube hanger bearings, to the African palm oil industry since 2007. Countries supplied to date include Nigeria, the DRC, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Gabon and Ghana.

Resulta continues to pride itself on high-end processing machinery and engineering solutions, and endeavours to work with its clients to solve their engineering challenges.

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