We often talk about the many different ways BEKA can improve lubrication service in industrial applications. A couple of recent installations demonstrate the range of solutions that we can develop – all customized to the specific needs of each process.
In the first instance, we provided systems to serve both an oven line and a packaging line for a leading brand of breakfast cereals.
Taking the heat
The oven line included more than 270 roller bearings, each with a lube point. The maintenance department had been lubricating the line manually, with 2-3 grams of grease going to each bearing. As a result, the line was shut down for a full day about once a week to do the service.
Our solution was to divide the line into sections and to then install a series of grease circuits served from one central point. Lubrication is still completed manually, but now service is done at just 22 points, instead of 270. Our customer is saving hours of scheduled maintenance every week and could convert it to an automated system at any time.
For the packaging line, we upgraded the lubrication from a manual to an automatic lubrication system. Staff was previously applying oil onto conveyor chains with brushes. We used BEKA’s EP1 pumps to deliver oil rather than grease. Our tubing feeds the oil to horsehair brushes, which apply the lubricant as the chain goes by. (We also have standard nylon brushes, but our experience at another bakery showed that horsehair is better suited for service in these high wear applications.)
The automated system is ideal for use in an oven or proofer, with continuous accurate dosing to minimize any risk of a component failing inside an oven loaded with bread or cereal or pizza!
We learned quickly that this customer achieved the desired results from our system, as we are now upgrading the rest of the lines over a period of time.
In our second case, we automated the lubrication for a CNC machining station to manufacture products used in global construction products. The customer was aware of our systems, as BEKA pumps were built into equipment they had purchased from the OEM in Germany. When they initiated a search for ongoing solutions and support, our office in Canada responded. From the outset, they wrote to us to express appreciation for timeliness and the technical detail in our submission.
The project involved over 100 grease points in the CNC machine. Routine service was especially time-consuming because staff needed 3 hours to dismantle the equipment before they could gain access to the service points. Then, of course, they had to re-assemble the machine after the lubrication was complete.
With BEKA’s automated lubrication, the downtime for lube service is eliminated. Even better, the system applies precise doses of lubricant continuously, while the parts are moving. In such a high-speed heavy-duty application, continuous lubrication will extend the life of the equipment. Our system is saving capital costs for the customer, as well as improving operating costs and productivity.
Again, we’ve already received the customer’s PO to equip a second installation of the same machine.
More ways to adapt
BEKA’s ingenuity in autolube technology really come to the forefront in these industrial projects. We have a tremendous array of technical options at our disposal to spec the right system for each case. Our industrial line-up include a specialized range of grease and oil pumps; various reservoirs and voltages, injectors and distribution blocks. We can adapt the hardware and controls to virtually any lube type, including high-temperature food grade greases and oils – and we will always take time to verify that our componentry and your oils will work together as specified. We can also meet special requirements, such as explosion proofing, and we can advise on integrating our fault monitoring programming with an error code reporting on the rest of your process.
We truly understand that the last thing you want in your production process is a failure that shuts the whole line down. If we don’t have the exact solution your equipment and products need, we’ll create it! That’s how BEKA earns their keep, to keep you running smoother and running longer with no unscheduled downtime.
If you have any questions about your system or wonder which BEKA system is best suited for your process, give us a call at 1-888-862-7461 or send us an email.
For anyone who owns big machinery, it’s a common sight to see technicians scrambling around up, over, under and on the equipment. Routine maintenance often involves climbing up on machine decks, scaffolding or ladders to reach service points located on booms, upper conveyors and transports high above the floor level. Awkward locations and slippery surfaces can make machine service a dangerous occupation.
Don’t put technicians in harm’s way
The wide range of auto-lubrication solutions available today can eliminate many of the hazards that service staff will face on a daily basis.
It’s human nature for technicians to strive to meet high expectations to complete their tasks quickly. Their whole purpose is to keep the equipment up & running, not sitting idle while they grease a production unit. They are always working under pressure, often fatigued and without thinking about it, drawn to take shortcuts that might put their safety in jeopardy. In recent years, too, we’ve seen trends toward asking fewer staff to do more work thereby putting safety concerns at even greater risk.
Automated lubrication can alleviate both sides of the problem: less downtime for the operation, and increased safety for service crews.
Keep the equipment running
In facilities that run continuously operating equipment, such as a sawmill or conveyors, progressive grease circuits allow continuous lubrication throughout the process. Operation Managers will install safety barriers around process machines to keep crews out of harm’s way. To service the machines manually, the line has to be shut down. BEKA systems, however, offer a choice of programmable pumps or central lube points that allow techs to complete grease service from behind the fence, even while the equipment is still running. There’s no more need to climb ramps or crawl under the equipment with a tool kit, simply to apply grease.
Single point access on the safe side of the safety fence. This is a great way to keep your maintenance personnel safely away from the danger zones.
Similar solutions are available for mobile equipment. OEMs increasingly equip large cranes, excavators and material handlers with extensive guarding to protect staff who require service access to various parts of the machine. But most of their lubrication needs can be met without having to leave the ground in the first place. Even for the most remote bearings and pinions, a compact lube pump like BEKAONE can be installed right at the service point to provide continuous, long lasting service.
We recall one employer who was unsatisfied with the safety of the service procedure for a large dozer, which required a worker to reach around its blade mechanisms to grease the blade hoist manually. We installed a single remote lube point a safe distance from the blade. This remote zerk feeds a grease block which delivers grease to all of the blade’s service points. This solution not only prevents injury, it saves time every working day.
Experienced service crews are among the most valuable assets for any processing or heavy equipment operation. It pays to protect them from needless hazards and let them focus their skills on the more demanding tasks that only they can do.
Want to talk to us about enhancing safety in your operation? Call 1-888-862-7461 or send us an email. We will be pleased to connect you up with one of our technical service engineers and your local BEKAWORLD dealer.
With “Earth Day” on the horizon (Sunday, April 22, 2018), we’re thinking all the ways BEKA contributes to a greener, more sustainable industrial footprint on our planet. We seem to have different roles to play in many sectors, including some that could surprise you.
Live long and prosper!
“Reduce, reuse, recycle” are the long-time watchwords of environmental responsibility. “Reduce” comes first, and we’re quite proud of how BEKA products helps customers reduce waste and improve efficiency.
By extending the life of bearings and machine components, our autolube systems reduce the volume of machine consumables going into the waste stream. With improved maintenance, machine life is longer, too, so you don’t have to replace it as often and you also get to reduce unscheduled downtime. Equipment that runs smoothly also consumes less energy and, with our precise dosing, our systems also mean less grease is wasted. More importantly, when less grease is spilled, there’s less of a possibility of it contaminating the soil, infiltrating the water table or creating unsafe situations in work zones.
Curbing noise pollution for cities
Autolube is integral to the mass transit system, keeping trains, LRTs and street cars running efficiently and cleanly. But we’re not just in the typical systems for street cars and trolley applications where you normally see BEKA autolube on vehicles. We also supply systems for street cars and trolleys, using specialty lubricants to “wet down” the tracks. The lubricant helps to muffle the track noise of the heavy trolleys. So, we’re reducing sound emissions as well as the energy needs of transit vehicles. Around the world, LRTs are using similar BEKA technology to spray the wheels of the train as they go into curves, again reducing “noise pollution” in urban areas.
Cutting the cost of green energy
Wind power continues to grow as a green energy source. However, those large wind turbines bring some unique challenges with them. Due to their typically remote locations, servicing the towers is a major factor in their cost. Autolube is virtually universal for their generators today – even older turbines are being retrofitted with BEKA Automated Lubrication Systems to increase their reliability and extend their lifecycle. It’s estimated that the cost of replacing a failed generator is upwards of $100,000 for a service call. Extracting, reinstalling and recommissioning the generator requires a crane and crew to visit the site twice. Plus, there’s the actual cost of repairing or rebuilding the generator, the downtime costs of lost productivity and revenue lost while the turbine is out of service.
There’s much more to be done, of course, to help industry and our natural environment to co-exist on this planet. But with our attention focused on using resources well and saving energy, BEKA offers all of our customers a way to be part of the green solution for future generations.
If you have any questions about how BEKA can increase your operation’s bottom line while reducing your overall maintenance costs with the installation of a BEKA system, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are looking forward to working with you to enhance your productivity and profitability.
For an over-the-highway truck driver a long way from home, one of the last things on his mind is the grease on his tractor-trailer’s fifth wheel. Until, that is, the heavy load behind him starts doing some of the steering for him … at a not-so-comfortable 65 mph.
Without proper lubrication, the natural friction of the two flat metal surfaces connecting at the fifth wheel will increasingly hinder the free movement required during actual driving and hauling operations. Especially in cold weather, the metal-on-metal seizing can prevent the tractor-trailer unit from turning correctly.
A problematic situation
The result is a tractor-trailer unit that will become increasingly difficult to steer, handle and stabilize. This can stress both the driver and the equipment, to the point of required costly repairs and, potentially, even catastrophic and tragic results. The damage can range from worn tires, to chafed upper and lower fifth wheel plates, to actual disengagement of the tractor-trailer unit!
To avoid such issues, some truck and trailer equipment suppliers have experimented with lubrication-free fifth wheels, while others have introduced slippery pads to eliminate the need for lubrication. However, the overwhelming majority of tractor-trailers in use today still require good ol’ grease on their fifth wheels.
An autolube system from BEKA offers a safe, clean, efficient way to ensure your truck’s fifth wheel is getting just the right amount of lubrication.
Not too much, not too little
As with all of our automatic lubrication systems, our fifth-wheel solution is designed to supply the optimum amount of grease, whether it be as a stand-alone system or part of a vehicle package.
We’ve all seen trucks “bobtailing” down the road with globs of grease on their fifth wheels. They’ve probably just come out of the shop and are on their way to a nearby yard to pick up a trailer to head out on the highway.
Well, as soon as the driver backs that tractor up to the trailer, the vast majority of that grease will be pushed away, either onto the nose of the trailer or, perhaps even worse, onto the ground. This is not only a useless waste of resources, but environmentally unfriendly and creates a dangerous situation.
How it works
When we install an autolube system, we drill and tap the channels or grooves that are built into the fifth wheel design. The grease is then metered up and along these channels, smearing across the flat surface of the fifth wheel while the tractor-trailer moves down the highway. The standard is for four such access points, but we can also attach two additional points at the fifth wheel pivots.
Are you passing through Toronto region anytime from April 19th to the 21st? If so, stop by our booth at Truck World Show at the International Center and talk to Matt or Mike.
Learn why this is going to make your ride safer and save you money in maintenance costs. While you are there, ask them about the time limited BEKA Truck Show Special. Can’t make it to the show? Drop us a line at email@example.com and we will “hook you up”.
Our BEKA team has a special connection to truck drivers. Some of us have been there. We know them, we know their families, and more than anything in the world, we want them to return home safely from every single trip.
Hold on now! You’re not done here yet!
That was a smart move, installing one of BEKA’s autolube systems. But just because your lube servicing now runs “automatically” doesn’t mean you can simply “set it and forget it.”
You don’t have to worry about reaching and servicing all those grease points anymore but your autolube system should still be part of your daily walkaround. You look after your BEKA system and it will look after you!
Daily fill checks
Just as you inspect your brakes and hydraulic lines and electrical system every day, your autolube system deserves a daily inspection, too. Your autolube doesn’t take a lot of time or care but it does need your attention.
The first thing to look for is the fill level in the pump’s grease reservoir. Of course, you have to be sure it has enough grease to continue supplying the lines and serving your lube points. By checking daily, you’ll also notice any alerts that may indicate a problem elsewhere in the system.
**Remember: when you refill the reservoir, use only a grease that’s compatible with the one you already have in the lines. Mixing different chemistries, such as moly vs lithium, can create costly problems throughout your equipment!
If you find you are refilling the reservoir frequently, you can look into extending the refill intervals by swapping in a larger reservoir. We have several sizes available for many of the pumps.
Inspect lines & fittings
A routine inspection brings your focus to most of the areas on your equipment that are being serviced by the autolube. Take a moment to check on the condition of the grease lines and fittings. Look for signs of leaking grease, including telltale spots on the ground.
Depending on how you spec’d your autolube, you may also have help from our optional alarms and sensors that will indicate low fill levels or a blockage in the grease lines. The alert indicators may be right on the housing of the pumps or they might be transmitted to a remote display in the cab or in your shop.
We make it easy!
You’ll be glad to know that choosing BEKA makes your autolube maintenance even easier. Most lube pumps rely on spring drives that are subject to contamination from the grease elements inside. BEKA’s springless design, using an eccentric gear drive, saves you the time and expense of replacing pump elements which rely on springs for reloading the grease. BEKA’s cast aluminum base also provides better resistance to impact, vibration and harsh weather. You won’t find the corrosion that can compromise pumps with other metal housings nor the cracks that can appear in plastic bases.
It’s really that easy. We build our systems to make life easier for you. Just show your autolube that you care once a day and it will keep you running smooth for years to come.
How about that: a record-breaking year already!
Yes, the New Year rang in with the coldest temperatures on record for many parts of North America, including our hometown in the balmy south of Canada. Through most of the holiday season, our days were dipping down to lows well past ‑20oC (-4oF). That’s cold enough to give your toughest machines the shivers!
If you’re running equipment in the Far North, you are probably used to preparing your equipment for this kind of cold. The rest of us, though, need to think a little harder about winter maintenance and lubrication.
Geared up for cold weather
At BEKA, cold weather operation of our lubrication pumps has always been a key design feature. The need to keep machines running smoothly through the dead of winter led us to one of our major engineering innovations: our springless pump drive.
Traditional spring-drive grease pumps have a built-in problem when cold makes the grease thick and heavy. The spring is unable to rebound properly, so the pump elements can’t fully recharge.
BEKA’s EP autolube pumps avoid the problem entirely by replacing the spring drive with an eccentric gear. The gear is always under power, so it continues to reload and pump grease. That’s how we’re able to keep pumping grease reliably down to -25°C (-13°F)
Know your grease
Even with our eccentric gear drive, we always give our customers a heads-up about using the correct grease for their winter conditions. In most of Canada and the northern states, your Fall maintenance schedule should include a switch from #2 to #1 grease. Without the extra flowability of #1, even though the pump is working, the grease may not move effectively onto your bearing surfaces. While our systems are designed to relieve any back pressure that might build up, they can’t turn cold grease into a free-flowing fluid.
In most cases, a switch to #1 will carry you through short cold snaps, such as the one we’ve been experiencing this year. If extreme cold is the norm for winter in your area, of course, you need to move up from #1 to Arctic grease.
Here’s another heads-up: when you change grease, be sure your new grease is compatible with the grease that’s already in your system. Different chemistries between products can turn your grease into a solid mess. Take time to talk to your grease supplier about when to switch, and which greases are compatible. Watch this space this Fall. We’ll remind you again about how to get your gear primed for winter with BEKA pumps and the right grease.
Got a lubrication question? firstname.lastname@example.org
The BEKA customer service team has a world of experience with all kinds of mobile and stationary equipment. We’ll be happy to help you find the solution to any lubrication problems you might be having. Just call 1-888-862-7461 or send an email with your questions.
During this holiday season, our thoughts turn to those who have made our success possible. It is in this spirit that we say thank you and hope your holidays and 2018 will be filled with joy, health and happiness.
BEKA may not be on this year’s bestsellers list, yet…
…but our new catalog should definitely be a “must read” for anyone who’s seriously into machine uptime. If you get some personal downtime during the holiday, I highly recommend that you take a little browse through. Just look for the big link to the downloadable copy on our home page: www.beka-lube.com.
You might be surprised at how much you can learn from the catalog – it’s a real page-turner!
The inside story
The catalog’s selector guide will not only help you to make sure you choose and specify the best BEKA pump for your application – it could introduce you to some new ideas to improve uptime and extend the life of your equipment in other applications, too.
We explain the differences between all 8 base models in our current line-up, and also show you the full range of BEKA’s progressive distributors, and how you can configure them to suit your specific requirements.
You might be interested in some of the technical details that puts BEKA technology ahead of the pack, such as our springless design and our assembled-to-order distribution blocks. There’s also an extensive section on Hamax pumps for hydraulic breakers, single-line injectors, manual lubrication tools, and a host of fittings to flesh out your complete autolube system.
Lastly, at the back of the book, you’ll find a handy Troubleshooting Guide that answers the most common installation questions we hear.
For inquiring minds
Of course, if you still have questions, you’re always welcome to get answers directly from the experts at BEKAWORLD. We’ll be glad to hear from you anytime at 1-888-862-7461 or send us your questions to email@example.com
It’s just easier to relax over the holiday season when you’ve got the BEKAWORLD team behind you.
We’ll look forward to seeing you soon, in 2018.
Avoid These Common Mistakes For Effective Lubrication
As we often say, “industry runs on grease.” And when industry isn’t running well, it’s often due to lubrication problems.
Records show that improper lubrication is responsible for more than 50% of all bearing failures. The cost of lubrication errors is paid for in costs related to unscheduled downtime, bearing repair and replacement, and the impact of failed deliveries on customer relations.
The good news is, lubrication errors are generally easy to correct.
Over and under lubricating
Even laymen understand the consequences of giving your equipment too little lube, or not lubricating often enough. Lube shields moving parts from direct contact with each other. It reduces friction between them, so they run cooler and smoother, with less wear.
But over-lubricating can lead to as many problems as under-lubricating. In an over-lubed bearing, the viscosity of the grease can actually result in higher internal friction, and excessive heat. The pressure of overpacking with grease can also damage seals. Don’t forget that different grease guns will deliver different amounts per shot – adjust your servicing routine to match the real needs of the machine.
The right grease for the job
No, all greases are NOT created equal. And moving up a grade “to be safe” is not necessarily the safe practice. When choosing a lubricant, start by checking the manufacturer’s information on recommended types and viscosity. But don’t stop there.
Consider how your application and gear types might vary from the average, according to the loads, speeds and operating temperatures that the different gear types in your equipment will experience. Also review your lube’s compatibility with your seals, including the particular metals, coatings and other material they are made with.
Next, you have to account for the equipment’s operating environment: whether it has adequate resistance to cold, heat, dust and other contaminants that can compromise the performance of the grease.
Finally, no matter what grease you choose, take care to ensure that it’s properly stored and handled to maintain the qualities you’re relying on.
Got a lubrication question?
The BEKA customer service team has a world of experience with all kinds of mobile and stationary equipment. We’ll be happy to help you find the solution to any lubrication problems you might be having. Just call 1-888-862-7461.
Most of the people that are reading this blog know that machines have a language of their own. These people also know that, when a machine is talking, you have to listen!
When you hear that low grumbling in some remote corner of the machinery, it’s telling you that it’s not feeling well – and it needs some preventive care. You may just need to “give it some lube” to get it feeling well again.
If you try to ignore that early complaint, eventually your machine really starts to talk a lot louder! But by the time it starts to scream and shutter at you, your pins and bushings are already done for. You’ll have to repin and get all the bearings lubed up quick, before consequential damage makes matters even worse. Better to take a little downtime now, than to suffer major downtime later.
Today’s systems even teach your equipment a wider vocabulary, making it easier to understand what’s going on in there, and what it needs.
Communicate with your equipment
Our central lube pumps and distributors are available with a wide range of remote sensors and alerts that tell you everything you need to know about the status of the lubrication system. If the pump’s reservoir is getting low on grease, if there’s a blockage in the line, the alerts will tell you before the bearing runs dry. The alert could be an audible sound, or a status light or a signal in the cab of your vehicle or control room.
For some equipment, the BEKA alerts can be tied into relays that will shut down the equipment automatically, before any serious damage can happen. This approach has to be done with a mind to shutting down safely, of course. But, for example, the auto shutdown has proven helpful on waste trucks, where the garbage packer can be switched off without affecting the safe operation of the vehicle.
Long distance calls
Whether it is in a mobile or stationary situation, we are seeing more applications that utilize telemetric technology to let owners and operators listen in on their equipment from remote locations. Today, even equipment rental shops can track their fleet in the field to make sure the lube system is maintained properly and the machines return in rentable condition.
We have seen some sophisticated telemetrics used to help wind energy operators to optimize their turbine. The productivity of the turbines can be compromised if they run too hot or too cold. The lube system can be used to monitor and moderate their working temperature, even from miles away.
The whole purpose of BEKA autolubrication systems is to keep your machine talking nicely to you, every day. If you want to communicate with your equipment and avoid unscheduled downtime, give us a call or drop us a line and we can help you make the connection to your machinery and equipment. They have a lot to say and we should be listening!