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Brick maker learns bearings solutions improve operations

Hanson Brick, North America’s largest brick maker and a subsidiary of Hanson Building Products North America, learnt first-hand how bearing solutions can improve operations. With an annual volume of 1.7 billion bricks, Hanson’s hammer mills need to run reliably at full capacity. However, a competitor’s split-block housed units kept failing at the brick maker’s Mooringsport, Los Angeles, facility. Maintenance personnel replaced one of these units every two weeks because of severe contamination and shock loads.

{{image2-a:r-w:300}}Two factors contributed to the units’ failures. First, the seals did not protect the bearings from the extreme dust and debris present in the application. Second, the cast-iron housing material became deformed under severe shock loads, leading to bearing fit issues and, ultimately, shortening the bearing’s life.

The facility’s productivity dropped, and Hanson Brick faced mounting costs for replacement bearings.

To fix the issue, a Timken sales representative, along with Hanson’s bearing distributor, suggested replacing the split-block housed units with Timken’s spherical roller bearing solid-block housed units. Timken spherical roller bearing solid-block units feature cast-steel housings and durable seals.

They provide robust protection from particulate contaminants and severe shock loads, while handling up to ± 1.5 degrees of misalignment. The solid-block housed units are also pre-assembled. This means they can be installed right out of the box, unlike split-block designs that must be assembled on the shaft. Pre-assembly means there is no reason to open the housed units in the field, keeping them protected from contaminants.

“When we presented the Timken solid-block solution, Hanson Brick’s team was impressed with the product and willing to trial and test the results,” a Timken sales representative said.

“So, we supplied one ‘drop-in’ unit, which was fully interchangeable with the competitor’s split-block product. The Timken unit easily surpassed the competitor’s two-week operating period. After two months with no problems, we converted all four housed unit positions in the hammer mill to the Timken brand. After nine months in operation, the bearings are still going strong, with no signs of failure.”


While the ability to interchange the Timken solution with other brands offered convenience to Hanson Brick, the ability to configure the product features was also important. Timken spherical roller bearing solid-block units are available in seven basic housing styles, offered with 26 dimensional configurations, six locking configurations, and six primary and seven secondary sealing options to fit a variety of application needs.

Hanson Brick specified a four-bolt pillow block. For additional protection against contaminants, it added Timken’s steel auxiliary covers with through-shaft seals to each housed unit. Treated with black oxide for enhanced corrosion protection, these end caps are specifically designed for applications where particulates present major challenges.

Being able to configure the housed units contributed to improved performance. The Timken spherical roller bearing solid-block housed units used by Hanson Brick remain in operation more than a year after installation, compared with the competing units that lasted two weeks.

Timken engineers, manufactures and markets bearings, transmissions, gearboxes, chain and related products, and offers a spectrum of powertrain rebuild and repair services. An authority on tapered roller bearings, the company applies its deep knowledge of metallurgy, tribology and mechanical power transmission across a variety of bearings and related systems to improve reliability and efficiency of machinery and equipment around the world.

Source: Australian Timken Pty Ltd

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