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Precision bearings and condition monitoring

Induction heater from Schaeffler cuts
heating times for large workpieces at TAKRAF

Schaeffler has supplied a special purpose induction heating device for large workpieces to TAKRAF GmbH, a manufacturer of bucket wheel excavators, stackers, crushers and conveyors for mining applications. The heater has cut the heating time for a typical two-tonne gear from six hours to just 20 minutes.

One of TAKRAF's latest product introductions is the development of roll crushers and associated gearboxes. The roll crushers can weigh up to 160 tonnes. The gearboxes comprise of large, heavy components such as gears, the heaviest of which weighs 5,000 kg with an outside diameter of 1,700mm. Although TAKRAF has always used conventional FAG inductive heating devices from Schaeffler, these are only suitable for workpieces weighing up to 1,200kg. The roll crusher gears typically weigh between 2,000kg and 5,000kg each. TAKRAF therefore needed a new more powerful heating device to heat these larger components and approached Schaeffler for help.

In response to this request, Schaeffler engineers developed an induction heating device that can generate sufficient electrical power required to heat the large components quickly. The result is the FAG HEATER5000, the largest inductive heating device ever built by Schaeffler. The heater can heat workpieces up to a maximum weight of 5,000kg, including gears heated to 200°C and rolling bearings to 100°C.

The need for uniform heating
Prior to mounting, large workpieces such as bearings and gears must be heated uniformly. If heat output is too high, this can cause temperature differences between the inside and outside of the workpiece, which in turn, can lead to cracks or distortions in the material. To ensure the heating process is carried out safely and evenly, the HEATER5000 is fitted with a Delta T control system. Two magnetic sensors simultaneously measure the temperature of the inside and outside of the workpiece. By monitoring the temperature levels at two different measuring points, the temperature of the workpiece is reduced automatically if the maximum permitted temperature difference is exceeded. The heater is equipped with various features, including temperature-time (ramp) controls, which prevent overheating of the workpiece.

Since purchasing the HEATER5000, TAKRAF can heat large workpieces such as gears and bearings much more quickly. The cost and time savings, as well as the reduction in labour costs, varies depending on the application and the workpiece. However, for a typical medium size gear weighing 2,000kg, the heating time is reduced from six hours to 20 minutes using the HEATER5000.

Benefits of induction heating
Induction heating is superior to traditional heating methods such as oil baths or gas flame burners, as it is faster, cleaner and more suitable for batch heating. Heat is generated within the workpiece and unlike alternative heating methods, does not need to be transmitted via convection, radiation or thermal conduction. As induction heating is uniform across the workpiece, local overheating is prevented.

Due to their increased energy efficiency, induction heaters can reduce heating times by up to 50 per cent, keeping maintenance costs to a minimum. Also, as the systems do not require oil, they have the added advantage of being both clean and environmentally friendly.

Schaeffler's HEATER range includes seven induction heater models, which are suitable for the mounting of bearings - or other circular steel components such as gears, couplings, pulleys and bushings - with a minimum bore diameter of 10mm, up to bearings with outside diameters of 1,500mm, with a maximum weight of 1,200kg.

Schaeffler in profile
Schaeffler with its product brands INA, LuK and FAG is a leading provider of rolling bearing and plain bearing solutions and of linear and direct drive technology, as well as a renowned supplier to the automotive industry of high-precision products and systems for engines, transmissions and chassis applications. The globally active group of companies generated sales of approximately 11.1 billion euros in 2012. With approximately 78,000 employees worldwide, Schaeffler is one of the largest German and European industrial companies in family ownership. With 180 locations in over 50 countries, Schaeffler has a worldwide network of manufacturing locations, research and development facilities, sales companies, engineering offices, and training centres.

For further information, e-mail: info.uk@schaeffler .com or view website:
www.schaeffler.co.uk  Refer to page 677 

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