Automatic lubrication systems smooth the way for confectionery manufacturer

When an iconic confectionery manufacturer in Western Sydney had complaints about premature failure of their conveyor chains, BSC Sales Service Representative Fady Elchab recommended using Alemlube multi-point lubrication systems to auto-lubricate their chains. This resulted in extending the serviceable life of the chains by more than 100 per cent.

Fady, who regularly checks on the manufacturing plant on behalf of BSC to make sure it is well-supplied with lubricants and other consumable products, says implementing Alemlube’s auto-lubrication solution resulted in a considerable reduction in downtime and labor requirement.

“This manufacturing plant has 12 roller chain assembly lines that help run the confectionery products through various stages in the production process. The chains previously had a serviceable life of only 6-8 months. After installing Alemlube’s automatic lubricators along the line, the chains’ serviceable life has increased to as much as 12, 18, and in some cases even 24 months,” says Fady.

Auto-lubrication has also helped the plant improve operational safety by taking the manual labor out of the maintenance processes, Fady says.

“In food and beverage manufacturing, there are many applications that involve hot processes or are hard to reach for manual lubrication. In these cases we recommend using automatic lubrication systems. For example, our confectionery customer is using Alemlube automatic lubricators to lubricate the bearings in their ovens and combustion fans, which are otherwise regarded as high-risk areas for manual lubrication,” he says.

As a national supplier of industrial solutions, BSC works closely with Alemlube to bring automatic lubrication solutions to a wide range of customers, including those in the food and beverage industry.

John Knight, Alemlube’s Lubrication Systems Product Manager for Australia and New Zealand says of the many operating conditions that can cause premature component failure, few are more predominant than lack of lubrication.

“Chains, particularly in the ovens, will lock up if they are not correctly lubricated, which can cause major downtime and wear and tear,” he says.

“Bearings are also susceptible to premature failure from poor lubrication. Over half of bearing failures happen either from lack of lubrication or contamination. If bearings are kept properly lubricated and contamination-free, their life span can be improved many times over,” he says.

Alemlube multi-point lubrication systems can be designed to lubricate anywhere between 2 to 200 application points simultaneously, providing constant lubrication at desirable pressure and dosage. Among these solutions is the Pulsarlube M Series, which can be set up to lubricate up to eight lubrication dispense points with a single unit.

John says using automatic lubrication systems frees up the maintenance crew’s time to focus on other important tasks.

“When the lubrication systems are installed, the daily drudgery of greasing is taken care of. When the bearings are greased hourly by the automatic lubrication system, bearing failures become less frequent and therefore production efficiency increases. This promotes a positive feedback loop where the maintenance staff can start to focus on preventative maintenance, condition monitoring and planning instead of rushing from one breakdown to the next,” he says.

Through their partnership, the teams at BSC and Alemlube bring extensive expertise on maintenance best practices to their customers, according to John.

“The team at BSC knows and understands their customers very well. Combining this with Alemlube’s experience in design and installation of automatic lubrication systems helps address the customers’ issues related to bearing and lubrication reliability,” John says.

“Many plants tend to put production first and maintenance second. This can be detrimental to the reliability of the operations and the long-term plant health. The collaboration between BSC and Alemlube often gives the customer a new portfolio of tools and strategies to increase efficiency and reduce the costs of maintaining their plant,” he adds.

John’s views are echoed by Fady, who says both BSC and Alemlube are customer-oriented companies.

“At BSC, we are very much driven by customer satisfaction. It is quite common that I meet my customers after business hours or on weekends. That’s because I love my job and I enjoy building relationships with my customers,” he says.

“Because of this strong relationship with customers, they often call me to ask for solutions to their problems and I try my best to either help them or point them in the right direction. And the feedback that I get from customers is that they too love the support that they get from us,” Fady concludes.

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