Innovative coupling solutions for mines and quarries

One of CBC Australia’s key partners for shaft coupling products is Timken, which provides the Timken Quick-Flex shaft couplings to operate in harsh environments, especially within industries such as mines and quarries while requiring minimal maintenance.

The Timken Quick-Flex couplings are exclusive to the Inenco Industrial Solutions’ companies, particularly CBC. At the forefront of the CBC power transmission and shaft couplings experts is product manager Steve Hittmann, who brings with him 25 years of experience in power transmission products and 38 years with the company.

Hittmann gives the example of a large Australian mining company who invested $30,000 in the Timken Quick-Flex shaft couplings to overcome issues such as occupational health and safety, replacement time and different-sized units, leading to a large inventory requirement.

“The original shaft couplings before replacement required three different sizes, which meant large and expensive spare parts were required to be held onsite, costing the mine capital,” Hittmann says.

“Also, removing these units was time-consuming and took place during unscheduled shutdowns, which contributed to longer downtimes to the mining operation.

“Further to that, shaft re-alignment was required once the couplings had been replaced. There was also the health and safety risk, as an incident had previously occurred due to the use of high torque and high-pressure hydraulic tools that were used to remove them.

“Installing the Timken Quick-Flex solution gave the site the benefit of a ‘one size fits all’ application, that significantly reduces the need for spare parts/ inventory and any realignment post-installation.”

The relationship between Timken and CBC gives Timken a greater reach to the market, through Inenco Industrial Solutions’ Australia-wide team of experts, with three in Victoria and Queensland, two in Western Australia and one in both South Australia and New South Wales.

Hittman says the proactivity of Timken and the expertise of CBC make for a streamlined product-service for customers, ensuring they are supported to find the best shaft coupling solution for them.

“Our relationship with Timken is seamless, it’s a fantastic partnership,” he says.

“All of our power transmission specialists in each state are very much in the realm of expertise in design, selection and making recommendations for this product.”

“Behind this team of experts, we also have key account executives and many technical service engineers with specific experience and expertise in this product, not only for service and advice, but we can also supply, install and align any shaft couplings.”

“We work with Timken to share knowledge about the Timken Quick-Flex couplings with our customers, attending sites together to meet with plant managers and maintenance staff to provide practical advice about which shaft coupling product is the best fit for a particular site, application or piece of machinery,” he explains.

A flexible shaft coupling is a mechanical connector which transmits torque without slip and accommodates misalignment between axially oriented driving and driven machines.

Some common applications include water pumps, gear drives, conveyors, ore mills or crushers. They give mining operations the ability to take rotation from an electric motor or combustion engine and connect it into a machine, giving that machine the ability to produce work as required with reliability.

“Basically, any machine on a mine or quarry site you can nominate needs some sort of shaft coupling arrangement,” Hittmann says.

“There are so many shaft couplings manufactured giving many options and there are shaft couplings best suited for different jobs, so it’s essential to select the right one to get the job done.”

As well as helping customers to make educated decisions about the best shaft coupling products for their applications, Inenco Industrial Solutions also keeps their staff in the know about Timken products at a factory-knowledge level.

“The Timken factory trains our staff,” Hittmann explains. “Many colleagues and I have been factory trained on this product. We talk to the factory about different applications and have the backing and expertise of the manufacturer.”

“We then pass this information along to the staff working for the Inenco Industrial Solutions companies.”

For customers requiring a more specific solution, Timken can also provide custom designed shaft coupling solutions, via the Inenco Industrial Solutions’ design and selection team.

Customers simply need to approach Inenco Industrial Solutions with the machinery or application details, and we will make recommendations from there.

“Design and selection are a big part of what we do for our customers,” Hittmann says.

“Once the customer comes to us with an application, we go ahead and make a recommendation, ensuring we select the correct size, power and torque requirements, and design of couplings that are technically capable of doing the job at hand.”

According to Hittmann, the other advantage of going through an Inenco Industrial Solutions company such as CBC, is the access to staff on the ground ready and waiting to assist customers.

“We’re not only a distributor, we offer the technical advice as well,” he says.

“Shaft couplings have to be aligned properly to ensure the life and performance of the coupling is realised. Our engineered services team has the capacity to do that, 24/7.”

Timken and Inenco Industrial Solutions’ goal with their partnership, along with other partnerships is to bring the expertise back to the industry for the benefit of our customers.

“A lot of mine sites tend to have more contract maintenance workers coming through; with expertise in the industry tending to be diminishing a little,” Hittmann says.

“By having the experts as part of the process, contract and mine workers don’t need to go somewhere else to find that expertise.”

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