Tasmanian mine finds cost-effective coupling alternative

By using the Lovejoy Quick-Flex couplings by Timken to replace existing grid type couplings on a stacker conveyor system, a WebsterBSC mining client was able to achieve significant cost-savings, while also reducing the installation and maintenance time.

Stacker conveyors are notorious for generating huge amounts of fugitive dust as products free fall from the stacker roller. Some mine sites use water sprays to control the amount of fugitive dust, but the combination of dust and moisture often translates to shorter service life for the components in the conveyor.

WebsterBSC Senior Sales Engineer, Rick White, says the mine – a WebsterBSC client for over 30 years – was previously using grid type couplings but was looking for a more cost-effective alternative.

“The grid couplings our client was using are much more expensive than the equivalent Quick-Flex couplings. The Quick-Flex QF100 coupling costs nearly a fifth and the Quick-Flex QF1000 coupling cost nearly a tenth of the equivalent grid type coupling that was previously installed on the conveyor,” he says.

Maintenance time was another issue the mine was looking to resolve. The hubs in the grid couplings needed to be fully dismantled every time the grid was replaced. This resulted in loss of productive time, according to Rick.

“Our team conducted a joint call to the mine site along with representatives from Timken and we introduced the alternative solution to our client. After we demonstrated the advantages of using Quick-Flex couplings, including easier maintenance and the lower cost, they decided to go ahead and place an order.”

Unlike the grid type couplings, the Quick-Flex couplings are what the industry refers to as “maintenance-free” couplings.

“The Quick-Flex couplings are designed to avoid any metal-to-metal contact, which helps avoid damage to hubs or other metal components. As needed, you can replace the urethane insert quickly and easily without removing the hubs.

“Installation and replacement is also quite easy with Quick-Flex couplings. To replace the element, all you need to do is slide the cover back and because the elements are split, you can just take them off the coupling and put the new one in place. You don’t have to remove the coupling completely to take the element out. That saves a lot of downtime in production.”

Another benefit of Quick-Flex couplings, Rick explains, comes from the couplings’ resistance to misalignment.

“The Quick-Flex couplings can withstand up to two degrees of misalignment, and they dampen vibration and shock loads in the equipment.”

WebsterBSC, the leading supplier of industrial parts and service to a wide range of industries in Tasmania, has been working with multiple Tasmanian mining companies over the years.

Having first joined WebsterBSC nearly 47 years ago, Rick has been part of that journey to introduce WebsterBSC clients to the best products in the market.

He says Timken was already a well-regarded name in the industry before introducing the Quick-Flex couplings, most commonly known for their top-quality tapered roller bearings.

“In recent years, the Quick-Flex couplings have gained popularity because of their durability, maintenance-free design and reasonable pricing,” he says.

“Our office supplies the Quick-Flex couplings to a range of mining clients, for applications in ball mills, rod mills and other heavy-duty mining equipment. The feedback we get from our customers is that they prefer using Timken products over other products wherever possible, because of the products’ reputation for high quality.”

Rick also admires the engineering support that Timken offers to WebsterBSC clients, through close collaborations that exists between the two companies.

“Whenever a representative from Timken comes down to Tasmania, we try to organise joint calls to WebsterBSC clients to introduce the latest and most relevant Timken products for their applications. The Timken engineering team also offers their full support to us and our clients for selecting the right products and any other engineering support as required,” he says.

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