The client company, a foreign firm that deals with the treatment of wastewater, was searching for filter cartridges for its machines. After a careful analysis, the consultants of La Ricambi Udinese noticed that the filter requested by the customer was not the most suitable one for this type of plant. The company have 20 large gearboxes each containing within them a series of rolling bearings of large dimensions and high cost. The expenditure required for a change of bearings ranged between € 15,000 and € 20,000 per machine. The change, however, was already necessary after one year of use. Every year, therefore, between € 300,000 and € 400,000 was being spent to repair the damage to the gearboxes, without counting the costs resulting from the downtime of the machines and, consequently, from the loss of production:
€ 15,000 (or € 20,000) x 20 gearboxes = € 300,000 (or € 400,000) spent every year to change the bearings of all twenty gearboxes.
The oil used for the lubrication of the moving parts of the machinery was polluted by silica - a dust from the desert, present in the outside air in great quantities. The dust was coming into the machinery through the intake holes of the gearbox case, contaminating the oil that, becoming abrasive, was wearing out the bearings ahead of time.
An operation known as retrofitting was required in order to improve the performance quality of the gearboxes: suitable filters were installed in the lubrication recirculation system of the machines, and filtered vents inserted near the air intake compensation on the gearbox cases. The intervention has eliminated the problem of silica in the oil, and by doing so the bearings are no longer deteriorated.