With grinding mills at the ‘heart’ of many mineral processing plants, unplanned mill shutdowns can expose mines to substantial production losses. Unfortunately, bearing and bearing lubrication system failures are common causes of stoppages and typically result in costly damage to the mill itself.
Development of grinding mill bearings has been largely stagnant over the last 40 years with Spherical Roller Bearings (SRB) and either bronze or white metal faced hydrostatic and hydrodynamic bearings being the norm. In the years spanning 2000 to 2013, bronze faced Hydrostatic Shoe Bearings (HSB) were the staple on all Outotec shell supported grinding mills and scrubbers and all Outotec trunnion supported grinding mills with installed power greater than 3MW.
Innovative design-Outotec® Polymer HSB system
Over the years, Outotec has continued to innovate and develop its HSB technology. In 2019 the Outotec® Polymer HSB system, which utilises an advanced polymer bearing material in lieu of the conventional bronze, was officially launched.
Outotec Polymer HSBs are more durable than bearings featuring conventional materials, providing superior ability to operate under adverse conditions that would otherwise damage a conventional bronze or white metal bearing.
The Outotec Polymer HSB system eliminates the requirement for emergency oil lubrication systems, such as accumulators, and requires less bearing oil flow, thereby reducing operating costs. The result is a bearing system which virtually eliminates unplanned shutdowns due to bearing failures (or emergency oil delivery system failure), thereby maximizing mill availability.