Automated bearing polisher delivers greater railway haulage service life

Mr John Tawadros with BES' new automated journal bearing polishing machine
Mr John Tawadros with BES' new automated journal bearing polishing machine.

An automated journal bearing polishing machine that delivers superior raceway finishes and extended service life in railway journal bearings produced using innovative new processes has been introduced by Bearing Engineering Services (BES, a division of Schaeffler Australia).

In a first for the Australian bearing reconditioning industry, BES recently finalised commissioning of its Automated Journal Bearing Polishing Machine, capable of handling all metric and AAR sizes, says BES Railway and Reconditioning Manager, Mr John Tawadros.

The new machine, designed in-house and built by local contractors, enables BES to deliver bearing raceway quality levels closer to that of new, increasing whole-of-lifespan efficiencies for BES clients including those in light and heavy passenger rail, as well as freight and heavy haul operations throughout Australia, New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific. BES customers also extensively cover heavy haulage rail including iron ore, coal and other mining industries, bulk handling, sugar, transport terminal and port loading infrastructure users of railway equipment.

Benefits of the new automated machinery include:
  • Superior raceway finish as compared to traditional manual polishing methods.
  • Improved quality control through greater accuracy and consistency.
  • Improved service life, reducing bearing life cycle costs.
  • Improved WHS+E outcomes to staff, with reduced manual handling and reduced intensive repetitive manual operations.
  • Better environmental outcomes, with improved dust and contamination controls and collection.

"By introducing this equipment into our system, it allows our highly trained and skilled staff to spend more time focused on the critical areas of the reconditioning process that deliver higher value and returns to our clients," says Mr Tawadros.

"Maximising our time where it is needed most, not only further refines and improves our ability to make decisions of benefit to clients, but give our staff a greater sense of focus and purpose. Our inspectors can utilise their skills and experience in a far more proactive manner as compared to the manually intensive methodologies of the past."

Local knowledge

BES and Schaeffler Australia are part of the global Schaeffler Group, a world leader in rolling bearing design and manufacturing with around 84,000 employees in approximately 170 locations in 50 countries. The company’s commitment to Australian industry includes locally based rolling bearing assessment and reconditioning services that bring Schaeffler’s extensive skills and technology to Australian industry. BES operates a high technology bearing reconditioning and services facility in Auburn, Sydney, where it reconditions rolling bearings from all bearing manufacturers, providing industrial and railway solutions that combine local knowledge and service with world-leading technology.

"Our new journal bearing polishing machine is a great example of BES-Schaeffler looking to the future, taking advantage of ever-improving technologies, combining them with our local knowledge and implementing these into deliverable actions," says Mr Tawadros.

"Our objective with this new technology and with the broad range of our services, is to deliver reconditioned bearing solutions in closer alignment to the standards of new-build bearings.

"Providing further evidence of the level of technical and commercial capabilities BES brings to our markets, we are delighted to have designed and commissioned this unit in-house and to have had it built utilising local contractors.

"We are proud yet again, to introduce innovative world leading technology and processes to our clients throughout Australia, New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific."