Pumping for the long haul

When a major water pumping station approached CBC Australia about a shaft coupling problem, they not only received a product type that was better suited to their application but managed to reduce the amount of inventory they had in stock by over 500 per cent. This resulted in improved pump performance and significant cost savings.

According to Steve Hittmann, who is the National Product Manager for Mechanical Drives with CBC, the solution provided to the client resolved multiple issues.

“In the above scenario, the end customer had been experiencing ongoing issues with their existing shaft couplings. They were performing poorly and needed regular replacement. Due to the criticality of their application – with the pumps running 24/7 – they also had to stock a large inventory of couplings due to equipment breakdowns,” Steve explains. “In addition to this, they were using various brands and types of shaft couplings, so their inventory of parts was huge. This was incurring expense on many levels – the constant maintenance and replacement of entire shaft couplings, the plant downtime and this large inventory of stock.”

Steve recommended the Lovejoy Quick-Flex couplings by Timken to resolve the immediate issue, which was shaft coupling failure. These particular couplings are made to last in harsh environments typical to those experienced in the water treatment sector. The unique Quick-Flex coupling design features two steel hubs, a polyurethane insert and a cover. The couplings also come in stainless steel versions, which are further suited to water-based situations.

Importantly, because there is no metal-to-metal contact between the opposing hubs, the Lovejoy Quick-Flex couplings by Timken do not wear and therefore do not require replacement.

“They are durable components. Realistically, the service life of the Lovejoy Quick-Flex couplings by Timken is about four to five times that of standard shaft couplings,” explains Steve. “The only part that does need periodic replacement is the Quick-Flex coupling element, which is inexpensive. Compared to standard shaft couplings – which require replacing the hubs and other metal components – this saves both a lot of time and money.”

The benefits of the Lovejoy Quick-Flex couplings by Timken products are already being realised at the water pumping station.

“We implemented this solution about 18 months ago and they’re already seeing the results. It has particularly helped the maintenance teams who no longer have to replace the shaft couplings regularly,” Steve clarifies. “With the previous shaft couplings, the maintenance staff would have to change out the entire coupling which also required a complete re-alignment of the shaft. Besides the time and cost savings, the Quick-Flex® couplings resolved an ongoing occupational health and safety hazard.”

According to Steve, the Lovejoy Quick-Flex couplings by Timken are “torsionally soft” which translates to a longer bearing life expectancy for bearings in both electric motors and pumps as well.

Moreover, he explains that the Quick-Flex couplings come in “one versatile design with fewer sizes required which reduces the need to stock multiple coupling styles and configurations.” This promotes product standardisation.

Where CBC was able to add additional value to the pumping station was not only in implementing the Lovejoy Quick-Flex couplings by Timken solution, but in providing engineering services such as an on-site survey.

“We not only provided them with a much more manageable coupling solution, but we were able to identify all of the inventory they had through a site survey. This really hit a nerve with the customer, the fact that we were able to reduce the number of couplings they had in stock from over 30 types and sizes to about six,” Steve says.

The engineering service that CBC provides is unique and affords the customer many benefits, one of which is the ability to select the right product for an application as well as install the product. This is particularly true for the Lovejoy Quick-Flex couplings by Timken, says Steve.

“Our service engineers are very capable of making the correct selection for an application as well as catering for alignment and installations,” he explains. “They are factory-trained by Timken and are therefore very well-versed in the many applications in which these Quick-Flex couplings are suited. They have an intimate knowledge of how the product works.”

Additionally, the CBC team take responsibility for the service they provide from conception to delivery.

“We offer a service that other distributors simply don’t provide. We not only sell and supply products, but install, monitor and service. We take full responsibility of the solutions we provide. For example, if there is an issue with a component, we’ll be accountable for that, not send the customer to the manufacturer or another party. We’ll sort it out.”

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