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Mill halves bearing failures by switching lubricant

Switching to Mobil Vacuoline 525, a circulating system oil, paid off for one Turkish steel mill in terms of prolonging the lifespan of the bearings in its monoblock rolling mill.

The operator of the wire rod mill noticed that its previous circulating oil was losing demulsibility. This is the oil’s property to release water, which is vital in steel mills where water is used as an essential coolant. With little or no demulsibility, the oil’s wear protection was compromised and corrosion occurred, ultimately resulting in bearing failure. Rather than continue to bear the cost of unplanned downtime, the operator sought the advice of ExxonMobil.

The Field Engineering Services (FES) team from ExxonMobil visited the site and, following an assessment, advised switching to a high-performance circulating oil that is developed specially to handle the demanding conditions in rod mills, namely Mobil Vacuoline 525, which is available from Mobil stockists.

Afterwards, bearing failures almost halved, saving the mill €71,000 a year in unplanned maintenance. Routine maintenance and oil disposal costs were also reduced thanks to the new oil’s longer usable life.

A chief engineer at ExxonMobil in Turkey, Hakan Incetahtaci, said:

“Bearing failures are among the leading causes of breakdowns at steel plants but the right lubrication solution can help to reduce the risk and maintain peak equipment performance. We’re delighted to have worked with the team to help achieve these excellent results and savings.”

Of course, not all operations will achieve the same dramatic improvements, but the example highlights the difference that high-quality lubricant can make.

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