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ENGINEERING: SKF Reconditions Rand Uranium Cooke Plant


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Rand Uranium Cooke Plant, previously Harmony Cooke Plant, has been an SKF customer for close to five decades during which time SKF 248/1500 Tube mill housings have been in operation on the gold mine.

“The housings on its six mills have been operated with a number of different sealing arrangements and finding suitable spares for the mills was becoming increasingly more difficult for the mine. The SKF Engineering Department was asked to conduct an onsite assessment of these various housings with a view to standardise and improve on the sealing arrangements,” explains Wendy Lolli, Project Engineering Manager, SKF South Africa.

Lolli continues, “SKF compiled a schedule of the various sealing arrangements in use at the mine. In consultation with the customer and our Engineering Department, SKF combined the best features of the existing sealing arrangements with a few improvements to arrive at the most suitable preferred sealing arrangement for the application. Once the assessment was completed, a proposal for reconditioning as well as the supply of the preferred customised sealing arrangements was submitted and accepted”.

SKF received the first order for the recondition of one housing and seal arrangement, in early 2009 and this was followed by a second order at the end of 2009 for the reconditioning of another housing and seal arrangement. Before reconditioning the housings, as part of the scope of supply, SKF performed non destructive testing to detect any cracks, as the housing had been in operation for a number of years. 2/…SKF – Reconditions Housings_Rand Uranium

During this same period, SKF also remanufactured a 248/1500 CAKF/W20 bearing that had incurred damage due to relative movement between the bearing inner ring and oil injection sleeve as a result of a Mill Trunnion journal, not being within geometric form tolerance. Lolli highlights the importance of correct geometric form tolerances on the Mill Trunnion journals, and says that even when the housing bore tolerance is within specification and although the correct clearance is in the bearing, an incorrect geometric form on a journal will certainly lead to premature bearing failure.

Lolli adds that part of the condition under which SKF guarantees its bearings is based on the correctness of the journal on to which it is fitted. SKF offers customers a third party inspection service which includes the inspection of all shafts and housings specifically related to bearings.

Remanufacturing of the damaged bearing to within the recommended specifications offers long term equipment performance and bearing life. The customised sealing arrangements are cost effective and easy to install”, states Lolli.

Lolli says that she believes that SKF secured the contract because of a combination of unique factors: “SKF provides a wide range of professional manufacturing services and the SKF Remanufacturing Service Centre uses state-of-the-art technologies to optimise total product life cycle so that customers can benefit from reduced operational costs, increased uptime and improved productivity. The SKF Engineering Department team delivered a prompt, exemplary service and presented a design review that offered a preferred customised housing/sealing arrangement that met the requirements of all existing mills at the minerals processing plant”.

“SKF’s strategy to the market is through approved SKF distributors, and our Roodepoort distributor was instrumental in assisting with the start to end solution package”, concludes Lolli.


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