The AK Steel Dearborn Works facility has a building they refer to as “DD”, which stands for “Double Dirty.” This building is used to unload train cars filled with the coal and iron ore used for steel processing at the plant. The environment is hazardous and extremely dirty, and the air is filled with fine particles of corrosive and abrasive dust. Over time, the bearings and conveyor components used in the building become completely covered with this material, and end up literally buried in the debris.
As you would expect the bearings and components have a reduced life due to the contaminated environment. Bearings eventually fill with this fine abrasive material and cause the units to fail.
Due to their location, maintenance and lubrication of the components was challenging. Bearing and component failure was a common issue at the facility, costing the facility the expense of product replacement, and even more expensive production downtime.
This customer contacted Air Systems because they heard that we provide comprehensive solutions to address this combination of problems.
Our team went to the facility to evaluate the situation and came up with a solution that would reduce the failures in the field. With a combination of Perma USA and Memolub HPS Automatic Lubricators we were able to develop a program of lubrication to help maintain the bearings and critical components.
The lubricators were remotely mounted in a convenient area to ensure that workers would not be close to any dangerous moving conveyor parts so they could work in safety. The units were programmed to ensure that grease was continuously provided to the bearings in the right amounts, at the right times, so that no contamination could enter into the units. The bearings were purging grease from the seals making sure that no contamination was entering the bearings even when buried in this dust.
The facility is now following a scheduled lubrication maintenance program, which has greatly reduced the number of failures in the plant. Units are refilled quarterly to ensure proper functioning, and bearings are inspected to make sure they are not failing. Downtime of the equipment has been greatly reduced.
Due to the success of the program Air Systems was invited to review other applications in the plant to improve product reliability.