ERIKS Know+How - Issue 19 Quarrying and Mining


Published on

Issue 19 of the ERIKS Know+How magazine, the leading magazine for maintenance engineers, this edition focuses on the Quarrying and Mining industry, Just in time for Hillhead 2014

Published in: Business, Technology
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

ERIKS Know+How - Issue 19 Quarrying and Mining

  1. 1. The leading magazine for maintenance engineers FROM ERIKS ISSUE 19 Mine, all mine Focus on the Quarrying and Mining industry p12 Safe as trousers?PPE and the law - protecting employees and employers p6 Q U AR RYIN G &MININ G •FOCU S ON • Recycling without borders Where Scotland leads, the rest of ERIKS follows p10 Smooth talking How ceramic coatings improve pump efficiency p22 Practice your breathing Best practice in dust protection p27
  2. 2. 3 Contents Welcome to Know+How… We aim to bring you the latest news, applications and technologies with every edition of Know+How and this issue is no different as we focus on two of the most dynamic sectors in operation today. The quarrying and mining sectors are in the midst of profound change. Long regarded as ‘old industries’ both sectors are undergoing a renaissance as previously unprofitable pits and quarries are brought back into production or made profitable again by new techniques and state-of-the-art technology, which are delivering ever more impressive returns on investment. Both sectors are highly capital intensive and keeping machines and equipment in production and working efficiently is at the heart of the MRO strategies that quarrying and mining companies are putting in place. Inside, you’ll find in-depth articles on the potential of synchronous motors; sensor system monitoring for vibration and heat detection; durable cast-iron sealing options that can keep lubrication in and contamination out of valuable components and a new ceramic paste and spray which can reline pump housings damaged by abrasive materials. We also look at the health and safety implications of using face masks in the harsh environments of mining and quarrying. As ever, we have a guest writer, in the form of Quentin Wray, one of the most respected quarrying and mining journalists at work today, who will be asking if reopening the UK’s coal mines offers a better solution than fracking for gas, and the TIG addresses the thorny issue of the UK’s energy security in light of recent tensions in the Ukraine. If you have any comments you would like to raise on the topics contained in this issue you can email the editor at:, not forgetting Know+How’s own website: where you can register for your own personal copy and make enquiries about something you have read or contact one of the contributors. I look forward to hearing from you. Alan Whetstone Managing Director, Editor in Chief UNREGISTERED New QR code access To make it easier to get all the latest industry news straight to your mobile device or smartphone, simply scan the QR codes throughout. Latest News 04 UK manufacturing bounces back with strong start to the year Gravity-powered minewater treatment halves energy use UK becoming increasingly dependent on mineral imports Drone tech flying high after investment In-Depth 06 Does my bum look safe in this? Technology Update 08 SKF launches new conveyor belt monitoring kit for early fault detection ERIKS opens UK Development Cell for cutting-edge sealing technology Timken SNT plummer blocks Top 10 Tips for electrical motors Planet Plus 10 Scotland leads the way-ste FOCUS ON QUARRYING & MINING 12 Is the UK’S coal industry on the verge of revival? p12 All part of the service partnership p13 Driving fast payback with synchronous motors p14 Double the life, and half the trouble p16 Hard as (rubber) nails? p17 Taking care of your baby p18 Solving the housing crisis p20 ENERGY savings 22 Give your pumps another pasting BEST PRACTICE 24 Breathe more easily QU AR RYING & MININ G •FOC US ON • Published by ERIKS UK, Amber Way, Halesowen, West Midlands, B62 8WG Now it only takes 5 minutes to find out 5 years’ ownership costs. You’ll find the ERIKS Online Motor Calculator at Before you spend money on repairing or replacing a motor, spend a few minutes finding out its Total Cost of Ownership. The ERIKS Online Motor Calculator gives you a comparative TCO for repairing your existing motor, or replacing it with an IE2 or energy-efficient IE3 motor. It also tells you the new motor’s carbon footprint over 5 years, the cost savings you can achieve, and even its eventual scrap value. With these facts and figures at your fingertips, you can make an informed decision to repair, or replace. And because ERIKS are equally expert at both, your next step will take even less time to work out.
  3. 3. Latest news Latest news ISSUE 19 5 The UK has become increasingly reliant on the import of minerals and mineral-based products over the last 40 years. Between 1970 and 2011, the total UK minerals consumption has decreased by about 35%, whilst the production has also decreased by about 35%, according to a report by the UK Minerals Forum. The total value of UK mineral output has increased by nearly 300%, mainly due to large increases the offshore production of oil and gas. UK domestic coal output and GB primary aggregates consumption have both declined. The production of salt, brick clay and cement raw materials has also fallen. The Chairman of the UK Minerals Forum, Lester Hicks, said: “Many of our minerals, especially for construction, are still obtained in the UK. These would be especially hard and expensive to import. So where we get our minerals is important. But this interim report shows an overall pattern of declining domestic production and increasing imports over the past 40 years.” Two major investment moves have been announced in the area of mining operations and research this week, marking a significant advancement in the use of drone-based surveying technology. Maptek, a mining computer tech company, has invested in DroneMetrex following its development of an innovative new system called the Topodrone-100. It can be used for aerial photogrammetric mapping from a small drone. DroneMetrex managing director, Tom Tadrowski, said: “We’ve built a mapping system from the ground up, everything is designed for the drone from the start. Other companies are building drones and then putting mapping systems in them, but no-one’s ever going to be able to do it properly that way.” Advances in the drone technology sector can be seen through the current development of drones which can be used as aerial real-time truck fleet management, site and remote infrastructure monitoring, and machinery tracking. UK manufacturing output has shown strong signs of recovery having witnessed year-on-year growth of 3.8%, according to the most recent figures released by The Office for National Statistics. In line with George Osborne’s aim to ‘rebalance’ the UK economy through increasing manufacturing output, February 2014 saw a 0.9% increase on January 2014 figures. On the most recent UK manufacturing statistics, Lee Hopley, chief economist at the EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, comments: “Manufacturing output headed higher, buoyed by a strong pick up in the pharmaceuticals, transport and food sectors. Output now stands at its highest level in more than two-and-a-half years, with companies reporting good trading conditions, both at home and in overseas markets.” However, the UK’s manufacturing output is still yet to recover to the pre-recession peak figures of 2008. UK manufacturing bounces back with strong start to the year UK becoming increasingly dependent on mineral imports Drone tech flying high after investment Gravity-powered minewater treatment halves energy use British engineers from Minus Engineering and Exeter University have developed a new gravity-powered treatment system which could provide a novel, low energy-intensive way of cleaning polluted mine water. The developers of ‘NeutraSeal’ claim that it will cut energy usage by at least half in comparison to the conventional pumping systems. A pilot plant has been built which has the capacity to treat water at a rate of 3m³/hour, siphon up to 10m, and leave a footprint comparable to two shipping containers. Firstly, the water is dosed with lime in order to increase its pH to neutral. Its oxygen content is then increased in the aeration tank. Finally, it is rid of its precipitated metals using a tilted plate separator before being returned to the environment. The main innovation lies in removing bubbles of gas and increasing the dissolved oxygen. Justin Daglish, the director of Minus Engineering says: “If you have bubbles in the line then the siphon won’t work.” The technology’s utilisation of this siphoning effect enables it to run at a higher position than the mine.
  4. 4. In-depth In-depth ISSUE 19 7 The Health & Safety at Work Act, Personal Protective Equipment Regulations and the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulation make the employer’s duties concerning PPE absolutely clear. But even when you follow the letter of the legislation, it’s hard to ensure an employee gets hold of the right PPE and, having acquired it, wears it. However, what you can do – to protect your employee and yourself – is take every possible step to make it easy for them, and record evidence that you have. Now there are PPE vending machines which do just that. And because they make it easier for employees to access the correct clothing or equipment, they also make it more likely they will wear it. Tea? Coffee? Totectors? If you thought vending machines were only for drinks, chocolate and crisps, think again. There are now highly sophisticated vending solutions available for the whole range of PPE – from helmets to safety boots – which not only help increase take-up of PPE by employees, but also reduce the cost to the employer of providing the equipment. That may sound like a contradiction, but it isn’t. It’s simply a result of easier access combined with closer control and accurate, automated record-keeping. Unlike the traditional PPE stores with a counter and a storeperson, PPE vending machines can be located exactly where they are needed: at point of use. Or they can be positioned where employees will pass them just when they need them: as they leave the canteen or the lavatory at the end of a break or the start of a shift. So there’s no reason – and no excuse – for employees not to pick up the PPE they need, when they need it. In the right gear Of course, just because someone has the right gear you can’t be sure they will wear it. But with a vending machine solution you can be sure they have it – and that it is definitely the right equipment. The machines available offer a variety of options for enabling and controlling access. These include the employees’ existing clocking-in cards, or dedicated swipe cards or key fobs. More advanced machines can be accessed with a thumbprint, or even with a retinal scan. However, whatever the method, the result is the same: you will have a record of who has accessed the machine, and when. With the means of access bringing up relevant preloaded data, a touchscreen then enables the employee to search by keyword (a choice of languages is available) or graphic icons, to find the equipment they need, from the relevant, risk-assessed range of equipment offered by the machine. For example – if the employee is identified as working on a job requiring Kevlar gloves, it will not allow access to soft cotton gloves. In addition, if the gloves have been restricted to, for example, one pair issued per day per employee, another pair will not be issued without a higher level of authorisation – such as from a supervisor. This means a replacement for a genuine reason – such as wear and tear – can be authorised, but employees will not be able to have a new pair simply because they left their old ones in the canteen. By maintaining this closer control over access, PPE costs have been proven to be reduced, without endangering employees’ health and safety in any way. Visitors welcome Visitors to a site often need just as much protection as employees. So PPE vending machines can be set-up to dispense a complete visitor ‘safety kit’ containing all the items required. If the kit contains – for example – safety shoes, hard hat, goggles, ear defenders and overalls, these can all be contained in one drawer of the machine, packaged together based on shoe size. The visitor then only has to specify shoe size to receive a suitable outfit. Just for the record These automated equipment vending solutions not only give – they also take away. And what they take away is a complete record of who took what equipment, and when. As already explained, this helps to reduce PPE wastage. And it provides a complete audit trail, which has traditionally relied on paperwork and the diligence, reliability and accuracy of the storeperson or the employees themselves to complete it. By restricting access to only the right equipment for the job, and recording who has accessed it, the vending solution makes it impossible for an employee to claim he or she had wrong or no PPE, in the event of a health and safety incident. In which case, the only conclusion will be that they had the equipment but chose not to wear it, which relieves the employer of any liability in the event of an industrial injury claim. Of course, this should not hide the fact that PPE is always the last resort. Before it is utilised it is the employer’s duty to do everything so far as is reasonably practicable to eliminate the hazard entirely – from a machinery redesign to a process reorganisation or change of materials – should first have been considered and taken. It’s probably one of the few parts of the body that doesn’t have Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) designed specifically for it. Otherwise, from head to toe, employees need by law to be protected when their job demands it. And it’s their employer’s responsibility to provide the PPE, and to record what’s been issued to whom, and when. So how can you be sure the right equipment is readily available, and that employees have kitted themselves out? Does my bum look safe in this? Julia Mullar Operations Development Manager ERIKS UK Integrated Solutions
  5. 5. Technology update Technology update 8 9ISSUE 19 SKF launches new conveyor belt monitoring kit for early fault detection Conveyor idler floors are a common cause of belt damage in the steel making industry and pose a serious threat to overall machine operational efficiency given the potential length of downtime that can occur if a fault is not spotted as early as possible. If left unchecked, conveyor faults can also be responsible for belt fires and other serious risks to employee health and safety. Early detection is key to minimising risks and optimising plant performance, so SKF has launched its easy-to-use handheld Idler Sound Monitor Kit, which can continuously detect faults from 3m away at a pace of 2km/h. As a result, maintenance engineers are able to detect faults from a safe distance from the moving conveyor. It can be operated with just one hand and can be used with earphones to ensure that any audio signals are not missed amongst product assembly noise. The Idler Sound Monitor Kit is able to detect both audible and inaudible sounds in order to pick up the unique sound pressures produced by faulty idler rollers. ERIKS Opens UK Development Cell for Cutting-Edge Sealing Technology ERIKS Sealing Technology has opened a new UK product development cell specialising in cutting- edge sealing technologies for the Oil and Gas sector. Reserved for the development of prototypes, the facility will enable ERIKS’ customers to bring their products to market in the shortest time possible and increase their competitive edge. The development cell exceeds the previous 3D prototype printing capability for fit only testing to meet the growing needs of customers that require functional prototypes. The product development cell is the newest addition to ERIKS advanced laboratory and test facilities, located at the Birchwood Science Park in Warrington. This modern facility houses a highly capable, customer facing polymer materials laboratory, supported by ISO 17025 qualified laboratory facilities and their mechanical applications laboratory, making ERIKS Sealing Technology one of the few organisations to offer such capability from a single centre. The product development cell incorporates a high-spec twin-spindle, large- diameter 5-axis NC lathe, capable of machining metals, rubber and functional thermoplastics, as well as the latest moulding and mechanical seal assembly facilities, enabling the manufacture of complex shapes in the sizes demanded by the oil and gas industry. Mick Holland, General Manager of ERIKS Sealing Technology said, “…We understand our customers are under increasing pressures to bring their products to market in the shortest time possible. Our new product development cell removes any unnecessary delays from the production of functional prototypes to ensure prompt and focussed service to our customers precisely when they need a competitive edge.” Timken SNT Plummer Blocks Timken has introduced a new range of durable cast-iron SNT Plummer Blocks, complete with robust sealing options to keep lubrication in and prevent contamination. Available in two and four-bolt mounting configurations, the SNT line features 200, 300, 500 and 600 series housings, with 3000 and 3100 series housings available for larger sizes. It is suitable for a wide range of industries and applications, including power generation, mining for cement and aggregates, metal mills, pulp and paper, food processing, warehousing, movable bridges and structures, and industrial fans. Four seal options are available to end-users, including double lip, labyrinth, V-Ring and taconite seals, to meet varying application needs. Timken’s SNT Plummer Blocks are designed for Timken’s spherical roller bearings which offer premium performance with lower operating temperatures and increased load- carrying capacity to offer end-users a longer bearing life. The range can also accommodate varying shaft sizing ranging from 20mm to 380mm. Cast steel and ductile iron housings are available for severe duty applications. 1. Cut costs with an overhaul Removal of electric motors for timely overhaul can increase the life of the motor and reduce its running costs, and in some instances save a costly failure. 2. Check the operating temperature The life of a motor depends on its operating temperature. Any build-up of material on the windings or obstructing airways will be detrimental to the dissipation of heat and result in some inefficiency. 3. Check for dust Dust holds a serious threat to the life of an induction motor. If dust is allowed to consolidate in the windings, it turns the winding overhang into a sponge soaking up any harmful moisture, oil or acid fume ingredients in the atmosphere. 4. Remove dust Regular inspection is recommended with the removal of any accumulated deposits either by hand or by being sucked out using a vacuum cleaner. 5. Check for excess oil and grease Oil and grease present a particular hazard to motor windings, primarily in their capacity to arrest, absorb and unite other contaminates. 6. Remove excess oil and grease Thoroughly clean windings with an appropriate solvent. Take care in the choice of the solvent, since the use of an improper one can soften or even remove the varnish. 7. Check for moisture and remove An insulation test will establish whether a motor winding is significantly affected by moisture content. If so, it is preferable to ‘dry it out’ before attempting to put it into service. 8. Minimise friction Numerous conditions can lead to generation of unnecessary friction, such as bearings receiving an insufficient supply of oil or grease, application of a totally incorrect lubricant, or contamination of bearing lubricant with solid particles. 9. Remedy misalignment Geometrically incorrect assembly of a driving unit and its driven equipment results in accelerated wear and ultimate failure of a constituent component. Any tell-tale signs – such as overheating, vibration or noise – should be promptly investigated and remedied. 10. Minimise vibration Vibration can quickly generate problems, such as loose wiring connections or chafing of winding insulation. To trace a vibration source, the most practical procedure is to use a vibration meter but can be achieved often by a process of elimination, checking potential sources in turn until it is located. FOR ELECTRIC MOTORSTOP 10 TIPS For more detailed information scan this QR code SKF has launched a new sound monitor kit designed to detect conveyor idler faults much earlier than any other method currently available, potentially saving companies thousands of pounds through the aversion of unnecessary maintenance costs and system downtime.
  6. 6. 10 ISSUE 19 You and the We’re already aiming to achieve the zero target nationally by the end of 2015. However, the new Scottish regulations mean that we have been presenting metal, plastic, glass, paper and card for separate collection for recycling, since 1st January. Meanwhile, further south, we’re conducting a survey on all our main sites to assess what is wasted and why. And in a practical first step, we’ve swapped half the waste bins at our Halesowen Head Office and Distribution Centre for recycling bins, and point-of-use recycling bins have also been installed. Watching our waste The waste survey has already revealed some staggering statistics. For example, in 2013, as a company we produced 540 metric tonnes of waste nationwide, of which only 85 tonnes was recycled. That leaves us with a staggering 460 tonnes of waste – much of which could probably be recycled or re-used – being, literally, wasted. So we need to recycle more. We need to look at ways of re-using waste: perhaps diverting it to energy production where suitable. And we need to look at the most effective way of all of reducing waste: preventing it in the first place. Doing things differently For example, you want to protect something in the post. Do you use a Jiffy Bag with a high plastic content, which is then thrown away? Well why not protect the item just as effectively but far more sustainably, with a cardboard box? It’s not only re-usable – so better value for money – but also recyclable – so there’s zero waste to landfill. It’s a win- win, not a waste-waste, situation. In it together Reducing waste to landfill is not just about saving money – though in the long run it will. It’s not just about giving our business a competitive advantage. Though that will come too. It’s also about helping our customers, most of whom are going through the same process of finding ways to reduce waste. Clearly, if they can choose to buy a product in recyclable packaging – and even a product which is recyclable – it will help reduce their own waste stream, so will be their preferred option. And last – but far from least – reducing waste is about the planet. Our planet and our customers’ planet. Everybody’s planet. We’re all in it together because we’re all on it together. So let’s all think hard and work hard, to achieve Zero Waste to Landfill by the end of 2015. Scotland leads the way-ste New regulations have been passed by the Scottish Parliament to help Scotland become one of the most resource-efficient nations in Europe. And as ERIKS has sites in Scotland, that means we’re fast-tracking our Zero Waste to Landfill initiative north of the border. Clearly, if they can choose to buy a product in recyclable packaging – and even a product which is recyclable – it will help reduce their own waste stream, so will be their preferred option. Ian Kempson Group Quality Manager ERIKS UK X What if a bearing was so good, it could last twice as long as the one it replaces? So good that it could reduce energy costs, cut lubricant use, and even allow you to run your machinery faster and cooler? The benefits to your operation would far outweigh the cost of these bearings. Upgraded SKF Explorer spherical roller bearings are just that good, delivering twice the life of original SKF Explorer bearings under contaminated and poor lubrication conditions. Additionally, sealed SKF Explorer spherical roller bearings can be considered lubricated for the life of the bearing in many applications. By eliminating or extending relubrication intervals, these bearings can significantly reduce the cost to purchase, apply and dispose of grease. For further information: Upgraded SKF Explorer spherical roller bearings last up to twice as long 01582 490049 SKF (U.K.) Limited
  7. 7. 12 13ISSUE 19 Focus on Quarrying and Mining Focus on Quarrying and Mining To put this into perspective, according to the National Coal Mining Museum in 1900 there were 3,384 mines with 780,000 workers producing some 225 million tons. After rising to just over 1.2 million workers in 1920 the industry has been in a steady, and of late precipitous, decline. Some argue this is a good thing despite the devastation wrought on mining communities. Coal fired power stations produce more than a quarter of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, even in the face of consistent efforts to wean the country off this dirty fuel and move it to renewable energy, the UK still uses more than 50 million tons of coal a year, mostly imported, to supply its 19 coal power stations. These employ more than 4,000 people and produce over a quarter of the country’s electricity, rising to more than 50% in peak times. Recent developments mean coal needn’t be the carbon monster that it traditionally has been and ‘clean coal’ is possible. However, a proper investment in carbon capture and storage (CCS) is needed to make this happen. The reality is that, as attractive as dumping fossil fuels completely may sound, the world economy, and indeed the UK economy, is a long way away from being able to do that. Other countries, with more impressive green credentials, are even building new, albeit cleaner, coal fired power stations to ensure security of supply and lower energy costs – even Germany is building several. Experience shows that many businesses get started by artisans, not only in manufacturing but also in the services and repair sectors of the economy. Small and medium businesses are the major driver of employment and beefing up the small scale manufacturing sector in the UK would provide a fantastic opportunity for its economy to absorb the millions of young people not currently in employment, education or training. While the arguments for the reestablishment of the UK coal mining industry are powerful, there are no magic bullets. Take the example of South Africa, which has an abundance of minerals but which missed the last two commodity booms because politics and damaged confidence levels stopped it from putting in place the logistics and policies needed to take advantage of the opportunities. If the UK’s coal industry is to be revived, it will undoubtedly require support from the state. This need not take the form of direct subsidies to miners and ancillary industries (although the fiscus may be required to derisk investments through tax and other incentives). Support must come primarily through the building and upgrading of the physical, social, legal and financial infrastructure needed to successfully mine and beneficiate minerals in a modern economy. Q U AR RYING &MININ G •FOCU S ON • IS THE UK’S COAL INDUSTRY ON THE VERGE OF REVIVAL? There are now only a handful of coal mines left in the UK, employing fewer than 6,000 people and producing a mere 18 million tons a year. This is down from 1980’s 211 mines where 230,000 workers produced 127 million tons. Quentin Wray Independent Journalist Quarrying & Mining But one of the most important benefits of strengthening the British mining industry and the new technologies associated with it will be the demand it will create for artisans and the impetus that this will give the country’s nascent apprenticeship programme. The UK’s proved reserves are a small percentage of the world’s total of 861,000 million tons but there is enough there to make it imperative that it makes the most of its remaining natural endowment and, without being irresponsible, develops and exploits it for both local and export markets. There is certainly enough there to create space for the UK to become a leader in CCS technology – a leadership position that would stand it, and its industrial northern heartland, in good stead over the century or so that coal will, despite the legitimate efforts of the green lobby, remain a cornerstone of global energy policy. Further developing the domestic energy sector would encourage re-industrialisation and help establish new small, medium and large scale manufacturers to service the mines and ancillary industries. There are also opportunities for equipment manufacturers and resellers to set-up shop. ERIKS’ Gearbox Service is not just a service offering. It’s a service partnership. And the difference lies in ERIKS’ attitude to customers, and the added value provided. ERIKS Electro-Mechanical Services Gearbox Expert knowledge for cost-effective solutions. Condition Monitoring Superior data gathered by the latest equipment, and interpreted by skilled engineers. Pumps Pump services and technical resources all in one place, from repair and replacement to audits and testing. Electronics Cost-effective maintenance, repair and overhaul of a wide range of industrial electronics, to BSEN ISO 9001:2001 quality. Electrical Power Distribution Repair, replacement, maintenance and installation of transmission, switchgear and distribution network equipment, to keep you legal, safe and productive. HV Motors and Coils A total integrated solution, for a range of industries from nuclear to oil and gas, power generation to defence, and many more. Only ERIKS Gearbox Services has the attitude, experience, expertise and resources to offer a wide choice of options based on a solution-neutral philosophy. Best choice, best value ERIKS’ comprehensive gearbox capability means customers can choose from three options when a gearbox fails: to repair, replace, or upgrade. For speed of service – when the machine in question is process-critical, for example – ERIKS’ can provide out-of-hours support on an emergency basis. However, even in these cases, the total cost will be considered, and a repair (using OEM spares and backed by a 12-month warranty) will only be recommended if it is financially viable. If a repair is uneconomical, ERIKS can provide a like-for-like replacement – including ERIKS range of Fenner products. The newer equipment will help to reduce running costs, and will of course be backed by a full manufacturer’s warranty. Alternatively, ERIKS offers customers the opportunity to upgrade to the latest technology. This will generally provide long-term cost savings and improvements in plant productivity and reliability – but as always the final decision is the customer’s. A feasibility study can be carried out if requested, and the ERIKS Online Total Cost of Ownership calculator is always available to help customers make a fully- informed decision. Avoiding the issue Better even than a solution-neutral approach is when there’s no need for a solution at all. In other words, when the gearbox issue is spotted before it becomes a problem, and downtime is minimised or entirely avoided. ERIKS offers a range of Condition Monitoring services (oil, vibration and thermal analysis) to facilitate early detection of potential problems. ERIKS Gearbox Guard, for example, is a low-cost sensor network which provides an early warning system based on continual equipment monitoring. With a data upload every 10 seconds, Gearbox Guard can trigger alerts and alarms when pre-set parameters are exceeded, and enables the identification of trends. Paragon Asset Tracking helps customers to keep track of their gearbox equipment and its status (e.g. due for maintenance, out for repair, in stores), helping to ensure equipment – and therefore productivity – is maintained at its optimum. Clearly, the ‘repair, replace, upgrade’ solution-neutral philosophy is so totally unbiased, ERIKS will even help you avoid having to make the choice at all.
  8. 8. 14 15ISSUE 19 Focus on Quarrying and Mining Focus on Quarrying and Mining For applications from crushers to conveyor belts in mines and quarries, to pumps and compressors in steel plants, and for numerous other high power, heavy load uses, synchronous motors are increasingly the motor of choice. And these are just the sort of applications where considerable energy savings can be made, and fast payback on the cost of the motor achieved, so that all subsequent savings help to reduce the user’s operating costs. torque – such as crushers, extruders and so on – breakdown torque with synchronous motors can be as much as five times higher than the rated torque. Improving stability An additional benefit of synchronous motors is their ability to improve stability in Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) applications. Synchronous motors with variable speed are recommended for applications with high torque, low speed and wide speed adjusting range. Depending on load and environment characteristics, motors for such applications can be constructed with or without brushes. These motors are suitable to operate at any speed range from zero to maximum, and will maintain stability independent of load variation, which – on equipment such as laminators, plastic extruders and similar – is a capability of paramount importance. Maintenance not missed On brushless-type machines, the reductions in day-to-day running costs delivered by synchronous motors are complemented by reduced maintenance costs. Since the motors are manufactured without brushes So why do synchronous motors offer such significant and speedy savings? Essentially it’s thanks to the motor’s ability to reduce electrical energy costs, and improve energy efficiency, by correcting power factor on the motor power supply. In addition, they provide high torques and constant speed under load variation, which results in low operating and low maintenance costs. These benefits explain the use of the motors in a wide range of industries, including mining and quarrying, steel, pulp and paper, wood processing, sewage, chemicals and petrochemicals, cement and oil. Applications in these industries include crushers, mills and conveyor belts; fans, pumps and compressors; pulp and paper extruders; wood chippers and debarkers; and fans and water injection pumps. Less stress, more efficiency Due to their higher efficiency level, reduced size and higher output rating, synchronous motors can replace DC motors in high-performance applications. In addition, in a number of instances, a motor with lower torque values compared or slip rings, obviously the usual inspection, cleaning or other maintenance of these components is not required. Synchronous motors require a DC power supply to power the field winding (rotor winding). This comes from a brushless rotating exciter (on brushless versions), or via a static exciter on versions with brushes. WEG synchronous motors supplied with static exciters are fitted with slip rings and brushes that allow current powering of the rotor poles through slipping contacts. The DC power supply for the poles is derived from an AC/DC converter and static controller. The static exciter is used extensively on VFD applications. WEG synchronous motors with a brushless excitation system are fitted with a rotating exciter, normally installed on the rear of the motor. Depending on motor operation, the exciter has either a DC or AC power supply on the stator. The safe choice WEG design and manufacture synchronous motors in sizes up to 20MW for general to standard can be applied. This brings a positive reduction in motor starting current – resulting in fewer problems with the electric system during starting – together with a reduction of mechanical stresses from the motor windings. Although synchronous motors have better efficiency and speed accuracy than induction motors, their design is more complex. This means that cost comparisons between the two are not entirely straightforward. The simpler design of the induction motor makes them less expensive for a given power level, at power outputs up to 10 megawatts. But above this figure, the higher efficiency of synchronous motors delivers lower operating costs. This higher efficiency is the result of synchronous motors’ superiority at converting electrical energy into mechanical power. They can also be designed for high- efficiency operation across a broad speed range, which in turn provides significant energy-saving across a wide variety of loads. And for applications requiring high industrial applications, and also offer versions for hazardous (flammable) atmospheres both on- and off-shore. These hazardous area motors are supplied in a range of protection levels, such as Ex-n (non-sparking) and Ex-p (pressurised), to meet national and international standard requirements. In addition, these WEG synchronous motors are tested and approved by worldwide certifying institutions including API, NEMA, IEC, CSA, BVQI, NBR, ABS and DNV. So if you’re looking for high efficiency, speed accuracy, and fast payback, a WEG synchronous motor is your safe choice – in more ways than one. Driving FASTpayback >>> with synchronous motors >>>
  9. 9. 16 ISSUE 19 Focus on Quarrying and Mining Double the life, and half the trouble An open-cast mine operator in Germany mines coal, which is estimated to be around 30 million years old. However, it was the two brief years the bearings on its conveyors were lasting which was one of the operator’s most pressing concerns. There are 250km of conveyors on the site, operating – like the mine – round the clock, 365 days a year. The longest section is 5.6km, and each section incorporates around 40 bearings, in the head and tail pulleys and the bend rolls. The conveyors transfer approximately 240,000m3 per day of mined coal, and move approximately 500 million tons every year of other material, that’s been extracted and is then used to rebuild the mine. Grease was the word The bearings used by a coal mine operator on the conveyors were open spherical roller bearings, which were continually failing. The working environment at the mine is by its nature highly contaminated with dirt, grit and other foreign bodies, all of which frequently found their way into the bearings, causing repeated failures and downtime. Downtime in any process obviously has a negative effect on productivity, but in a non-stop operation it’s catastrophic. As a stop-gap measure, the customer’s maintenance engineers frequently applied large amounts of grease to the bearings. However, this not only created an unwanted cost, but also caused additional problems and expense in terms of disposal, and raised concerns relating to Germany’s strict environmental regulations. Doubling the duty One aspect of conveyor maintenance is lagging rework on the pulleys. With the aim of minimising downtime – and achieving a target 3% reduction in operating costs – the coal mine operator called in SKF to see if they could find a solution which would keep the bearings operating until the lagging rework was required. SKF application specialists suggested a test of sealed spherical roller bearings on the bend rolls, to replace the existing open versions. As well as installing SKF 23228-2CS5/VT143 sealed spherical roller bearings, the housings were filled with grease (for life), and a labyrinth seal was added at the end of the roller. While the previous open bearings typically lasted an average of 730 days, the SKF sealed solution lasted more than FOUR full years: a 100% increase in service life. The longer life enabled the coal mine operator to achieve its goal of performing bearing maintenance at the same time as lagging rework. Additional benefits included cost savings on used grease disposal, and a reduction in bearing mounting time from four hours to two. This also meant a reduction in downtime, and enabled maintenance engineers to gain time to spend on other critical tasks. Would the coal mine operator go back to their old-style bearings? Not in 30 million years! Imagine a game of ‘Scissors, Paper, Stone’ but with rubber and steel instead. Most of us would put our money on steel to win. But in a hose application, it would be rubber that comes out on top for abrasion and wear resistance. Which is why Novaflex® use rubber compounds in their mining slurry hoses. The hardest material is not always the hardest-wearing. And that’s particularly true if you need a material to resist abrasion rather than, for instance, impact. Even the hardest steels can be gradually worn away by contact with abrasive materials, whereas a soft and elastic rubber compound will last longer, with less wear. Novaflex® take advantage of the abrasion-resistant properties of certain rubber compounds, to produce hoses with a longer service life, that offer better value for money. Soft is hard to beat The unique ability of rubber compounds to resist abrasion, cutting, ripping and other types of wear is down to their elasticity. This means that, when they’re hit by a particle (a tiny piece of grit in the slurry that’s being pumped, for example), the compounds deform to absorb the kinetic energy. This means less or no damage to the material, and less wear as a result, where a harder-surfaced material would resist the energy instead, and end up being chipped. It’s knowing which compounds are best for each abrasion resistance requirement that enables Novaflex® to create longer-lasting hoses for applications such as mining slurry transfer. Going round the bend It’s not only abrasion that affects the performance and service life of a transfer hose. Bends, offsets, misalignments, expansion, contraction and vibration can be all in a day’s work for a hose, and the hose material and construction need to be flexible enough to cope. Even so, engineering as large a bend radius as possible into the hose system will help to reduce wear and increase service life. Hose wear always occurs on the outside radius of the bend, so the greater the bend radius, the lower the angle of impact and the lower the rate of wear. The optimum bend radius to reduce wear is ten times the inside diameter of the hose. Slurry in a hurry As well as the standard Novaflex® abrasion-resistant mining slurry hoses, there are more wear-resistant and quicker installation options available too. The Novaflex® Slurry King 5000 saves time over engineered hoses and steel pipe installations, with its unique quick installation system. Simply stock the bulk hose (up to 14" diameter) and couplings, then cut the hose to length, attach the coupling and install – in minutes, with no welding. And for the greatest abrasion, cut and gouge resistance, for dry or wet material transfer, there’s the NovaWear-YG™ Tube. So whatever you need to transfer by hose, the most effective hose material is soft, and the choice isn’t hard: it’s Novaflex® . nails? Hard as 17
  10. 10. 18 19ISSUE 19 Focus on Quarrying and Mining Focus on Quarrying and Mining Taking care of your baby Just like being there The sensors used for ERIKS condition monitoring sensor systems are simple to install and use, and highly secure too. Their Remote Access mode provides a secure, transparent communication tunnel directly to the remote equipment. This allows remote monitoring, with data uploaded to the cloud or alerts sent by text or email, with no need for modems or Virtual Private Networks. There’s also no specialist IT infrastructure or static IP address required to get the sensor up and running, and its EasyConnect feature essentially makes the device plug and play. An ERIKS sensor system is a highly cost-effective alternative to a full-blown vibration sensing set-up (which is more like a full-time nanny). Instead of keeping a 24-hour eye on your equipment and alerting you to the slightest variation from the norm, it intelligently interprets the data coming from the machine, and decides – for each individual deviation from pre-set parameters – whether or not you need to be alerted. And because it can utilise your Ethernet, the internet and the cloud to communicate, it can alert whoever you want, wherever you want, whenever you want. Sensible sensor choices Every type of equipment can fail in a slightly different way. The skill – and the ERIKS know-how – lies in identifying the most common failure modes and how they manifest themselves, then selecting and installing the appropriate sensors, with the right set of parameters to identify the signs of failure. Temperature sensors, for example, cost less than vibration sensors and diagnostics. But only if the correct parameters are established from the start will they be able to tell the difference between a temperature rise due to a failing bearing, and one caused by a hot day or local production temperature fluctuations. Whereas oil cleanliness sensors will make sure that the systems’ oil is operating contaminant free in its optimum condition. When they do detect a variation which requires an alert, there’s a choice of actions which can follow, depending on the criticality of the equipment and the customer’s requirements. You have been warned With the system connected to a warning light, siren or similar, personnel on site receive an immediate warning and can act accordingly. Alternatively, for a highly critical piece of equipment, the alert could trigger a controlled shutdown routine. Or for less critical equipment, the alert could trigger a text message or email to designated personnel, or even to ERIKS engineers. For the least critical equipment, the data could simply be uploaded to the cloud, where it can be viewed and analysed by ERIKS engineers, along with earlier alerts, to spot trends and identify potential root causes of failure. As machines can keep running until total and catastrophic failure occurs, any evidence of what could have caused it will be destroyed. When one customer suffered repeated bearing failures on a particular piece of equipment, a mobile sensor from ERIKS was used to capture the data and help identify the fault. At around 60% of the cost of installing a permanent sensor, and with no ongoing telemetry costs, short- term leasing of a temporary sensor can be a highly effective solution. Alternatively, permanent sensors can be particularly useful for capturing evidence of transient occurrences which would otherwise go unnoticed. Look, don’t touch Some of the plant which needs monitoring the most is the most difficult to monitor. In the quarrying industry, for example, screens, breakers and crushers are well- guarded for safety, but the conditions in which they operate mean they are prone to failure and need careful monitoring. Sensors are the ideal answer and are already used in some cases – though with manual data collection on a periodic basis. However, by fitting an ERIKS sensor system and connecting it to the customer’s own PLC or a telemetry system, the equipment can be monitored more frequently – or even continually – by remote means, and at a fraction of the cost of the initial capital investment. With the increasing sophistication and falling costs of sensors and communications technology, an ERIKS condition monitoring sensor system is a highly effective method of avoiding costly catastrophic equipment failures – and of ensuring a good night’s sleep. Think of an item of your production equipment. Now think of it as your baby (perhaps you already do). Of course you want to give your baby the best care and protection you can. But on the other hand, you don’t want to be dragged out of bed every five minutes just because your baby turns over or burps. So what you need for your plant is a more intelligent baby monitor, that helps you tell the difference between a cry for help and a sleepy snuffle. What you need is an ERIKS Condition Monitoring sensor system. Dave Manning-Ohren Condition Monitoring Manager, ERIKS UK
  11. 11. 20 21ISSUE 19 Focus on Quarrying and Mining Focus on Quarrying and Mining BEARINGS HAVE A TOUGH TIME IN DEMANDING ENVIRONMENTS SUCH AS MINES AND QUARRIES. IN THESE KIND OF APPLICATIONS, EVEN HOUSED UNIT BEARINGS CAN SUFFER FROM THE HARSH OPERATING CONDITIONS AND LUBRICATION ISSUES, LEADING TO BEARING DAMAGE. BUT TIMKEN’S SOLID-BLOCK HOUSED UNITS ARE RIGHT AT HOME, HOWEVER UNCOMFORTABLE THE SURROUNDINGS. Improved from start to finish From installation to downtime and service life, the Timken solid-block housed unit is a major improvement. The standard steel Timken unit is delivered completely sealed, so the bearing is never exposed to the elements or to contamination – just one reason the units can be offered with a lifetime guarantee. Other design and engineering advances which help to overcome the most common causes of bearing failure include a standard extended inner ring of the solid block unit – preventing contamination and shaft wear – and three primary seals, plus secondary seal and cover options, for even more contamination protection. Secondary seals are available in steel, polyurethane and other options on request. Lubricated to perfection Over-lubrication and under-lubrication can both be problems on bearings. The Timken solid-block bearing avoids both by being pre-lubricated to exactly the right amount. Relubrication is minimal, and it’s impossible to over-lubricate, thanks to specially-designed seals and (on non- purging seal designs) a relief valve which expels excess grease. With industry research showing that most bearings don’t even achieve the given basic life calculation, there’s clearly a need for a housed unit that overcomes the three main causes of bearing failure: contamination, incorrect lubrication, and incorrect installation. And that’s just what Timken’s solution does. 3 problems, 1 solution If a bearing can find a way to fail, it will, and there are three main ways it tries: 1. Around 90% of bearing failures are caused by contamination. Mounting the seal directly onto the shaft causes this, allowing contamination to penetrate the bearing. 2. In an attempt to reduce contamination, operators tend to over-lubricate the unit, until the grease purges. This leads to the bearing overheating, wear, and failure. Over-lubrication also wastes grease, time and money. 3. Most split-block housed units require time-consuming mounting, adjusting for float, and measuring the internal clearance of the bearing. This means several opportunities for human error, leading – sooner or later – to bearing failure. The Timken spherical roller bearing solid- block housed unit has the solution to all these problems. Solving the housing crisis Saving the day, the months and the years. A housed unit on a sand dryer was failing every 2-3 days, when thecustomer changed from drying sand to drying pea gravel. To try toprevent the bearings from breaking up, and resolve the problemof excess grease leaking through the seals, the customer stoppedlubrication altogether. When a machinery upgrade was due, a housing upgrade to aTimken QVVSN19V090ST was also carried out. This bearing wasstill running satisfactorily after 6 months, representing a cost savingof almost £13k. The situation with another customer was similar, with the balls inthe housed unit cracking after 7-10 days due to overload. In thiscase a Timken spherical roller bearing solid-block housed unit – theQMSN18J080SM – was introduced, with a single new unit able toreplace 17 of the old ones. The result was an initial cost saving, followed by a saving of 16 man-hours over 6 months. The total cost saving over the 6-month periodwas nearly £15k, and the bearing unit is still going strong after 2 years. Pre-lubrication even makes installation quicker, because there’s no need to pack the housing with grease as part of the process. There are also several other ways the Timken design saves time at installation: No fiddling with feeler gauges, adjusting to accommodate for float, or placing fixing rings in the housing. Internal clearance is pre-set, and bearings can be ordered for the required float. Float adjustment, if required, simply means backing off the grub screw to allow rotation of the locking washer. Once set, retighten the grub screw to lock everything into place. Machined feet (for one-time shaft alignment), taper puller holes, block oxide inner rings and six different shaft locking choices all help cut installation time – to less than ten minutes in some cases. Available in seven different housing styles to suit any application, and interchangeable with virtually any other solid-block roller bearing unit, there are Timken solid-block housed units in sizes to accommodate shafts from 40-180mm. So whatever your housing crisis, there’s sure to be a Timken unit to resolve it. This article supplied by Timken.
  12. 12. Energy savings Energy savings 22 23ISSUE 19 Although it may look smooth to the naked eye, the inner surface of a pump seen under a microscope looks rough and pitted. Although this roughness is microscopic, it’s more than enough to cause turbulence and drag as liquids pass through the pump. This reduces the efficiency of the pump, and that in turn increases the amount of energy required to achieve the specified rate of flow or level of pressure. Stainless steel pumps are naturally less susceptible to erosion and more resistant to corrosion, but using an ERIKS applied ceramic coating as a protective and sacrificial layer on a cast iron pump is a far cheaper, and equally effective, alternative. Hard wear Pumps can come under attack in more ways than one. Firstly, if they’re pumping materials which are clearly abrasive, then their surface will be eroded over time and their efficiency will be reduced. Secondly, even when pumping only water, salts within the liquid can also lead to corrosion. And thirdly, pumps used for aggressive water conditions can face a ‘double whammy’ of erosion and corrosion. When the pump is inactive an oxide layer builds up, from corrosion. This layer is then removed when the pump next operates, causing erosion of the base metal. Then when the pump is switched off and on the whole cycle is repeated. Pumps in mines and quarries have a hard time – pumping abrasive materials that cause metal erosion, or brackish water that can lead to corrosion. And both of which can lead to less efficient operation and greater energy use. But surprisingly, the best way to stop your pumps taking such a pasting is to give them another one: with ERIKS applied ceramic compound. Eliminating 6-monthly overhauls A process water pump was requiring 6-monthly overhauls. Dismantling revealed severe electrolytic corrosion where the cast iron impeller neck met the impeller disc. The impeller static wear rings and pump shaft were stainless steel, so this suggested a galvanic corrosion process, assisted by the salinity of the abstracted water. Similar corrosion had occurred between the static wear rings and main casings, and erosion/corrosion was evident on the impeller vanes. There were also signs of re-circulation occurring within the pump as a result of constant running to the left of BEP. ERIKS reclaimed the main casing, using ceramic-filled epoxy paste to rebuild voids caused by corrosion and entrainment. An efficiency coating was also applied to the internal surfaces of the main casing, to reduce internal friction and prevent further corrosion/erosion problems in future. Bronze replacement impellers and rings were installed, and new cast iron landings to accept the static wear rings, after line boring the main casings. Coated for efficiency Applied to a pump which has been worn by abrasive materials or corroded by aggressive water conditions, the ERIKS applied ceramic coating works its way into the microscopic cavities on the pump’s inner surface. Building up layer on layer, the base epoxy with ceramic powder fillers restores the worn areas to the correct level. Then, as the second stage of the process, another layer containing even finer ceramic fillers is painted over the first, to provide a smooth, efficiency-enhancing layer. The system is so effective that a refurbished pump with the ceramic compound treatment applied will be restored to its original, as-new efficiency. The treatment can also be applied to a new pump, where it will deliver a 4-5% increase in efficiency. This increase will be maintained for as long as the coating remains in place and effective: generally until the next scheduled pump refurbishment. Extending pump life Coating a pump with ERIKS applied ceramic treatment not only increases its energy efficiency, but also extends its service life – so it works more efficiently and more cost-effectively, for longer. This can be particularly useful in the case of an obsolete pump for which replacement parts are difficult or impossible to find. Equally important, applying the treatment won’t increase pump outage – it will usually be carried out as part of a scheduled pump refurbishment. Depending on the conditions of use and the abrasiveness of the liquids being pumped, reapplication of the coating will not be needed until the next pump refurbishment. In addition, the length of time between refurbishments may also be extended, thanks to the increased efficiency provided by the coating. Refurbishment intervals will be determined by the bearing or seal life. The application of the ceramic paste and coating is ideally carried out off-site at an ERIKS workshop. However, if a pump is physically too large to move, the process can take place on-site, provided appropriate shelter is available. The process involves firstly, shot-blasting the casing to SA 2.5 (75 microns) surface roughness, then applying the ceramic paste and top coating within two hours – before any significant oxidation can occur. The additional cost of the ceramic compound treatment is around 15% of the cost of the full pump refurbishment. So compared with the cost of a new pump, it makes sound economic sense. Powerful proof The effectiveness and energy-saving advantages of the ERIKS applied ceramic coating have been proven in use in both the water and power industries. Pumping water goes with the territory in the water industry, and in water treatment applications in particular this water may contain materials which have an erosive or corrosive effect on the pumps. Similarly, the power industry uses large quantities of water for cooling, usually drawn from the sea or from river systems. This can be brackish, and has a negative effect on the pumps. However, ERIKS’ applied ceramic coating is used extensively in these industries, with positive effects on pump life and energy-efficiency (see green box above). ERIKS’ figures show that any pump with a discharge nozzle of 6 or above will deliver a positive return on the cost of the treatment, in terms of lower energy use. In addition, the extended service life and enhanced maintenance of the asset should also be taken into account. All of which proves that sometimes, a pasting can be the best thing to happen to your pumps. Give your pumps another pasting Andy Cruse Pumps Business Development Director ERIKS UK
  13. 13. Best practice 24 ISSUE 19 EXCELLENT COMFORT AND PROTECTION RX® Disposable Masks are an essential requirement when working in atmospheres where harmful gases, vapours, smoke or mist particles are present. Offering a high level of protection and constructed using non-allergenic materials, RX® Disposable Masks are lightweight and ergonomically shaped for a comfortable fit. Manufactured to the highest standards, our range of masks include adjustable nose and head straps to ensure a good, air-tight seal, an exhalation valve for easier breathing and conform to the latest European standards. Feel the difference. Order your RX® disposable masks today. Call 0800 006 6000 or visit RX® Disposable Masks offer a high level of protection against dust particles, mist and fumes - now you can breathe easy! Take a breather. Safety ProductS RX® DIsPOsAbLE MAsks RX® FLAT-FOLD DIsPOsAbLE MAsk RX® PRE-FORMED (CuPPED) DIsPOsAbLE MAsk RX® PRE-FORMED (CuPPED) AND REINFORCED DIsPOsAbLE MAsk Quartz is found in almost all kinds of rock, sand, clay, shale and gravel. Fine dust from any of these sources, if it finds its way into the lungs, can put workers at risk of developing silicosis: a chronic and possibly severely disabling lung disease. Silicosis has only been seen in workers from industries where there is a significant exposure to silica dust – such as quarries, foundries and potteries. It usually takes a number of years of regular daily exposure before there is a risk of developing silicosis, but the link between working in the quarrying industry and the disease is clear. There is now also evidence that heavy and prolonged workplace exposure to dust containing crystalline silica can lead to an increased risk of lung cancer. The evidence suggests that an increased risk of lung cancer is likely to occur only in those workers who have developed silicosis. So clearly, there’s a need to minimise silica dust where possible, and also to prevent it being breathed in. Identifying dust All dusts are not the same. The amounts of silica found in quarries depends on the types of materials being worked on. And in turn, that affects the amount of silica in the dust in the local atmosphere. The only way to be sure of the levels of silica – and the risk of lung disease for workers – is to have the materials being worked on, and the dust in the air, sampled and analysed. If silica is identified, current advice from the HSE is for any person who is exposed to the dust to be supplied with a P3 respirator. This will prevent dust particles from penetrating the filter and entering the lungs. The filter medium used in P3 filters is 99.7% efficient against dust particles down to 0.5 microns, so there is very little chance of any lung-damaging dusts entering the lungs. In fact, a disposable FFP3V, or a half-mask fitted with P3 filters, offers a protection factor of twenty times the Work Exposure Levels set by the HSE. However, reducing the amount of dust created by the processes should always be the first step. This may mean anything from changing the way the minerals are extracted, to using water suppression, for example, to minimise airborne dusts. As always, best practice prefers prevention to cure. Breathe more easily The quarrying industry is dangerous enough, without having to worry about every breath you take. Yet one of the health risks of working in the industry is caused by exposure to fine dust containing crystalline silica (otherwise known as quartz). So it’s essential to use the correct personal protection equipment to minimise exposure and risk. Paul Skade Category Manager Tools and Maintenance ERIKS UK
  14. 14. ADVERT ISSUE 17 The Tig What price energy security? “ The crisis in the Ukraine is disturbing for many reasons, not least the prospect of renewed Russian expansionism and the potential violations of international law. But it also calls into question the UK’s energy policy over the last forty years, during which we have become more and more dependent upon gas and coal imports from Eastern Europe, in particular Russia. The stark truth is that, with the decline of the UK’s coal industry, Russia is by far and away our biggest coal supplier. We now import circa 20 million tonnes of coal every year from Russia to fuel our coal-fired power stations, from a total of circa 45 million tonnes of imports. The gas situation is more complex. The UK remains heavily dependent on gas, particularly for domestic heat, with the vast majority of supply coming from imports. However, the complex network of gas pipelines across Europe make it difficult to pin down the country of origin. Some analysts argue that Russia supplies circa 15% of the UK’s gas, whilst others suggest that none of our gas originates from Moscow’s state-owned energy companies. It is however undeniable that our dependency on imports leave us vulnerable to fluctuations in the international spot price for gas which, in turn, is directly affected by the diplomatic situation. Moscow has proved in the past to be more than willing to use energy as a stick to get what it wants. In 2006, gas supplies to the Ukraine were cut off. In 2009, supplies to both the Ukraine and Western Europe were disrupted. The source of the renewed tensions between the two countries is complex, but the Ukraine’s reliance on Russian gas is, once again, a contributory factor. Whilst all this has been going on, in the UK we haven’t been helping ourselves. Renewable energy, specifically wind, remains in its infancy, particularly compared to Continental Europe. Domestic microgeneration, such as solar panels, continues to be hampered by the high unit cost of the equipment. Nuclear power therefore remains central to the UK’s energy strategy, but the sale of British Energy to the French firm, EDF, left us without any capability to build and run our own nuclear power stations. Whilst the Exchequer got £4.4 billion in 2008 for its stake in British Energy it failed to wring a binding commitment from EDF to build any nuclear reactors. In the end, EDF could only be persuaded to build the new reactor at Hinkley Point in Somerset if a minimum price was guaranteed for the electricity generated, due to shareholder concerns over the enormous upfront construction costs. This minimum, known as the ‘strike price’, will be covered by increases in consumer bills. The truth is the failings of successive governments to develop a long term energy strategy has left the UK at the mercy of both international relations and markets. We have come a long way from when coal, mined in the UK, was the lifeblood of the economy. The price we now pay for energy is dictated by foreign governments and international commodity exchanges. “ PARTNERSHIP BASED ON TRUST – AND TRUST BASED ON QUALITY NSK Europe Ltd. Northern Road · Newark · Nottinghamshire · NG24 2JF · Tel. +44(0)1636605123 · Fax +44(0)1636643276 · Bearings for the mining and quarrying industry: resistant to dust, mud and vibrations NSK’s bearings for the mining and quarrying industry are extremely reliable even under tough conditions, and at the highest loads and speeds. For example, NSK bearings from the CAM VS series last twice as long as conventional bearings. They also help to reduce energy usage, thereby cutting operating costs. NSK – one of the world’s leading manufacturers of bearings and linear systems. A premium brand since 1916. To find out more about NSK, visit or call us on +44(0)1636605123 Please visit NSK at the Hillhead Exhibition 2014 Booth: PA12 / PB11 Bearings for the mining and quarrying industry: resistant to dust, mud and vibrations NSK’s bearings for the mining and quarrying industry are extremely reliable even under tough conditions, and at the highest loads and speeds. For example, NSK bearings from the