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Food Processing

Here we look at some of the problems we have solved associated with equipment used within the food processing industry.

Redesign of Mechanical Dryer / Disintegrator Machines

These machines had suffered occasional fatigue failure of the rotating “beaters”. Design analysis demonstrated that certain modes of vibration coincided in frequency with major excitations.

Redesign of the shaft arrangement and the configuration of the beaters was carried out to solve the problem. Criteria for shaft stresses and bearing loadings were developed for future designs.

Steam Turbine Vibration Problems at a Sugar Factory

A boiler and steam turbine was being used in a sugar factory to generate electrical power and to provide steam for the sugar process. The turbine started to exhibit overheating of the bearings necessitating shutting down to avoid failure. Investigation revealed brownish deposits building up on the bearings and in the filters, which were found to be of biological origin.

The cause was contamination of the oil by water and water soluble resins, which supported the growth of bacteria. The deposits were a product of the bacteria, and became separated out within the bearing due to pressure changes.

Leakage of lubricant from gearboxes in a canning factory
Gearboxes driving conveyors on a large canning plant were losing lubricant (grease) from their gearboxes, in some cases resulting in complete gearbox failure.

Investigation revealed that there were inadequate breathing arrangements on the gearboxes, resulting in a build-up of internal pressure. Improved breathers were recommended.