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‘Rotation for life’ plan guarantees that machinery will turn

07 August, 2017

SKF has launched a novel maintenance service package under which, in return for a fixed monthly fee, it will guarantee the reliability and availability of specified rotating machinery at a customer’s site. The package, called “rotation for life” sets out agreed performance targets which the bearing-maker commits itself to achieve.

For the customer, the scheme can mean that bearings are moved from a capital to an operational expenditure. SKF says it will also reduce the user’s total cost of ownership and improve the performance of their rotating machinery.

The scheme means that it is in SKF’s interest to install equipment such as online condition monitoring and centralised lubrication systems that the customer might regard as unjustifiable costs. Also, if a service technician needs to be sent to a site, SKF will cover their costs.

“What the customer wants is a rotating machinery,” says Bernie van Leeuwen, SKF’s director of product management digitalisation. “The performance-based model is a win for the customer and for SKF.

“There is much more value for SKF in ‘selling’ reliable rotation,” he adds.  For example, the scheme gives the bearing-maker valuable operational data on its products that it can feed back to its development teams.

Van Leeuwen cites the example of conveyors, which are often a critical item in production processes. Under a “rotation for life” contract, it would be in SKF’s interest to supply and install sealed spherical roller bearings which cost less to maintain, need at least 60% less lubrication, and have three times longer MTBFs (mean time between failures) than unsealed bearings.

SKF argues that its "rotation for life" maintenance scheme can cut machine operators' total costs of ownership

SKF would probably also install an online condition monitoring system that collects and analyses data from the conveyor in real time and alerts the bearing-maker if it spots any potential problems. Such a system could also build up a history of the installation and identify any trends in behaviour.

Installing a centralised lubrication system would ensure that the correct lubrication was supplied to the right location at the right time. Again, it could signal any problems.

The “rotation for life” packages can include: spare parts reviews; an evaluation of the reliability of critical items of rotating machinery; and the long-term supply of bearings. They can cover seals, and include services such as remote diagnostics, root cause failure analyses, quality inspections and training.

• SKF is making “a major investment” in a software centre in Sweden which will develop next-generation technologies for condition monitoring. It plans to recruit about 50 developers for the centre.

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