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Rotamec serves up rapid geared motor replacement and refurbishment for food processing plant

27/04/2021 11:37:58
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ImagesClick Image for 300dpi jpg fileRotamec serves up rapid geared motor replacement and refurbishment for food processing plantRotamec serves up rapid geared motor replacement and refurbishment for food processing plantRotamec serves up rapid geared motor replacement and refurbishment for food processing plant

The festive period is incredibly important for food and beverage manufacturers. With demand sky high and lucrative supply contracts with supermarkets to fulfil, the last thing any producer wants is profitability to be risked by unexpected downtime. Luckily for a major food processing plant in the South West, Rotamec was able to step in to minimise the impact of a critical gearbox failure on a large food mixer just before Christmas 2020.

The week before Christmas

During a routine equipment inspection just before the festive period, engineers at a food processing plant realised that a gearbox was beginning to show signs of failure. It was part of a geared motor for a large food mixer, a critical piece of equipment which, if out of action, could result in thousands of pounds of lost production every hour. To further increase the urgency of the situation, a spare gearbox was not available on site as a redundancy.

The engineers assessed their options. After removing the damaged gearbox, they contacted various suppliers to source a replacement. However, the best lead time for a rebuilt gearbox was six weeks, which was an inadequate turnaround for the plant during such a busy time of year. The gearbox was then sent to a local rewind company, which identified that the failure had been caused by damage to the main pinion gear and mating first gear. Again, the quoted lead time for new gears was six weeks. These long lead times were in part due to the gearbox being ATEX-rated for use in potentially explosive application environments.

With downtime costs increasing, the Group Engineering Manager at the food processing plant called Rotamec to provide urgent support.

Sourcing a suitable gearbox

Darryl Beecham, Business Development Executive at Rotamec, took the call: “We are a leading provider of electromechanical engineering services for rotating equipment in the UK. Our specialty is responding to critical breakdowns for customers in pressurised sectors such as food and beverage. We operate a 24/7, 365 days-a-year repair service. Our teams are often on-site within hours, which backed by our in-house engineering capability, ensures we can offer greatly reduced lead times on repairs or replacement equipment.

“After close discussions with engineers at the plant regarding the mixer application and any flexibility in available solutions, it was discovered that the mixer had been moved from its original location in an ATEX rated area into a non-ATEX rated zone. This meant the replacement gearbox didn’t require such a specification, expanding available options.”

The Rotamec team set about trying to source a suitable replacement gearbox on a reduced lead time. They were able to find a 45 kW helical bevel geared motor from a German manufacturer which would slot into the mixer with minimal modification. An express, four-day build would ensure that the geared motor was delivered the week before the busy and highly profitable festive season.

Festive logistics

The replacement geared motor was completed a day ahead of schedule. However, the next challenge was to ensure that the unit reached the food processing plant. Ports had been closed due to the global pandemic, which with additional driver testing, congestion and customs delays, held up delivery by 24 hours. The Rotamec team called the German logistics company delivering the geared motor every couple of hours to ensure the food processing plant knew exactly when the unit would arrive. These updates carried on around the clock so the plant could plan production around the delivery.

Despite the multiple logistical challenges, the new geared motor arrived in time. Rotamec supported plant engineers who worked through the night to install the new unit. Due to confined space, the gearbox required separation from the motor, so Rotamec ensured correct alignment of the motor and gearbox was achieved when it was reassembled. By six in the morning the geared motor was ready to go, with normal production now able to resume to meet high festive demand.

Securing a redundancy

This was not all, as Darryl explains: “The original 45 kW geared motor was collected by Rotamec engineers and taken back to our extensive workshop facility in Cheddar. The unit was fully stripped and a detailed report compiled, along with costings, for a complete overhaul of the unit to hold on site as a spare. The refurbishment included re-varnishing of the motor windings, new bearings and seals, machining worn bearing housings and the manufacture of a new set of gears. A fresh coat of paint was also added, returning the finished unit to an ‘as new’ condition.

An Engineering Manager at the food processing plant said: “This is a great example of a local company providing exceptional levels of support. The team at Rotamec kept me and my team fully informed of progress every step of the way and I was well aware of the challenges that they were faced with. Considering the unit was built and shipped from Germany in a total of five, this was a vast improvement to the 6 weeks I had been offered elsewhere - so I think this is exceptional service.

“With Rotamec completing the overhaul of the original motor and gearbox this will give me peace of mind that this event will not be repeated again and our downtime will be kept to a minimum. A great example of providing effective engineering solutions and I look forward to continuing and strengthening our business relationship going forward.”

About Rotamec

Rotamec is a turnkey stock, supply, service and repair provider for a wide range of engineered products from leading brands. Operating UK facilities in Cheddar, South Wales, Exeter and Redditch, the business provides a 24/7, 365 days a year service to promote customer uptime by delivering cost effective engineering solutions.

Services offered include repair, refurbishment and rewind of AC and DC electric motors plus supply of motors, gearboxes, pumps, bearings and transmission components from leading brands. Site services are another area of expertise, with dedicated service teams on standby to supply and install all types of electrical and mechanical rotational equipment. Operatives undertake in-house training provided by leading industry manufacturers.

Rotamec was founded in May 2000, growing from a rewind and repair company to providing power transmission solutions in 2003. A fast, responsive service and access to nationwide stocks allows customers to control maintenance costs and ensure time efficiency.

The image(s) distributed with this press release may only be used to accompany this copy, and are subject to copyright. Please contact DMA Europa if you wish to license the image for further use.

Editor Contact

DMA Europa Ltd. : Elizabeth Patrick
Tel: +44 (0)1562 751436 Fax: +44 (0)1562 748315

Company Contact

Rotamec : Harriot Cullen
Tel: 01527 585000 Fax:

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