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Re-usable cartridge improves recycling of waste bearing grease

10 September 2021

SKF has introduced an efficient and straightforward way of collecting waste grease from bearings, which promises to simplify maintenance and raise environmental performance.

Its re-usable grease collecting cartridge screws easily onto the outlet of the bearing, via an adapter. Because it fills to its full volume, it requires changing only periodically – which helps to extend service intervals. At the same time, waste grease is easily removed from the cartridge, and can be recycled separately.

“Historically, waste grease and the container were disposed of together,” says Michael Slembeck, Manager of the OEM Solution Centre at SKF. “This is very much against the environmental goals of manufacturing companies today.”

Waste grease flowing into the cartridge moves a piston. The piston stops whenever the flow of grease stops – and when the cartridge is full. This prevents overfilling and leakage. Once full, the cartridge is removed. Grease is then ejected by pressing the piston.

This kind of operation is usually performed by sucking grease from the bearing into a cartridge, bottle, or bag. However, these containers cannot typically use their full volume, so quickly fill up and become blocked. This can be remedied by changing the container more frequently – but is costly and time-consuming.

The re-usable system collects larger volumes of grease because it can be filled to maximum capacity. A standard cartridge is 900ml, but larger and smaller sizes are available – from 380ml to 3 litres. Grease is easily ejected and recycled, while the cartridge itself can be cleaned and reused multiple times – an added environmental benefit.

The adapter that screws into the bearing outlet has two different thread sizes (M14 x 1.5 and M16 x 1.5). This means it can be used in multiple applications. Target markets for the system include wind energy and other applications that use large bearings, also rotating bearing applications, including ship engines, rolling mills and tidal power plants.

SKF will be present with the new grease collection system at the HUSUM Wind 2021 trade show from 14th to 17th September.

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