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SEW Eurodrive solves tank agitator gearbox problem

15 May 2012

When a major snack food manufacturer ran into problems with the drive system on one of its large starch reclamation tanks, it turned to SEW Eurodrive to design a fit-and-forget replacement. The food manufacturer had experienced an unacceptable increase in the mean-time to failure rate on the tank’s gearbox, with four failures in a 12 month period.

The starch tank receives water laden with starch from three production lines processing three-and-a-half tonnes of potatoes an hour. The food-grade starch is reclaimed from the water and is used in the production of a variety of snack foods. The motor and gearbox arrangement sits on top of the tank driving a vertical paddle shaft that descends into the vessel containing the water and starch solution. Typically, the unit recycles over 2,000 cubic metres of water a week.

SEW Eurodrive installed a new system incorporating a RM in-line helical agitator drive, designed specifically for this purpose. It features an extended output bearing hub, for excessive overhung loads, to prevent any sideways movement of the paddle shaft during start-up and operation. A new rigid fastening system was also designed to secure the drive system on top of the tank to prevent any unwanted movement. The RM range of gearmotors were designed specially for agitating applications and allow for high overhung and axial loads and bending moments.

The new drive solution has been operating trouble-free for over two months, and will continue to do so as the main causes of failure have been designed out. 

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