The K-Series of helical bevel gear units from SEW-EURODRIVE offers a cost-effective and more efficient alternative to worm gear units used traditionally in the food and beverage industry. Such has been the success of the new technology that the drive specialist is supplying a new bakery-factory project in the East London area.
The main features of the K-Series are its maintenance-free operating life and wear-free gearing, which translates into high energy efficiency. These are also right-angle gear units, meaning they are of a highly compact design. “One of the biggest features is the size of the gear unit in relation to the conveyor. It has minimal space requirements, so it can slot in easily, in addition to having the torque characteristics of much bigger gear units,” Sales Engineer Nick McKey explains.
The K-Series is also filled with food-grade oil, which prevents any danger of contamination due to a cracked casing, or if a gear unit is bumped accidentally, resulting in any leakage. “The food and beverage industry has its own particular standards in terms of hygiene and product safety, and one of these requirements is that any drive-system supplier use food-grade oil only in its gear units, in addition to special oil seals to ensure efficient sealing integrity,” McKey elaborates.
Another feature of the K-Series is that it features SEW-EURODRIVE’s new IE3-compliant DRN motor range, which complies to the latest European energy-efficiency standards. “SEW-EURODRIVE’s IE3-compliant motors are priced competitively when compared with lower-efficiency units. This not only gives us a leading edge in the market, but shows our commitment to reducing costs and boosting efficiencies for our customers’ applications,” McKey stresses.
The traditional worm gear units used for conveyor systems in the food and beverage industry represent older technology that is only 40% energy-efficient, whereas the latest K-Series from SEW-EURODRIVE has an efficiency rating as high as 98%. In addition, the new gear units are competitively priced. “This is the main reason we are targeting Greenfield projects such as this one, as the cost is still in line, but the productivity is enhanced considerably,” McKey adds.
SEW-EURODRIVE’s main client is a specialist in this sector of the food and beverage industry, and which is executing the bakery-factory project itself. The client is a long-time user of its gearbox, electric motor, and Variable Speed Drive (VSD) products. Such has been the OEM’s success with the K-Series in this industry that it has tooled a local assembly line and trained technicians specifically on this range. “We actually sent technicians to Germany to receive the best possible training in terms of our local assembly operation,” Sales Manager Clive O’Reilly reveals.
In the meantime, pre-ordered stock consignment means that SEW-EURODRIVE is already able to supply the industry’s requirements, in addition to offering full aftermarket support. Additional options for the K-Series, depending on the requirements, are that they can be coated with heavy-duty paint for highly corrosive environments, or can be supplied in a flameproof version as well.
Such has been the success of SEW-EURODRIVE’s technology in the food and beverage industry that major companies are looking to standardise on its products across their mills and bakeries in South Africa. “Standardisation is a growing trend, which is why we are targeting the food and beverage industry so aggressively. The main benefit for the customer is a single point of contact for aftermarket support and technical back-up.
“Using different products from various suppliers means that stockholding becomes commensurately more expensive, and you are unable to cross-pollinate with different products. Then there are related logistics issues such as delivery clashes with different suppliers. There are a lot of factors to be taken into account. SEW-EURODRIVE is able to offer a total solution to give all our food and beverage customers peace of mind that they have the best possible technology, in conjunction with the most proactive support partner,” O’Reilly concludes.
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