BMG – one of South Africa’s leading engineering solutions specialists – plays a critical role in the sugar sector, not only during the operational period of sugar production, but also in off-crop seasons, when maintenance and refurbishment on sugar farms and at mills is essential.

The BMG team works closely with sugar farmers and engineers at mills by providing engineering components and support services, to enhance production efficiencies, minimise downtime and extend service life of equipment.

“BMG boasts a depth of experience in the sugar sector, through the provision over decades, of power transmission solutions that ensure high productivity in cane fields and during processing and refinement,” says Gavin Kirstein BMG’s Business Unit Manager, Power Transmission division. “BMG’s power transmission division supplies and supports a wide range of products, which is carefully selected for dependable performance in demanding conditions in the sugar industry throughout Africa. These components include carrier and diffuser chains, knife and shredder bearing housings, custom sprockets and gear couplings, as well as steam gaskets, heat exchangers and hydraulic tools. Diffuser and mill gearboxes, in addition to mill lubrication and hydraulic systems, form a critical part of this range.

“An important service to the sugar sector is BMG’s chain refurbishment facility in Durban, where chains are stripped, inspected and re-assembled, using new components where necessary. This refurbishment service is often carried out under strict time restrictions, which requires advanced planning.

“Analysis of chain failures is also conducted at this facility. BMG specialists are able to advise customers on the expected remaining wear life of a chain and on what improvements need to be introduced to their systems.

“Other specialist services in the sugar sector include bearing and gearbox inspection, bearing and chain refurbishment, large size bearing assembly, alignment and balancing, as well as customised product design. BMG also offers a troubleshooting and maintenance service, condition monitoring and training.”

Tsubaki high performance chains – key components in BMG’s power transmission division – are well-suited for harsh conditions in sugar processing and production, offering enhanced strength and reliability, a cleaner environment and extended operating life.

“BMG specialists are able to provide solutions for any problems our customers face when using conveyor chain. We can adapt the materials used and even the heat treatment of a chain’s components, to match the specific application and operating environment – whether in the sugarcane field, or in the mill or refinery,” explains Marthinus Janse van Rensburg, National Product Manager – Tsubaki, BMG. “We also offer a range of chains with Stainless Steel components to protect against corrosion, which is especially problematic on bagasse carriers and elevators. Stainless Steel components can be heat treated to provide wear and corrosion resistance, as well as additional strength.

“BMG’s Tsubaki products which are suitable for the sugar industry, encompass cane harvester chains that are manufactured at an ISO certified manufacturing facility, in line with Tsubaki’s exacting specifications. All components are shot-peened and the chain is also statically pre-loaded for enhanced wear life in the harsh conditions of cane fields.”

Tsubaki also manufactures a wide range of mud conveyor chains, designed especially for damp conditions. These chains are fitted with Stainless Steel pins and bushes for protection against corrosion and wear.

BMG also supplies a wide range of robust cane carrier chain that provides excellent durability and wear resistance during operation in demanding conditions in sugar mills. Cane bagasse carrier chains with outboard rollers are also available. This chain is designed to maintain a thin layer of lubrication on the bearing surface, extending service life of the system. The convenient location of outboard rollers enables simplified maintenance and easy replacement of components, without having to dismantle the entire system, thus eliminating costly downtime.

BMG’s Tsubaki RF Series intermediate carrier chains are manufactured from durable materials, with Stainless Steel grade for the pin and bush, to protect against corrosion and wear. The pin and bush areas are also lubricated with MoS2 grease during assembly and since the chain is not normally lubricated during operation, this grease is baked on in certain areas, to provide enhanced lubrication functions.

Tsubaki diffuser and cast dog bone link type chains, with special design features to withstand operation in harsh conditions, also have Stainless Steel pins and bushes for enhanced protection against corrosion and wear.

The most critical chain application in sugar processing is the bagasse reclaimer, which powers the mill. Tsubaki has made a substantial investment in market research and field testing, to develop a robust bagasse reclaimer chain, with a grade of Stainless Steel that has the highest combined levels of corrosion resistance, strength and wear properties. In addition, induction-hardened pins offer extended service life. Pin and bushing areas are lubricated with MoS2 grease during assembly and have baked-on grease in critical areas. Attachments are robotically welded to the chain, to ensure the strongest weld penetration.

The BMG team attends to breakdowns in sugar mills and refineries and meets tight time frames to manufacture replacement components. Recent field service maintenance projects during off-crop seasons involved a turnkey in-situ replacement of diffuser head shaft bearings and the complete refurbishment of the multi-misalignment couplings driving each end of the head shaft. This project also involved the installation of new bearings and adaptor sleeves, as well as new keys and connector arms for the couplings.

BMG’s specialist services to the local sugar sector are underpinned by a broad range of quality-branded engineering components, a technically competent team and a 24-hour support service.

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