Introducing an advanced oil mist lubrication system has resulted in potential annual savings of close to £3,000 for BSW Timber Dalbeattie, a major supplier of softwood.
Based in Scotland, BSW Timber Dalbeattie operates the largest single-line sawmill in Britain, with an annual capacity of 300,000m³ of sawn timber. Its eight multihead bandsaws are in near-constant use across ten shifts per week, utilising 70.4 litres of lubrication each week, and were identified by their Saw Doctors as a potential for cost savings after total lubrication costs were calculated at just under £4,900 per annum. As part of a programme of activity to reduce running costs, the engineering team called in Brammer, the UK’s leading distributor of industrial maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) products, to recommend a more sustainable solution.
The original lubrication system was based on a gravity drip feed unit. Upon inspection, Brammer’s technical specialist Peter Rutherford identified the opportunity to replace this legacy system with a combination of an oil mist lubricator, air regulator and timer solenoid, and a test unit was set up to provide a benchmark. The test rig comprised of four spray points across a 7m length of 6mm plastic pipe, positioned over the saw blade where correct lubrication would reduce friction and drag over the timber. The timer solenoid valve was set to action a six-second spray every four minutes, while a regulator maintained pressure of 6 Bar throughout the system.
Gary McCaig of BSW Timber Dalbeattie explains: “The test run revealed that the new system used just 0.4l of lubricant per shift, or 0.8l per day. Across average weekly operations this equates to 4l of oil per unit, a dramatic reduction from the previous usage figure of 70.4l per week. With potential cost savings of more than £2,900 per year, the solution was rolled out to replace gravity drip-feed units on all eight multihead bandsaws.”
Neil McGrath, Maintenance Manager of BSW Timber Dalbeattie added: “Aside from the clear financial benefits, the oil mist lubrication system has also allowed us to increase efficiency through greater control over lubrication supply – we can now be sure that the optimal amount is being supplied to the correct areas. This level of control also delivers improved health and safety as less oil being used means potential slip hazards are reduced. Additionally, the quality of the end product is also improved as there is less contamination to timber and sawdust.”