Company helps develop innovative wire rope dressing
A Sudbury-based lubricant distributor has helped to develop a better-performing dressing for wire ropes used for underground skips and cages.
ABS Lubrication, a three-year-old division of ABS Manufacturing & Distributing, carries a complete line of lubricants and specialty products from suppliers such as Mantek, Sunoco, Alemite, Loctite and Saf-T-Lok.
The lubricant distributor had been working with Mantek and a local mining company to develop its Supreme Wire Rope Dressing, when its main competitor suddenly stopped making its own wire rope dressing product.
“We'd been through a couple of formulas. One batch had a really bad odour to it. Our manufacturer is a chemical company, so we could mess around with different chemicals until we got it right,” said Tim Durling, manager of ABS Lubrication.
“It's been huge for us. It's been a great product that's just starting to take off. We've got a rope manufacturer recommending the product.”
All wire ropes used for mining applications have to undergo provincial inspections every six weeks, said Durling, and the reports are showing these ropes are performing better when dressed with Supreme Wire Rope Dressing.
“The big thing about ours is it penetrates to the cable core. It clings to the inner and outer wires of the ropes,” he said. “You want the dressing to penetrate to the inner core, because that's where the pulling takes place. If contamination starts on the inside and works its way out, it can corrode.”
ABS Lubrication has grown so much over the past three years that its parent company has been pushed to add more warehouse space.
Last year, ABS Manufacturing and Distributing, which offers fabrication, machining, rubber lining, rubber molding, plastics, gaskets, valves, pumps, conveyor belt parts, assembly and repair services, moved from a small office in Val Caron to a 20,000-square foot facility in the Walden Industrial Park.
Management is now adding another 7,500-square foot building on the same property to warehouse lubricants and other products.
Another product making a big difference to industry is Mantek's Bearing Purge, which removes contaminants from the inner workings of machinery, said Durling, who runs the company's lubrication division along with six company sales representatives.
The bearing purge is patented by Mantek, so no other manufacturer has a comparable product, he said.
At one Sudbury mine, Durling used the bearing purge product to clean a rock crusher.
Before the treatment, the machine used 630 kilograms of grease per month. It now uses just 135 kilograms of grease per month, he said.
“We reduced the amount of grease it was using by 10 per cent, and then said 'Run it for a few shifts, and see how it works.' When it worked OK, we then set them back another 10 per cent. What you do is repeat the process until the temperature starts to climb.”
Glide time, or the amount of time the machine continues to function after it has been turned off, has increased on the rock crusher by more than two minutes, said Durling.
In another instance, Durling used the bearing purge on a malfunctioning battery extractor machine at Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie.
If he hadn't been able to clean out the battery extractor with the bearing purge, a large component of the machine would have needed to be replaced. Durling said he saved the company the $216,000 it would have cost to have the machine out of production for 24 hours.
Another product supplied by the company, Mantek Elite Supreme Grease, is one of the best types of industrial lubricants on the market, said Durling.
Lubricants are tested by putting the grease, along with four ball bearings into a cup, and applying pressure until the ball bearings weld together.
With most lubricants, the ball bearings weld together at 250 to 500 pounds of pressure, but Mantek Elite Supreme Grease prevented the welding process from occurring until 1,000 pounds of pressure had been applied.
Because the underground environment is so wet, the lubricant has been designed to have great staying power, Durling said.
“It has adhesive and cohesive polymers in it, and what that means is it has staying power. When you go underground it's wet. With some other brands, the grease just falls off. Ours has a 0.01 per cent washout, which means that it's marine grade. You could use it underwater.”