The world’s largest brick manufacturer is reaping the benefits of a new gearbox from SEW Eurodrive following the break down of an old one that was manufactured over 40 years ago

When large industrial gearboxes break down and need to be repaired, a variety of factors need to be taken into consideration before a decision can be made to either repair or replace. The decision was a relatively simple one for Wienerberger, the world’s largest producer of bricks, when a large gearbox manufactured in 1967 recently broke down.

The old Karl Handle gearbox was fitted to an eight tonne hopper feeding raw material into the brickworks. Engineers at Wienerberger contacted SEW Eurodrive to compare the cost of a repair, with a complete turnkey project to replace the old gearbox with a new unit. This would involve the removal of panels from the side of the building to facilitate installation, engineering the machine to accept the new drive, the design of a new plumber block bearing and support steelwork. Even the walkways had to be modified.

Replace rather than repair

Despite this, SEW Eurodrive’s quotation to supply and install a new unit was 40% less than Wienerberger had been quoted for a repair. Not only that but SEW Eurodrive was able to supply, install and commission the new drive in just four weeks – again less time than Wienerberger had been quoted for a repair. This is perhaps not surprising considering the fact that spare parts for the old Karl Handle gearbox were no longer available and would have to be made from scratch, probably involving the reverse engineering of some of the gearbox’s components.

After successful installation and testing, SEW Eurodrive’s engineers measured the energy consumption on another Karl Handle gearbox driving an identical application. This data was then compared to the energy consumption of the new bevel helical gearbox and the current was found to be down from 9.5A to 1.6A. So according to Ohm’s law, the new drive is using 3.28kW less energy than the original unit, equating to a saving of over £1,300 a year.