Roseburg Forest Products of Roseburg, Oregon, is one of the largest privately held forest products companies in the United States. Established in 1936, today the company owns nearly 800,000 acres of forestlands and produces a diverse line of quality wood products, including lumber, engineered wood products, specialty panels, and plywood. Three of the company’s plywood plants produce over a billion square feet of plywood, industrial panels, and sheathing annually, and the manufacturing facility in Dillard, Oregon, is the single-largest integrated wood product manufacturing facility in North America.
So it should come as no surprise that in facilities this large and complex, the team responsible for keeping production up and maintenance costs down is eager to find products that will not only perform and last but are also easy to install and maintain. Three years ago, this team’s search for a better bearing solution led them to two Dodge bearings that offered everything they were looking for.
Chuck Drew, the lead millwright at the #2 mill in Dillard, explains that Roseburg wanted to find a spherical roller bearing that would require little maintenance but would also be tough enough to handle the hanging load and the high temperatures on their dryer application. Their goal was to dramatically reduce the amount of time it was taking them to maintain the split housing bearings they were currently running on their application.
“About every six months we would have to lift off the top cap to hand wash the bearings, check to make sure the spanners, washers, and adapters were all in good shape, wipe out all the old grease, and then re-pack them,” says Drew. “We would no sooner get them all done on the maintenance schedule then we would have to turn around and start back in on them again.”
When the maintenance team saw the Dodge Imperial bearing for the first time, Drew says the product’s advantages were obvious. “With these Imperials, you don’t have to do anything but re-grease them, which is so quick and easy because of the sealing system that allows you to purge the old grease without fear of blowing out the seals,” says Drew. “Not only that, but these bearings can handle the application. The Imperial bearings have been running for more than three years, and we haven’t lost one yet.”
Based on that success, there was no question about which bearings would be used when a new dryer was installed at a nearby facility in January, 2006. Jay Osborne, lead millwright at the #1 mill in Dillard, says the only choice was Imperial. “We like the bearings because they are easy to tighten up, we get a good solid grip, they are easy to maintain, and they are easy to change out,” says Osborne. “It’s just a good product.”
Based on their experience with the Imperial bearing, both Drew and Osborne were eager to see the Dodge Grip Tight adapter ball bearing when it was introduced a few years ago. They were intrigued by the concept of the pull/push adapter system, a fully concentric 360 degree inner ring, with a tapered fi t through the length of the bore.
About two years ago, they began experimenting with the bearings, putting them on a variety of applications to see how they would work. Both claim that it wasn’t long before it became clear how well the bearings would perform in their applications, especially compared to the set screw style bearings the mills had used in the past.
“It didn’t matter what brand of bearing we used, the set screw style would always come lose on our high speed applications,” explains Drew. “But once we saw the Grip Tight and the way the adapter attaches itself to the shaft for full contact, we could clearly see that this bearing works great.”
But it wasn’t simply the GRIP TIGHT bearing’s performance that Drew and Osborne found impressive, it was also the ease with which the bearing could be installed and removed without causing any damage to the shaft.
“Set screw bearings cause fretting corrosion, and sometimes they seize on the shaft,” said Drew. “I’ve had to take a 12 pound sledge hammer – I’m not kidding – to beat on the bearing to get it off the shaft. But with Grip Tight, we don’t have those problems.”