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Rebuilt Cat 990 proves the worth of a Groeneveld automatic lubrication system

First published in the October 2013 issue of Quarry Management as Grease is the Word

Rebuilt Caterpillar 990 proves the worth of automatic lubrication as pins and bushings still look like new after three-and-a-half years of intensive use in Dutch coal-processing application

After more than three-and-a-half years and 12,500h of intensive use, one of the Caterpillar 990 wheel loaders belonging to OBA Bulk Terminal Amsterdam was in need of major maintenance. The rebuild, which was professionally carried out by Caterpillar dealers Pon Equipment in Almere, showed that the pins and bushings were still like new, despite the machine being operated in extreme conditions. This was directly attributed to the machine’s Groeneveld automatic lubrication system, which operates with NLGI 0 grease for this particular coal trans-shipment application.

With a large terminal in the western port area of Amsterdam, OBA are one of the largest storage and trans-shipment companies for coal, agri-bulk, minerals and biomass. Operational continuity is essential in such modern storage and trans-shipment terminals. The uptime and productivity of machines is crucial, and this particularly applies to the large Caterpillar wheel loaders used at the site.

‘Caterpillar machines are renowned for their long life-span and their high reliability. However, even the very best machines cannot operate without maintenance; and certainly not without effective lubrication,’ explained Henk van der Velde, head of the maintenance department and MTD at OBA Bulk Terminal Amsterdam. ‘Manual lubrication is simply not a viable option. That is why we have been using Groeneveld’s automatic lubrication systems for many years – and successfully too, as recently demonstrated during maintenance carried out by Pon Equipment on a Cat 990.

After 12,500 operating hours, which is equivalent to three-and-a-half years of intensive use in a three-shift system, the pins and bushings on the large wheel loader were still comfortably within factory tolerances. They could simply be re-assembled.’

0 grease for heavy-duty activities

Although earthmoving machines are generally lubricated using NLGI 2 grease, high-quality NLGI 0 grease was selected for this purpose at OBA. While the lubricating properties of 0 grease are equal to those of 2 grease, 0 grease is better at passing through the bearing. ‘This causes the grease build-up on the outside of the bearing to be continuously refreshed, thus preventing coal dust from entering the bearing,’ said Theo Knijf, manager of technical support & after-sales at Groeneveld. ‘This is important, because coal dust is deadly for pins and bushings.’

To effectively lubricate the 19 lubrication points on the 77-tonne Cat 990 wheel loader, the Groeneveld automatic lubrication system is fitted with a 50kg barrel pump, which is more than sufficient to operate for a week in a three-shift system.

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