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Engineering students learn hands-on through donated equipment

Supplier: Sumitomo Drive Technologies By: Arthur Smith, Doug Smith
06 September, 2012

What better way to give engineering students a "real world" lesson about working with equipment in a power plant?

Merrick Industries donated a gravimetric coal feeder to Coosa Valley Technical College in Rome, Georgia in order to give students a better understanding of the equipment types they may find in a power plant. Students from this Technical College will be considering positions in Southern Company power plants.

The type of feeder that Merrick Industries donated is commonly found in most commercial power plants and will allow the students to work on projects in a technological environment that simulates leading-edge equipment.

Maintenance departments are kept to a minimum these days, so dependability of the main belt and cleanout drag chain gear drive is crucial to plant operation. Drive failure and leakage are the biggest problems — both for dependability and housekeeping. The students seeking to become Southern Company employees learned the importance of operational maintenance.

The Southern Company had an old feeder with a leaking gearbox. Merrick contacted Sumitomo Drive Technologies for help in upgrading the unit by refurbishing it and including state of the art equipment, such as the Cyclo Bevel Buddybox (BBB).

"The main drive upgrade system eliminates leaks and the need for a drip pan, provides an accurate linear signal and can easily be reprogrammed for capacity changes," Bob Pajak of Merrick Industries, said.

This system is "another example of Merrick's commitment to provide products and services to improve performance and reduce maintenance with the goal of increasing your competitive edge", according to Pajak.

Merrick and Sumitomo have an alliance and have been working together for several years. In 1996, Merrick contacted Sumitomo and requested a right-angle gear-motor design to replace an existing chain drive system on new feeders. The Bevel Buddybox (BBB), shaft mounted reducer with a C-Face motor adapter was a perfect fit for the feeder drive application.

Since then, Merrick has been using Sumitomo's Cyclo BBB with little to no failures. The elimination of the chain drive for the main belt has become the selling point for new equipment and upgrades.

Pajak concluded: "The BBB is dependable, economical and easy to maintain. It does not leak, requires less horsepower than most conventional gear reducers, and thereby lowers the cost of new equipment and upgrades."