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Thames Water overhauls gearbox system

20 May 2009

The Thames Water Sewage Treatment Works (STW) at Crawley, UK opted for a no-engineering solution using planetary gearboxes when it had to replace an obsolete heliocentric gearbox for a thickener drive. Thames Water turned to Brevini and Brammer for the solution that reduced costly downtime.

The heliocentric gearbox has reached the end of its operating life and Thames Water was eager to develop a more economic solution rather than re-engineering the obsolete gearbox. However, replacing it with a new box would require re-manufacturing the thickener’s structure which would be extremely costly and time consuming. Thames Water turned to Brammer Plc. to help source a no-engineering solution.

Upon receiving the Sanderson E5FJ heliocentric gear box Brammer turned to Brevini to design a solution that would fit the thickeners existing structure. Brevini is the world’s foremost manufacturer of planetary gearboxes and engineered planetary geared power transmission solutions. It recognises the importance of providing no-engineering solutions as this reduces costly downtime.

Jon Snaith, MD of Brevini UK said: ‘Having worked with Brammer before we are known as a provider of efficient solutions that do not require costly remanufacture and downtime. We were able to design a no-engineering solution that utilised a planetary gearbox, modifying it to make it interchangeable with the obsolete Sanderson heliocentric gearbox.’

Planetary gearboxes are capable of producing very large reduction ratios (they can reach 15,000:1) and produce up to 800 kNM of torque meaning that they are suitable for driving large slow moving rotors. Brevini gearboxes have a lifetime of over 100,000 hours when they are in constant use, keeping maintenance down to a minimum; one oil change per year is all that is needed. Each stage runs at 98 per cent efficiency.

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