Schaeffler installs 6-tonne spherical roller bearings

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Schaeffler (UK) has supplied and installed a pair of six-tonne main pipe reel bearings on a pipelay vessel for Technip.

Schaeffler installs 6-tonne spherical roller bearingsSchaeffler (UK) has completed the replacement of a pair of six-tonne main pipe reel bearings on one of Technip's longest-serving pipelay vessels, the Apache. The replacement required Schaeffler engineers to remove the two existing reel bearings from the port and starboard sides of the main reel, and then replace these with two new bearings, mounted in the existing 20-tonne pedestal housings.

The replacement spherical roller bearings were supplied preloaded in the pedestal housings. These bearings have a split outer ring, which means that the movement of the ship takes up any axial deflection of the main reel bearings and shaft. Each spherical roller bearing weighs six tonnes and has an outer diameter of 1.75m. When combined with its housing, the total weight is 26 tonnes.

In June 2009, Technip announced the acquisition of the North Ocean 103 construction support vessel. This will replace the Apache with a modern vessel capable of carrying out rigid pipelay operations in a wide variety of ocean depths. With the North Ocean 103 now known as the Apache II, Technip decided to deploy the main pipelay reel from Apache prior to her retirement from service. Technip approached Schaeffler as its preferred supplier to replace the main reel bearings, including all associated services.

FAG spherical roller bearings and housings

Andrew Marshall, a Product Support Manager at Schaeffler UK, states: "Ahead of the reel transfer, Technip decided to make good use of this opportunity by removing and replacing the reel bearings. Schaeffler had provided the original FAG spherical roller bearings and housings, as well as offering continued technical support."

In August 2009, Schaeffler manufactured and delivered two replacement bearings for the main reel. Marshall comments: "Technip liked the fact that one supplier could carry out the complete replacement exercise, including the supply of the bearings, as well as the dismounting and mounting services."

In October 2009, at Technip's shipyard in Pori, Finland, fitters from Schaeffler dismounted the original bearings. The fully assembled main reel was then lifted into position onboard the vessel. The reel was transferred, thereby providing the new vessel with greater capability and flexibility to lay a much wider range of rigid pipelay product.

Marshall concludes: "Using its vast in-house expertise, Schaeffler was able to ensure that the job was completed for Technip on time and within the agreed budget.

"The main pipe reel on an ocean-going vessel is a critical piece of equipment. If this fails for any reason while the ship is laying pipe, project delays could result in costly financial penalties from the end client. Therefore, minimising our customer's downtime was essential."

Mac Court, the Package Manager at Technip, comments: "We were pleased with the work done by the Schaeffler engineers. They took a very diligent, professional approach to the task in hand and did exactly what was required."

For more information on Schaeffler's range of bearing mounting and dismounting services, go to or email the marketing department at .

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