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Distillery ‘spirits raised’ after obsolete bearing is reverse-engineered

Posted on 21 Feb 2021 and read 450 times
Distillery ‘spirits raised’ after obsolete bearing is reverse-engineeredWhen a potential issue was identified with a slewing ring bearing on a bottling machine at the oldest continuous gin distillers in the world, the company turned to the expertise offered by RA Rodriguez (UK) Ltd.

Warrington-based G&J Distillers ‘leveraged’ the reverse engineering know-how of RA Rodriguez to safeguard component availability and guarantee production continuity.

A history of traditional skills and distillation craftsmanship is combined with modern bottling facilities to ensure G&J Distillers maintains its reputation for producing and distributing a wide range of high-quality gins and other spirits. A major component of the company’s production process is two Hartness Global Fill bottling machines.

The company held in stock a previously-used slewing ring bearing for the Hartness Global Fill machines. However, as the bearing had been retained in the company’s stores for several years, the team thought it prudent to commence an inspection and potential refurbishment project to ensure it was ready for immediate deployment when needed.

Stephen Swinney, production manager, said: “The Hartness Global Fill machines are 15 years old; and although there are currently no issues with the slewing ring bearing, we did not have a serviceable spare. Our existing spare had been used at some point in the past and was visibly worn.

“It was clear that reconditioning was required immediately as, without a replacement, machine failure could mean a shortage of supply to our customers. We had to find a company we had confidence in to take on a large diameter ‘unknown’ bearing in an ‘unknown’ condition and offer a full reconditioning service.”

With no drawings available, initial measurements taken by RA Rodriguez revealed that the slewing ring bearing was bespoke and not a standard catalogue product from any manufacture.

The company agreed to ship the bearing to Germany for a thorough strip, clean and internal inspection; a process that resulted in a workable drawing that allowed RA Rodriguez to submit a quote for a brand new bearing, as well as refurbish the old one.

Mr Swinney said: “Having one of our bottle filling machines out of commission is simply not an option. For this reason, we were thankful of the quick and efficient response to our request for assistance and we are very satisfied with the outcome.”