Sleeman Bearing & Gearbox Failure Analysis

Andrew J. Goncalves and David Effa
Case revision date: 
6 pages (Case Study)

Gear box housingSleeman Brewery Ltd. is a beer producing company based in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. The company packages a range of beer products, including just-in-time products that are ready for consumption as soon as they are filled. Providing just-in-time products requires the company to schedule end-to-end production weeks in advance, starting from the brewhouse all the way to the packaging plant. Therefore, maintaining the production line is a critical part of the company’s production process. Sleeman’s Maintenance and Engineering Department supervises projects relating to preventative maintenance and system failure. In January 2012, the team noted a bearing failure on the bottle line located after the full bottle check unit. The bearing and gearbox, shown in Figure 1, were installed less than one year prior to the date of failure. This bearing failure was created by axial loadings induced by a bow or bend in the conveyor shaft. As a result, the bearing’s tracks were damaged and the retaining ring broke away. During the repair process, the gearbox was critically damaged. The conveyor and gearbox shafts seized together, producing enough force to cause a tear in the gear box housing as the gear box was being removed.

Andrew J. Goncalves, a co-op student from the University of Waterloo, was asked to investigate the gearbox and bearing failure and to determine methods to detect failure prior to critical failure for the future.

Learning objectives: 

This case study covers topics on bearing and gearbox failure analysis, which includes collecting and analyzing data to determine the cause of a mechanical part failure. The case mostly uses a qualitative approach to illustrate mechanical part failure analysis. It could be used to demonstrate failure investigation procedure and mechanical parts failure modes. This case is proposed to be used in Industrial Metallurgy (ME 435) and Fatigue and Fracture Analysis (ME 526) courses.

Key words: 
Industrial Metallurgy; Gear Box; Bearing; Fracture; Wear; Corrosion
CEAB attributes: 
Investigation; Problem Analysis; Individual and team work; Economics and Project Management
Module 01 - Case Study
Module 02 - Failure Mode Analysis (Restricted to educators only)
Module TN - Teaching Note (Restricted to educators only)

Request This Case!

If you would like to see more information on this case study, click here

You can request this case study and a WCDE staff member will get back to you.