Schaeffler's role in monitoring safety on the Eiffel Tower

The Schaeffler Group has extended its long-standing relationship with Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel (SETE) by providing additional services for the company that operates Paris’ greatest landmark – the iconic Eiffel Tower.

Schaeffler’s maintenance and asset management division, FAG Industrial Services (F’IS), is not only providing technical support in selecting the most suitable rolling bearings, but is also supplying bearing mounting and vibration analysis services. Pumps, of course, use rolling element bearings too, but it is the vibration analysis that could be of most benefit to pump users.

The western column

SETE had identified an urgent need to replace the cabin bearings in the hydraulic lift in the Tower’s western column. These bearings support 20 tonnes, so are permanently subjected to high loads. Moreover, the original bearings’ axial clearance was too large. It was essential to remedy these problems.

Schaeffler France application engineering experts use software to model customers’ requirements in detail. These range from single bearings to complex gear and linear guide systems. Working in close collaboration with SETE, Schaeffler France modelled the required load ratings, allowing the most suitable FAG tapered roller bearings to be selected from the outset. An experienced F’IS fitter provided on site support to the SETE maintenance team that mounted the cabin bearings in the hydraulic lift, a task that took just one day to complete. However, from a pump monitoring perspective, it is the eastern column that is more interesting.

When the eastern column lift’s upper pulleys needed inspection, F’IS engineers carried out measurements using an offline vibration measuring device. Vibration measurement is the most reliable method for identifying machine damage at an early stage. It precisely detects not only imbalance and misalignment, but also bearing damage and gear tooth defects. This can lead to increased bearing life, plant availability and cost savings.

Schaeffler Group offline vibration management software makes extensive use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to provide error-free and precise identification of measurement points for monitoring. Monitoring configurations in accordance with DIN ISO 10816 are available as standard; alternatively, the software can be configured to use a wider range of flexible measures and tools for data analysis. Access to a database of over 20,000 bearings from various manufacturers is available. F’IS provided a detailed condition report to SETE, with recommendations on future maintenance measures.

Monitoring in practice

In addition to its vibration monitoring service, the Schaeffler Group offers the FAG Detector III offline monitoring device, as well as online monitoring systems for continuous measurement. To achieve optimum networking to plant control facilities or monitoring centres, all online systems have versatile communication options as standard.

FAG Detector III’s pre-installed standard configurations, in accordance with DIN ISO 10816, mean that this plug-and-play solution provides early information on machinery condition without time-consuming training or system configuration work. It is ideal for use with pumps.

All users have to do is start the measurement process by pressing a few buttons and wait until it is finished. The device evaluates the measurement results and presents them with self-explanatory symbols on the display. For more detailed analysis, freely available Trendline PC software gives users a wide range of data evaluation tools.

Schaeffler’s approach has reduced unscheduled shutdowns and maintenance costs and improved the efficiency of SETE’s operations.