When Fine Lady Bakeries, the Banbury based bakery producer, needed to replace a failed gear unit on an operationally vital winding drum that needed to put back into production as quickly as possible, they turned to the nearby located NORD DRIVESYSTEMS GROUP member – NORD GEAR LTD. In ultra-quick time, NORD was able to replace Fine Lady’s failed gear unit with one from its standard range fitted with a specially designed and manufactured shaft.

For many years, Fine Lady has produced a wide range of baked goods at its 10 hectare premises in Oxfordshire, UK. Together with a factory in Manchester, the company produces millions of loaves of bread every week. As well as this, it produces various types of rolls as well as biscuits and Good Friday “hot cross buns”.

The Easter period resulted in a considerable   production    increase of “hot cross buns” at Fine Lady. So the request for an urgent gear unit replacement on its dough proofer meant NORD had to act fast.

“Due to the urgency, it was decided that the gear unit failure would be repaired so that they could restart production, although a long-term solution was clearly required,” explains Paul Martin,

UK Sales Manager – Distribution & End Users, at NORD GEAR LTD. “We’re located just 30 minutes from  the  Fine Lady site at Banbury. One of our engineers immediately visited  the  site to identify the failed gear unit. It turned out to be a competitor gear unit that had been discontinued for a number of years.”

The NORD engineer set about taking key dimensions, such as shaft size and length, along with how the gear unit was mounted to  the  dough  proofer. In discussions with the engineering team at Fine Lady, it was made clear that  although  there  was  a  degree  of flexibility in the mounting  design (as the mounting frame could be re- engineered), however the shaft size and length had to be as per the original gear unit in order to suit the drive coupling.

“In selecting the gear unit we took into consideration the maximum output torque of the existing unit, which was 25,000 Nm at 1 rpm output speed,” says Paul Martin. “We also had to consider that any gear unit we chose could withstand the thrust load from the carousel, which rested on the gear unit as part of the design configuration.”

Once the thrust load was calculated, NORD opted for a gear unit from its MAXXDRIVE industrial gear unit series. Specifically, a size 8 gear unit was chosen, which has a rated torque of 31,000 Nm and a thrust load capacity of 140,000 N

NORD MAXXDRIVE gear units are specially designed for heavy-duty applications such as mixers, offering high output torques from 15,000 to 25,000 Nm, along with quiet running and long service life. These gear units are available as helical or bevel gear units, and are equipped with high- quality, low-friction bearings, and a torsionally rigid, one-piece housing.

“The problem was that for large customer specific gear units, delivery times can range from 4 weeks for a standard model, up to 16 weeks for a more complex unit,” states Martin. “In addition, the Fine Lady Bakeries’ gear unit required a special shaft, which had to be specified and designed at the NORD headquarters in Germany. However, our team pulled out all the stops. The design was completed within 24 hours and a quote, along with drawing, was issued to the customer. For a unit with a special shaft the usual lead time is 12 weeks, but due to the urgent nature of the situation at Fine Lady, we managed to reduce delivery to under 6 weeks.” 

Keith Holloway, Engineering Buyer at Fine Lady Bakeries Ltd, says: “Through past experience we knew that rapid assistance was needed due to the gear unit failure and its age. We contacted NORD, who were quick in reacting to our predicament. The unit was identified and measured within a short period, and an order was placed for two units, which has been fitted  to the machine after some framework modifications. We’re very happy with the service provided and would not think twice about using NORD in the future.” 

Having made the necessary changes to the existing mounting framework, the drive is now in operation. The new gear unit from NORD not only gives Fine Lady the confidence that it can fully rely on the local service and support, but also that it can depend on a high level of productivity.