Case Study: Reduced wheel bearing failure

Almaplex® Industrial Lubricant (1275)
Jernberg Industries, Inc. – Chicago, Ill.
Yard Crane Wheel Bearings

• Reduced wheel bearing failure from 1 per month to 1 every 5 years
• Reduced line downtime
• Reduced grease consumption
• Saved $350,000 in 5 yearsduced bearing replacements by 50%

Customer Profile

Jernberg Industries Inc., based in Chicago, Illinois, has been in business for about 60 years producing and supplying heavy forged materials primarily for the transportation industry. Their customers range from General Motors, Toyota and Harley-Davidson, to small and medium sized businesses.


Jernberg Industries currently has one outside P&H yard crane built in 1948 to unload their 8-ton steel bundles from flat steel trucks. This crane typically operates 24 hrs / 7 days a week even in the harsh Midwest weather conditions. It travels approximately ¼ mile from the steel receiving area to the holding area and will move 1,000 tons of steel per day.




With such a heavy work load, this crane was losing a wheel bearing per month, which cost Jernberg about 8-hours of downtime and nearly $6,000 to fix the bearing. This also caused a significant backlog in the receiving area and in most cases stopped the production line.

LE Solution

Jernberg Industries has been an LE customer for more than 10 years. During this time, Jernberg has been very pleased with the performance of LE’s engine and transmission oils. When Almaplex® Industrial Lubricant (1275) was recommended for this demanding and critical application, Jernberg did not hesitate to utilize it.


Mr. Ken Lopatka, maintenance supervisor, told V.C. Vasisth, LE lubrication consultant, “Since we have started using the LE 1275 grease, our wheel bearing failure has gone from one failure per month to one failure every five years. Now, we only do PM checks every 16-18 month!”

Mr. Lopatka also added that when commercial grade grease was being utilized it was necessary to grease more frequently and now with Almaplex 1275, they only grease once a month.

This has resulted in a significant 5 year savings of more than $350,000 in labor, new bearing and spare part costs not to mention a huge reduction in grease consumption. Jernberg now utilizes the Almaplex 1275 in many other similar applications.

Other Products Used

• Duolec® Vari-Purpose Gear Lubricant (1605)
• Almaplex® Ultra-Syn Lubricant (1299)
• Monolec® R & O Compressor / Turbine Oil (6404)

Thank you to Ken Lopatka, supervisor (pictured left), and to V.C. Vasisth, LE lubrication consultant (pictured right), for providing the information used in this report.


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