Suffering from regular bearing failures on a feed conveyor at an animal feed production plant, the company´s maintenance team contacted NSK to see if the issue could be resolved. The investigations conducted by the expert team of specialists at NSK not only revealed the underlying cause of the problematic failures, but generated cost savings of over €13,000 for the plant, thanks largely to the elimination of machine downtime. An animal feed production plant is saving over €13,000 after adopting NSK Self-Lube Triple-Lip Sealed Bearing Units.
NSK´s investigations attributed the conveyor bearing failures to the ingress of hard particulates and moisture from process materials. As a result, it was recommended that the UK-based animal feed plant replace the standard self-lubricating units with Self-Lube Triple-Lip Sealed Units from NSK.
Since installation, the bearing units have been operating successfully for one year, which is in marked contrast to the previous situation whereby standard bearings required replacement every four months on average. These failures led to substantial downtime and costly loss of production. Now that these costs have been eliminated, and considering that fewer bearings are required over the course of a year, the annual cost savings for the plant have been calculated at €13,309. In addition, there has been a notable improvement in productivity thanks to greater conveyor uptime.
NSK´s Self-Lube Sealed Units feature a nitrile rubber triple lip that is bonded to a protective pressed-steel shield. As a result, longer bearing life is achieved through superior seal performance. In addition, the bearing units provide extended re-lubrication intervals, which in turn greatly reduces maintenance costs and increases the productivity of machinery and equipment.
Self-Lube Triple-Lip Sealed Units offer simple implementation and represent a ready replacement for existing bearing units. They are available for both set-screw and eccentric locking collar insert options. A large size range is offered, in both metric and imperial specifications.
New NSK deep groove ball bearings for electric motors boost energy efficiency
The low energy consumption of electric drives is an important target in many industrial applications, and rolling bearings can play a role in delivering this ambition. NSK demonstrates this effect with a new series of deep groove ball bearings that generates up to 80% less energy loss, a factor that has a positive effect on the energy efficiency of electric motors.
Before this development, NSK conducted an intensive investigation into the parameters influencing the energy loss of bearings, drawing a number of interesting conclusions. As a result, the new bearing series uses new grease that has been specially developed for friction reduction, while the grease filling level has also been optimised.
In comparison with a conventional deep groove ball bearing, the new NSK high-efficiency bearings demonstrate 60% less friction when using a steel cage. If a plastic cage is used, internal friction is reduced even further, by almost 80%. As a further benefit, service life with the new grease is increased by a factor of 2.7.
NSK Europe is the European organisation of the Tokyo-based bearing manufacturer NSK, which was founded in Japan in 1916 and today employs around 31,000 people in its worldwide operations. The products and solutions provided by the industrial and automotive supplier can be found wherever things move. In addition to nearly all types of rolling bearings, the company´s portfolio includes housed bearings, linear technology, wheel bearing units, transmission and engine bearings and steering systems. The company is oriented to perfection in all of its business activities. Its aim is quality leadership in its industry, which it strives for through a continuous process of improvement, excellent product development, optimised production processes and customer-oriented service processes.
NTN-SNR makes food-processing the flavour of the month
NTN-SNR, a leader in precision mechanics, is pressing ahead with food safety. The company plans to invest in its solutions for the food-processing industry as a way to optimise and strengthen its short-term range. The goal is to achieve optimal production with no risk to the user. This is necessary investment for a sector with increasingly stringent standards…
The average cost worldwide for product recalls in the food-processing industry was €7.92 million between 2012-2017. In 75% of cases, the causes were contamination with bacteria or allergens, or the presence of a foreign body. Despite strict standards, the food-processing market is the French industry leader, with a turnover of € 180 billion in 2017. It also ranks second among industrial sectors most affected by product recalls and withdrawals (16%), after the automotive industry. This presents a risk both to consumers’ health and to companies’ reputations, which are suffering considerable losses.
With this in mind, NTN-SNR, with its 30-year market presence, is pooling its strengths and developing its dedicated teams with a view to making the food-processing business its new battleground. The company’s repositioning brings fresh challenges, including rethinking and reintegrating all of the sector’s constraints, and reidentifying the various segments and ranges to meet each need as accurately as possible, while remaining accessible to all market participants.
A highly constrained environment
With its high-pressure washing, cleaning agents, humidity, fine particles, hygiene standards, high production rates, etc., the food-processing industry is a highly constrained environment.
NTN-SNR relies on its expertise to ensure that health standards-compliant, sustainable production is tailored to each sector of activity.
As of this year, the company is focusing on developing its existing ranges, with Germany and Italy as the main European targets for machine manufacture and France and Spain for maintenance.
NTN-SNR’s short-term food-processing market goals are to eliminate incident risks, reduce maintenance times to increase profitability, and to ensure peace of mind.
Fully suited solutions
To this end, the company offers a wide range of bearings, lubrication solutions, linear guides and stainless steel or thermoplastic self-aligning bearings. NTN-SNR has chosen to offer all-stainless steel bearings, where some market players only offer it for the insert, in combination with an anti-corrosion coated housing. The inserts are equipped with an elastomer seal protected by a shield to counter any impact or mechanical stress. As for the additional protective caps, they are provided with a radial or double-lip seal, offering additional resistance to high-pressure washes, even when in direct contact. These systems are true shields against moisture and dirt.
For added convenience, NTN-SNR inserts are available with Lubsolid® solid food grease. Fifty-five percent of premature bearing failures result from improper lubrication – a fact that led the company to design its flawless lubricant. The polymer matrix containing a large amount of oil completely fills the free space inside the bearing. As a result, neither pollutants nor water can enter.
The grease’s solid state means that it cannot flow, ensuring the cleanliness of your environment.
These properties increase the duration life of the bearing by up to 20 times compared to a part lubricated using a standard high-performance grease.
The appeal of this technology and growing user demand are behind the company’s plans to invest in its solid food grease. The goal is to secure production while increasing its manufacturing capabilities.
3 questions to Kévin Gay, NTN-SNR Market Manager
Why has NTN-SNR decided that this is the time to strengthen its presence in the food-processing industry?
It’s a gigantic market. The food-processing industry is the largest European manufacturing market. Market constraints mean that innovation is a constant, necessary feature.
NTN-SNR is one of the world’s leading bearings manufacturers. It is known in particular for its presence in the automotive, industry and aerospace markets. The company is also a player – albeit a more cautious one – in the food-processing market. Now, however, it seems vital that we emphasise our solutions and further develop our ranges to put forward options that are increasingly adapted to the many demands encountered by today’s manufacturers.
What is NTN-SNR’s added value compared to the competition?
Every experienced market player has high levels of technical skill and specific expertise (bearings, ball bearings, etc.). That being said, while designing reliable, innovative and qualitative products is essential to protect against bacterial growth, you can’t ignore the cost. Certain premium-quality ranges on the market have a rather high price tag. However, of the 300,000 companies making up the European market, 99% are SMEs with sometimes limited maintenance resources. As a result, they are forced to turn to lower cost solutions. For NTN-SNR, guaranteeing the accessibility of quality products in terms of cost to all food-processing stakeholders offers peace of mind.
What do you mean by “peace of mind”?
“Peace of mind” is one of the cornerstones and drivers for how we respond to the constraints of the food-processing business. It has several aspects.
First, there is health-related peace of mind – of the consumer, of course, but also of the manufacturer. On the business side, economic peace of mind is also a key point. With quality equipment, the maintenance manager can increase his operating intervals, thus increasing production. Peace of mind thus equates to saving time, productivity and profitability.
A wide range
- Topline ball bearings
- Thermoplastic mounted units
- Stainless steel mounted units
- Stainless steel ball bearings
- Linear axis and ball bushings
- Lubsolid®, solid food grease
- Lubrication solutions
NSK Molded-Oil bearings extend service life in food plant conveyor application
A vegetable processing plant in Germany is enjoying significant benefits following the adoption of Molded-Oil bearings from NSK. Principally, the move has helped the company extend the service life of bearings on a critical conveyor from two weeks, to 40, saving considerable maintenance costs and downtime in the process.
Keen to resolve the question of why its previous bearings were failing at such an unusually fast rate, and eliminate the associated cost and time issues, the company asked NSK to investigate.
During the inspection, NSK experts soon determined the cause. Due to the rigorous hygiene standards demanded by food industry regulations, the system was cleaned thoroughly on a regular basis. However, it was found that the cleaning process prompted considerable quantities of water to penetrate the bearings and, as a result, wash away the lubricating grease.
To help combat the challenges presented by the frequently required wash cycles, NSK recommended the use of its sealed Molded-Oil bearings.
A special tribology concept (tribology is the science of wear, friction and lubrication) has been implemented for Molded-Oil bearings. For instance, the bearings are equipped with NSK’s proprietary oil-impregnated material, which comprises lubricating oil and an oil-related polyolefin resin. This material releases the lubricant, which cannot be washed out due to its consistency, continuously over a long period. At the same time, the carrier material prevents water or solid impurities from penetrating the bearing.
By adopting the bearings, service life at the plant has increased from two weeks to more than nine months. This highly successful outcome once again confirmed NSK’s ´rule of thumb´ that Molded-Oil bearings achieve at least twice the service life of conventional grease-lubricated bearings in water and dust-contaminated environments. In this particular case, service life increased by a factor of 40.
The plant is also experiencing many other benefits. For instance, the operating environment remains clean because no grease escapes and no oil needs to be refilled. Molded-Oil bearings are therefore ideally suited to food industry applications, where thorough and frequent cleaning processes are essential. The use of stainless steel for the bearing components also contributes to this suitability.
NSK supplied the bearings for the vegetable processing plant with highly effective contact seals (DDU) on both sides for even higher levels of protection. This option is available for the standard range of Molded-Oil ball bearings. Molded-Oil is also available on spherical roller bearings and tapered roller bearings.
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