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Bearings - 2013-07-16

NSK's bearings for food beverage applications

Rolling bearings are key components in food and beverage processing machinery and equipment, their reliability and operating life having a significant effect in ensuring that operating costs are minimised. Moreover, as the pace of bearing technology accelerates, opportunities for technology transfer mean that bearings can play a wider role in reducing the whole life costs of food processing machines. This is achieved not by supplying cheaper components, but by applying the latest materials, sealing and lubrication technology to improve the machine design and reduce its maintenance costs. 

Bringing all of these elements together NSK has designed a range of bearing products, including Molded-Oil, Silver-Lube®, Life- Lube®, Aqua-Bearing and Stainless Steel Ball Bearings, that effectively address specific problems within the food and beverage industries. These products are characterised by their ability to deliver reduced whole life costs; to solve problems, improve performance and deliver continuous improvement into the future.

Molded-Oil is a patented lubrication medium specifically developed for situations requiring high levels of hygiene, such as in the food and beverage industries. Molded-Oil lubricant is supplied via a mechanism that releases the lubricant gradually. This ensures that the required amount of lubrication is provided to the bearing over long periods of time. At the same time, the risk of oil leakages is minimised making the bearings outstandingly smooth running. Optionally, lubricants with USDA H1 certification can be used.

Molded-Oil saves confectionery manufacturer more than €157,000 a year.
Molded-Oil has a provided an efficient, cost saving solution for a confectionery manufacturer who was struggling with equipment breakdowns and production losses which were costing approximately €307.000 annually. The reason for the failures lay with water making its way into the rolling bearings of one of the pumping systems, leading to a build-up of sugar crystals in the plant.
Thanks to the implementation of NSK's AIP (Asset Improvement Programme) the problem was quickly analysed and a solution proposed.
As part of the AIP programme, NSK engineers recommended the use of Molded-Oil bearings for the pumping system. These were tried out over an 18- month period with considerable success. This has resulted in the replacement of all other original bearings at the plant with NSK Molded-Oil units.
The results of this bearing substitution programme are impressive: thanks to AIP and Molded-Oil, the confectionery manufacturer not only saves €157.000 a year, in respect of rolling bearing costs and maintenance, but also enjoys increased production capacity due to the reliability of the NSK Molded-Oil bearings.

Providing a lower cost option in processing operations where frequent wash-downs are required is NSK's Silver-Lube® range of ball bearing units. These are a range of mounted bearing units designed specially for use in industries where hygiene considerations and corrosion and chemical resistance are important; typically bottling and brewing, food processing, pharmaceuticals, fisheries and chemical processing.

Silver-Lube® housings - pillow block, two and four bolt flange types - are manufactured from corrosion resistant VALOX® 420. Integrated into the housings are bearing inserts with stainless steel raceways, cage, balls and grub screws. The inserts are charged with a food industry approved grease, and are easily regreaseable via a stainless steel grease nipple in the housing. They are protected against contamination by a stainless steel flinger and seal arrangement.

Life-Lube® offers combined benefits.
NSK has combined the excellent sealing and lubricating properties of Molded-Oil inserts and the corrosion - resistant properties of Silver-Lube® bearing housings to produce Life-Lube®, a range of bearing units designed for use in industries where contact with water and process fluids is unavoidable, excellent chemical resistance is required, and longer lubrication life is necessary.

Aqua-Bearing has excellent corrosion resistance in higher temperature range.
For food and beverage operations in corrosive environments where higher temperatures are encountered, NSK has developed the Aqua-Bearing, a special highly corrosion resistant, low cost bearing for light load applications in the operating temperature range up to 150°C The use of a special fluororesin for the inner and outer rings, as well as for the cages of the Aqua-Bearing enables these units to achieve corrosion resistance equal to ceramic bearings. As a result, they are ideal for a wide range of applications in water, alkali and acid environments, including those subject to specialised wash down operations using aggressive cleaning mediums. The bearings also offer the added advantage of operating without the usual grease or oil lubrication.

In addition to specialised bearings described above NSK also offers a wide range of deep groove ball bearings with anti-corrosion specifications. These include: nickel-plated bearings that can withstand chemical washing processes, providing a cost-effective alternative to totally ceramic bearings. These bearings are suitable for alkaline and mildly acidic environments, as well as for applications with water rinsing. Also offered are bearings manufactured entirely from stainless steel. Offering high levels of resistance to corrosion, these bearings are ideal for use in wet and damp environments. Stainless steel bearings also offer the convenience of integration into stainless steel housings, with the added benefit of lubrication via Molded-Oil. This combination is perfectly suited to applications requiring cleanliness and corrosion resistance; typically fryers and conveyor belts used in meat and fish processing industries.

More comprehensive details of all NSK's bearings for food beverage applications are contained in a free 16-page publication.
PDF Download - Bearings for the Food & Beverage Industries

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