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Bearings - 2016-12-16

Molded-Oil bearings are designed to be maintenance-free as oil is released from the internal system on demand without the need for replenishment

By switching to an NSK solution following repeated bearing failures on one of its principal conveyors, a UK-based milk processing plant is achieving annual savings of £10,000.

The milk processing plant was experiencing regular failures of multiple bearings on its conveyor, and as the bearings were located in an inaccessible area this resulted in the inability to provide re-lubrication. As a result, the customer had to change the bearings every 10 weeks, leading to downtime of 3 hours, which was proving expensive Engineers from NSK were invited to review the application and after a comprehensive and professional evaluation as part of the company’s value added programme AIP, proposed stainless steel bearing inserts fitted with Molded-Oil – NSK’s proprietary oil-impregnated solid material – to help increase service life. 

Molded-Oil offers grease-free properties with no requirement for oil refilling as it slowly seeps from this material, proving ample lubrication to the bearing for extended periods of time. This then results in supporting longer service life whilst keeping the environment clean. 

NSK also recommended the use of Silver-Lube® corrosion-resistant polymer housings, which are ideal for applications where frequent wash-downs and optimum hygiene standards are required. The PBT thermoplastic resin housings are paint-free, eliminating any potential for chipping or flaking. Silver-Lube® features nitrile rubber seals, is NSF-approved and available in four different geometries. Suitable for working temperatures from -20°C to +90°C, long life and low cost of ownership are among the key benefits.

The combination of Silver-Lube® corrosion-resistant housings and the excellent sealing and lubricating properties of Molded-Oil inserts is conveniently offered by NSK’s Life-Lube® series, thus delivering increased operating life (with no need for lubrication) in a single unit. Life-Lube® units, which are purpose-designed for applications where contact with process fluids is unavoidable, are available in 20-40mm bore sizes and in pillow block, two- and four-bolt flanges, and take-up unit housings. 

Trials of Life-Lube® units on the milk processing plant conveyor showed that bearing life was extended from 10 weeks to over 1 year. In addition, there was no longer any need to replace the shaft after each bearing failure. This cost, along with the labour costs associated with deploying two maintenance fitters, as well as cost of lost production time, constitutes the calculated annual savings of over £10,000.

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