Bearings - 24/01/2013
The annealing oven required servicing twice per year because of the large scale failure of rolling bearings: the number replaced fluctuating between 200 and 350 units. In addition, the need for continuous bearing replacements also increased the demand for assembly of spare parts and installation time. With the combined costs for the problem running at €9,600 annually, NSK was requested to analyse the application and formulate a solution. Engineers from NSK visited the vehicle manufacturer as part of the former’s asset improvement programme, which is designed to deliver real benefits to the operating costs, efficiency and profitability of manufacturing facilities in all market sectors. The AIP programme has been developed for end-user bearing customers that are looking for more than just product supply. Rather, they are looking for a value-added service that actually helps them to reduce operating costs, improve efficiency and profitability. These objectives are achieved by delivering tangible savings to assets, such as equipment and machinery, and also by improving the working knowledge of maintenance and engineering personnel.
After analysing the failed bearings, the NSK engineers found that the existing seals and grease lubricant were unsuitable for the high temperatures experienced by bearings in the annealing furnace. In order to overcome this problem, NSK suggested a customer-specific design of a double row ball bearing with special seals capable of operating at higher temperatures. With this solution, costing just €650 per year, the quantity of bearings replaced in the oven during normal servicing has been reduced by 90%, saving the car manufacturer €8,950 annually on his maintenance budget.
Established almost 100 years ago, NSK (Nippon Seiko Kabushiki Kaisha) is a Japanese-listed company that has evolved from a regional ball bearing supplier to a roller bearing specialist and automotive supplier with a global market presence. Today, NSK employs more than 26,300 employees in 29 countries. As per March 2012 NSK achieved a turnover of more than 6.7 billion Euros. This result has been driven by ever-increasing investment in research & development, enabling the company to continuously improve the quality of its products and services. This investment supports NSK’s objective of “No. 1 in Total Quality”. In addition to a complete rolling bearing portfolio, NSK develops and manufactures precision components and mechatronic products, as well as systems and components for the automotive industry, including wheel bearing units and electric power-steering systems.
In 1963, NSK’s first European subsidiary, Düsseldorf, Germany, was opened and in 1976, the first European production facility in Peterlee, England. Today, NSK Europe supports pan-European sales with production locations in England, Poland and Germany, logistics centres in the Netherlands, Germany and England and technology centres in Germany, England, France and Poland. Additionally, NSK has developed a comprehensive network of authorised sales distributors. NSK Europe is divided into application-based business divisions: Industry rolling bearing technologies & linear and precision technology (EIBU) as well as bearing modules and steering systems for the automotive industry (EABU & ESBU). In this organisation, NSK Europe's 3,300 employees achieved a turnover of over 983 million euros as per March 2012.
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