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NSK’s cost-reduction programme has achieved annual cost savings on a potato processing line, as a result of replacing sealed, single-row radial ball bearings with NSK’s Molded-Oil bearings.

The bearing problem on the potato processing line centred on the rollers of a potato peeling machine.

The harsh nature of the process meant that the sealed radial ball bearings in the rollers were subject to the ingress of water and dirt, causing them to fail consistently every six to eight weeks.

These frequent failures were resulting in extremely costly downtime.

Added to this was the maintenance cost to replace the bearings; the cost of replacement bearings themselves and other expenses such as the re-greasing required at weekly intervals, as well as the holding of spares inventory.

This added up to to a total annual loss of EUR189 (GBP168) for the potato processor.

In the highly competitive world of food production this cost was not sustainable, so an initiative was launched with a view to sourcing higher-performance bearings.

As part of this initiative, engineers from NSK’s cost-reduction programme were called in to give advice.

The cost-reduction programme is a service designed to help bearing users to improve reliability, reduce operating costs and 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.

NSK engineers visited the food processor and identified the problem.

They suggested using NSK’s Molded-Oil bearings to prolong bearing life.

Molded-Oil bearings employ a special solid lubricant to transform the performance of machinery in environments exposed to high humidity, corrosion and contamination.

The bearings achieve improvements in performance and reliability by offering more than twice the operating life of grease lubrication in water-contaminated environments.

The solid lubricant technology also means that operating environments are kept free of grease and there is no need for refilling of lubricant, as Molded-Oil provides a continuous supply of lubricating oil.

Sample Molded-Oil bearing inserts were fitted to the rollers of the peeling machine and operated successfully for more than 10 months without problems.

The bearings were then removed for inspection having already provided more than four-times the life of the previous single-row radial units.

The inspection revealed that the bearings required no maintenance and so continued in operation.

The food producer has now replaced all the single-row radial ball bearings on the potato peeler with Molded-Oil units.

In addition to providing improved life, these bearings are also saving the customer the cost of re-greasing.

NSK’S INTEGRATED TECHNOLOGY PLATFORM DRIVES INNOVATION..

NSK, a global leader in motion and control products, has developed and continuously upgrades four core technologies: tribology, material engineering, analysis technology and mechatronics, to provide the platform for the company’s innovative product developments. This technology platform provides the basis for the design of NSK’s rolling bearings, automotive components and precision parts. In addition, by integrating these advanced technologies, NSK is able to respond quickly and effectively to customer requirements across all key sectors.

NSK is a driver of new technology developments, with a full line-up of products spanning general industrial, automotive and precision parts industries. These include bearings for mechanical and electrical machinery, IT and aftermarket; innovative automotive products such as electric power steering (EPS) automatic transmission components, steering columns and other steering related products; and precision linear motion components such as linear guides, ballscrews, X-Y tables, mechatronic products and Megatorque motors.

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