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Substituting NSK’s HPS Series of spherical roller bearings (SRB) for conventional SRB on a baking dough mixing machine is providing cost savings of GBP93,512 per annum for a major UK bakery chain.

The bearings are also said to be providing extended product life, improved productivity and reduced maintenance.

The bakery was suffering from failure problems due to high loading on dough mixing spindles, causing premature wear due to deflecting shafts, and ‘swashing’, or reciprocating motion within the SRB bearings, resulting in continuous failures.

The cost of these failures was considerable: the yearly total for bearings, maintenance, engineering time and lost production, amounting to GBP113,144.

An engineer from NSK was called in to evaluate the problem and suggest a solution that would reduce the ongoing costs.

The engineer’s response was to replace the existing SRB units with the NSK HPS Series of high-performance spherical roller bearings.

With its HPS design, NSK said it has clarified the mechanism that causes slippage and creates high friction on the bearing surfaces of SRB, eventually leading to damage due to surface fatigue.

This was verified by extensive testing; that friction can be reduced by controlling the motion of rotating rollers; and that a special surface treatment of the outer ring is effective in achieving this.

Based upon these findings, NSK developed HPS bearings, which can minimise slippage, prolonging running life by more than twice that of conventional products.

Following NSK’s recommendation, HPS Series bearings were fitted to the dough mixing machine for trials.

To date, the trial has run for nine-months with no failures; this compares with the regular two-to-three-month lifespan of the original non-NSK units.

Based upon this performance, the customer has calculated savings of GBP93,512 per annum.

This figure has been reached after a projected (as there have been no failures to date) cost saving breakdown, which showed a total cost for the new design – including bearings, production time and maintenance of GBP19,632 per annum.


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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