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NSK has saved a sewage-treatment plant EUR17,321 (GBP15,570) a year by solving the problem of failing sealing arrangements on the bearings used in a large water pump.

The seal failures were occurring four times a year, resulting in complete removal of the pump in each case, as well as resealing, a process that took three days.

The cost of this unplanned maintenance, which would take 12 days a year, was estimated at EUR15,780, with a further EUR1,541 a year in engineering support time.

Prior to consultation with NSK, engineers at the treatment plant upgraded the seal arrangement on the pump to a mechanical type in an effort to cure the repeated failures.

However, this assembly, which included a locating bearing, was incompatible with the new seal arrangement and leakage still occurred.

With the problem still unresolved, engineers at the treatment plant turned to NSK for a solution.

NSK operates a cost-saving ‘problem solver’ programme across all industries, including water and waste treatment.

The programme reduces operating costs and improves efficiency and profitability.

After visiting the site and surveying the application, NSK engineers identified the cause of the sealing problem as excessive axial movement within the complete bearing assembly.

The engineers recommended replacing the existing bearings with sealed duplex ball bearings.

These bearings have four contact points, which reduce axial movement to allow the seal arrangement to function correctly.

The result of this bearing substitution is that unplanned maintenance has now been eliminated, resulting in a substantial improvement in overall plant reliability.

To date, six of the 13 pumps on site are fitted with the new bearings and seals, so further improvements in overall reliability can be expected when the remaining pumps are retrofitted with the same bearing solution.


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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