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A steel company has replaced its inefficient bearings with specially sealed roller bearings from NSK’s SWR super-wear-resistant series. This has led to an improvement in bearing performance and a reduction in the cost of lubricant, spare parts and servicing.

The life expectancy of the company’s bearings was so low — just one to two months — that downtime was seriously impairing productivity. Part of the problem was that continuous casting machines have a complicated coolant and lubricant supply system that had to be reconnected every time the machinery was serviced — a lengthy process.

The plant managers contacted NSK’s industry experts, who visited the site to analyse the use of bearings as part of its Asset Improvement Programme (AIP). They found that the premature wear and tear was attributable to contamination and the fact that the existing cylindrical roller bearings were unable to compensate for the deflection of the guide rollers.

On NSK’s recommendations, the steel company switched to SWR series bearings.

Key benefits of product application

  • NSK’s spherical roller bearings are particularly suitable for steel-industry applications. Made from extra-tough, wear-resistant steel, they also feature highly efficient seals.
  • Field experience has shown that NSK’s steel bearings can significantly reduce downtime for continuous casting machines.
  • The material used to make the outer rings of the bearings was specially developed by NSK for applications of this kind; it can be subjected to low speeds, high mechanical loads and a contaminated environment.
  • The material’s resistance to wear is said to be higher than that of conventional bearing steel by a factor of three. When it comes to protection from fatigue damage, it is claimed to perform better by a factor of five. The bearing material also has five times more core toughness.
  • By using spherical roller bearings rather than cylindrical roller bearings, it is possible to compensate for the misalignment caused by shaft deflection.
  • There is no need to connect the bearings to the central lubricant supply system because they are pre-lubricated and sealed for life. This makes replacing them quicker.
  • Switching to the SWR series has extended the bearings’ average service lives to four months.
  • The operator is savings approximately €14,850 (£12,530) a year by using SWR spherical roller bearings.


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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