Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Bearing Programme Saves Lost Production Costs

The NSK bearing substitution programme has saved a major producer of frozen food products GBP5,984 a year in downtime and lost production costs. The savings are a result of solving a problem of repeated heat-related bearing failures in a heat shrink tunnel used for packaging beef burgers. The failures, on a hot-air circulation fan, were a major cause of concern to the food producer, as each time they resulted in costly downtime and lost production.

NSK engineers visited the frozen food plant to view the application and obtain samples of the failed bearings for inspection and analysis. The subsequent report, compiled by NSK, confirmed that the main cause of failure was the excessive temperature the bearings had been subjected to. In view of this, NSK suggested that its HLT Self-Lube inserts would be more suited for the application. HLT Self-Lube inserts can allow companies to reduce maintenance, downtime and replacement costs at temperatures as high as +180C and as low as -40C.

With a higher than standard internal clearance, the HLT inserts are especially suited to high-temperature applications; the increased clearance between the balls and raceways helps to prevent radial pre-load - even at +180C - thus maximising bearing life. The provision of pressed steel cages to ensure reliable performance at temperature extremes is another feature of the HLT design; as is silicone rubber seals. The seals have a wide operating temperature range and flexibility at high and low temperatures.

To ensure long-term operation in both high- and low-temperature applications, a pure, high-performance grease is used on the bearings. HLT inserts are available across the entire Self-Lube range, which includes pillow block housings, flange units, cartridge units and hanger units.

They offer a re-lubrication facility, as standard, and the facility for fitting the Self-Lube Protector on pillow block types. In the 18 months since the HLT bearing inserts were first installed at the frozen food manufacturer, there have been no unplanned bearing changes. More details of all NSK's bearings for food processing applications are contained in a 12-page publication. Free copies of the publication are available from NSK's marketing department.

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