Motion Control & Drives


Bearings deliver major savings at snack food plant

November 2023 Motion Control & Drives

Production uptime is vital in process industries such as food and beverage. Many companies in this sector operate a business model based on high volume throughput and narrow profit margins in order to remain competitive in a fierce marketplace. Any line stoppages can therefore have a highly detrimental effect on the bottom line.

A case in point is a producer of snack foods that began experiencing frequent bearing failures on its process-critical cutter lines. To resolve the situation as quickly as possible, the plant turned to the expertise of NSK. As part of NSK’s Added Value Programme, AIP, a process map survey was conducted on site. This involved an investigation into the failed bearings by NSK’s experienced engineering team. This identified the problem as grease expulsion to line washdown procedures. The issue was prompting bearing replacement every six weeks during routine planned maintenance to help prevent unplanned stoppages. However, failures sometimes occurred before scheduled maintenance, resulting in the loss of valuable production time, the cost of which ran into six figures a year.

NSK proposed replacing the incumbent bearings with the company’s Life-Lube housed bearing units. The Life-Lube series combines the corrosion-resistant properties of NSK’s Silver-Lube thermoplastic (paint-free) housings with the excellent sealing and lubricating properties of the company’s Molded-Oil inserts, which feature solid lubricant. This proprietary material consists of lubricant and a polyolefin resin with an affinity for oil. Grease is released steadily and continuously over a long period. The operating environment stays clean, as there is no need for replenishment and no lubricant can escape.

Life-Lube units are specifically for use in applications where contact with water and process fluids is unavoidable, and where long lubricant life is necessary. NSK therefore identified Life-Lube as the optimal solution for the snack food plant and its detergent-based washdown procedures. NSK proposed a trial of Life-Lube housed bearing units on one of three cutter lines at the plant, the monitoring of which would determine suitability. After one year, the bearings were still performing well with no failures, eliminating production downtime entirely. In addition to substantially lower costs for parts and maintenance labour, the plant is seeing impressive annual savings of €134 478.

For more information contact Geraldene

Govender South Africa, NSK, +27 11 458 3600,

nsk-sa@nsk.com, www.nsk.com




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