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Bearings withstand wash-down fluids on bottling line conveyor

Home Engineering Engineering & Allied Supplies Bearings withstand wash-down fluids on bottling line conveyor

IN operations where contact with process fluid is unavoidable, poorly specified bearings that fail prematurely can prove costly in maintenance labour and production downtime.

That’s according to NSK, which said this was why increasing numbers of food and beverage plants were turning to its NSK’s Silver-Lube bearing units.

One of them, a leading milk processing and bottling plant, was experiencing repeated bearing failures on five conveyor lines, where the company was changing bearings approximately every 16 weeks. With every replacement taking approximately one hour to complete, the plant invited NSK’s team of experts to recommend a solution.

As part of its AIP Added Value Programme, NSK’s specialist engineers analysed the failed bearings, concluding that the ingress of water during the wash-down process was causing internal corrosion and premature failures. Further review of the application and operating conditions led the NSK team to recommend its Silver-Lube housed bearing units.

“The plant started a trial of Silver-Lube bearings featuring food-grade grease on one of its bottling line conveyors, a solution that resulted in an immediate improvement and significant lifetime extension,” NSK said in a statement.

The bearings features durable and heat-resistant silicon rubber seals that protect against fluid penetration and prevent washout of the lubricating grease. Complementing the seal is a stainless steel flinger, which prevents the ingress of bacteria and helps the seal to resist impact damage.

Silver-Lube bearings also comprise numerous corrosion-resistant components, including inserts with high-grade stainless steel rings and balls, cage, flingers, and set screws. Furthermore, the bearing insert sits within a high-strength PBT thermoplastic housing featuring a stainless steel grease nipple.

After the initial trial, the plant implemented Silver-Lube housed bearing units on all five of its milk bottle conveyor systems. The result, according to NSK, was a reduction in machine downtime, maintenance labour and replacement bearings costs, leading to annual savings of €7,625.

“Indeed, no failures of Silver-Lube bearings occurred for more than five years.

“Importantly, Silver-Lube bearings units can accommodate initial misalignment from mounting errors, making them ideal for bottling machines and conveyors used by the food and beverage industry.”

Additional attributes include: a paint-free resin housing to eliminate any risk of chipping or flaking; a cavity-free design to avoid ‘bug traps’ that might harbour bacteria or mould; a smooth finish to prevent dirt adhesion; and suitability for working temperatures from -20 to +90°C.

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