The Journal of Industry and Technology

Industrial Analytical Instrumentation

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Precision bearings and condition monitoring

Tyre plant saves €119,000 a year
with NSK´s Molded-Oil rolling bearings

Molded-Oil rolling bearings from NSK have once again proven their suitability for operating in harsh environmental conditions by helping a tyre manufacturing plant in Europe achieve annual cost savings of over €118,000. Having replaced conventional bearing units in a rubber cutting machine with NSK Molded-Oil bearings, which are permanently lubricated with an oil-impregnated polymer material, the facility is witnessing a four-fold extension in bearing service life.By changing to NSK´s Molded-Oil rolling bearings in a rubber cutting machine, a tyre manufacturer is saving over €119,000 a year

Water spray generated by the tyre cutting process is known to shorten the service life of standard ball bearings deployed in such applications. However, at this particular plant, the problem was exacerbated by inadequate protection at the bearing locations. As a result, the maintenance team was faced with replacing the bearings prematurely, typically twice a year. This was in addition to an average of two unscheduled stoppages per annum due to catastrophic bearing failures and line stops.

Within the framework of its proven AIP Added Value Programme, engineers from NSK visited the plant to see the application first hand before analysing the bearings at one of its technology centres. There, it was confirmed that the principal cause of bearing failure was the ingress of water from the rubber cutting process. As a consequence, NSK determined that the optimum solution would be the adoption of stainless steel mounted units with Molded-Oil inserts.

In ball bearings featuring Molded-Oil technology, the penetration of water and other contaminants is prevented by a resin containing a supply of lubricant that is distributed in small, continuous quantities on to the raceway. In comparison with resins used by manufacturers of competitor bearings, the ratio of lubricant present in NSK´s Molded-Oil bearings is significantly higher (often over 50% more), thus extending service life.

The mounted Molded-Oil units now being deployed at the tyre manufacturing plant feature a housing made from a one-piece austenitic stainless steel casting. The bearing rings, balls and raceways are also made of stainless steel, while further corrosion resistance for both the housing and bearing interior is assured by the Molded-Oil resin coating.

NSK Molded-Oil bearings are suitable for applications where the ingress of water and contaminants must be prevented

Since putting NSK´s recommendation into practice, the tyre manufacturer  has witnessed four times greater service life from each bearing unit;  the bearings are now replaced only once a year instead of the three  month cycle endured previously. When assessing lost production time and  the cost of replacement bearings, the annual net savings from using  Molded-Oil pillow block type bearings with stainless steel housings was  calculated at €119,000 per year.

NSK in profile
Established almost 100 years ago, NSK (Nippon Seiko Kabushiki Kaisha) is a Japanese-listed company that has evolved from a regional ball bearing supplier to a roller bearing specialist and automotive supplier with a global market presence. Today, NSK employs more than 30,500 employees in 29 countries. As per March 2014 NSK achieved a turnover of 6,2 billion Euros. This result has been driven by ever-increasing investment in research & development, enabling the company to continuously improve the quality of its products and services. This investment supports NSK´s objective of "No. 1 in Total Quality". In addition to a complete rolling bearing portfolio, NSK develops and manufactures precision components and mechatronic products, as well as systems and components for the automotive industry, including wheel bearing units and electric power-steering systems.

In 1963, NSK´s first European subsidiary, Düsseldorf, Germany, was opened and in 1976, the first European production facility in Peterlee, England. Today, NSK Europe supports pan-European sales with production locations in England, Poland and Germany, logistics centres in the Netherlands, Germany and England and technology centres in Germany, England and Poland. In 1990, NSK purchased the UPI Group including the renowned European bearing manufacturer RHP, with its factory in Newark (UK). Additionally, NSK has developed a comprehensive network of authorised sales distributors. NSK Europe is divided into application-based business divisions: Industry rolling bearing technologies & linear and precision technology (EIBU) as well as bearing modules and steering systems for the automotive industry (EABU & ESBU). In this organisation, NSK Europe's 3,500 employees achieved a turnover of over 900 million Euros as per March 2014.

For further information, view website: 
Refer to page 195

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