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Precision bearings and condition monitoring

Split cylindrical roller bearings boost steel plant operations

Designed specifically to suit steel industry converters and continuous casting lines, optimised cylindrical roller bearings from NSK deliver benefits that include the use of up to 30% wider cylindrical rollers for accommodating greater loads. The bearings also provide longer replacement intervals, helping end users reduce downtime.A further advantage of the optimised bearings is a newly developed labyrinth gasket that provides a tight seal regardless of the bearing material expanding or contracting as a result of temperature changes on the rolling mill. This design innovation ensures that the sealing lip remains in constant contact with the exterior of the bearing's inner ring.

The higher loads that can be tolerated by NSK's optimised cylindrical roller bearings means that smaller guide rollers and more rollers per segment can be installed. As a result, both the load capacity for heavy steel slabs and the number of cast thin slabs that can be accommodated, are increased significantly.

The extended replacement intervals surpass the service life of the rollers found typically on steel industry converters and continuous casting lines. The upshot is that bearings and rollers can be replaced simultaneously, saving maintenance time. What's more, the split bearings simplify maintenance services considerably, minimise downtime and subsequently save costs. Plants can also enjoy the option (not available on previous bearings) of employing oil-air lubrication, which is becoming more prevalent in the steel sector.

Customers can select NSK's latest split cylindrical roller bearings to suit shaft diameters ranging from 100 to 190 mm. The larger sizes, from 160 mm upwards, are intended typically for use on guide rollers. NSK is able to customise lubrication, cooling and enclosure mounting options in line with individual customer requirements. As well as new installations, the bearings are highly suitable for retrofit where steel plants are adapting existing continuous casting lines to suit higher loads or achieve extended service lives.

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.

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High speed trains use high performance NSK bearings

Helping facilitate high speed train travel in Japan, NSK says that its high performance axle, motor and drive unit bearings have been selected for a prestigious new rail project. The bearings have been specified for the H5 rolling stock to be deployed on the Hokkaido Shinkansen high speed rail line being constructed between Shin-Aomori and Sapporo - the initial section of which is due to open in March 2016.Safety and reliability are paramount considerations on all rail projects, but especially on ultra-high speed trains where speeds of circa 320 kph (200 mph) are typical. With this in mind, nothing but the highest performance bearings will suffice.

As a result, Hokkaido Railway Company selected a range of bearings from NSK designed specifically to withstand the demands and challenges of high speed motion. For example, NSK´s oil bath, double-row cylindrical roller bearing were chosen for the axles, a product that can facilitate high speed rotation while generating very little heat. The principal benefit for the user is extended service life, which is vital for long distance, high speed rail travel.

Also selected were ceramic-coated insulated bearings for the main traction motors. The proven safety record and lightness of these bearings will boost reliability and help prevent electrical pitting on the rolling surface, which is a known threat to bearing life.

For the drive units, which are subjected to considerable vibration, the NSK bearings chosen by Hokkaido feature high strength cages that have been subjected to nitriding treatment to enhance shock resistance.

Ultimately, NSK was the preferred bearing manufacturer selected because of the rigorous quality measures that are imparted to ensure product quality. Simultaneously, NSK strives to make its bearings smaller and lighter to reduce both energy consumption and environmental impact.

Another reason for adopting NSK technology on this new high speed train line is that the company is the sole bearing manufacturer to have supplied bearings to all variants of Japan's Shinkansen rolling stock since the initial ´0 Series´ was launched in 1964. A half-century track record of performance, reliability, comfort and safety, even in the severe cold and snow of Japanese winters, proved to be highly attractive to Hokkaido.

NSK commands the largest market share of railway bearings within Japan. In recent years, the company has also been working to expand its business in China, Europe and southeast Asia, bringing to market new railway-specific products designed to make trains even better performing and more environmentally friendly.

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Refer to page 378

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