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NSK bearings deliver €96,000 saving for fish processor

Interrupting a continuous manufacturing process occasionally because of a bearing failure can be irritating, but when the failures become more frequent the costs in lost production start to mount up. For one large producer of fish products, repeated bearing failures on a heat exchanger unit demanded attention, which led to NSK delivering a huge annual saving through the installation of improved bearing technology. Scraped Surface Heat Exchanger (SSHE) systems are designed to operate as part of a continuous process where fouling of the heat exchanger and the subsequent reduction in heat transfer efficiency, can be expected. The internal scrapers perform two roles by removing the material build-up and also mixing the product at the same time.

NSK offers the services of its experienced application engineers to examine the circumstances of a bearing failure, with the aim of improving reliability and efficiency. The Added Value Programme, AIP, aims to help to production and maintenance managers to understand the causes behind bearing failure and what steps can be taken to improve the situation.

In this particular case, the manufacturer of fish products had five heat exchanger units and was experiencing twelve bearing failures every year. Aside from the maintenance costs to repair the heat exchanger each time, it was the five hours of lost production time that focussed the attention of the production manager sufficiently to call-in NSK.

Engineers from NSK investigated the issue and conducted a failed bearing analysis which determined that both water and hard particles were contaminating the bearing and causing a breakdown of the lubricant. Considering the nature of the application and the demands of the process, NSK proposed a trial using its Molded-Oil deep groove ball bearings.

Molded-Oil technology has been developed by NSK to greatly improve the performance of bearings in terms of reliability by allowing maintenance-free operation. Molded-Oil bearings use an oil-impregnated resin cage to provide lubrication to the bearing. Although similar designs are used by other bearing manufacturers, NSK provides a lubricating oil content of more than 50% by volume, which is considerably more than the competition currently offer.

The trial period eventually ran to more than three years without the bearing showing any signs of requiring replacement. The performance of the trial bearing was more than sufficient evidence for the production manager to request the NSK solution to be installed across all five heat exchangers.

The annual savings made as a result of the decision to use NSK Molded-Oil bearings were significant. By avoiding any major loss of production, the company´s total savings were in excess of €96,000.

NSK is offering its Molded-Oil technology on standard deep groove ball bearings, spherical roller bearings and tapered roller bearings with inside diameters up to 110mm. For applications where corrosive environments exist or for exposure in wash down facilities, the bearings can be manufactured from stainless steel.

NSK´s Added Value programme, AIP, is designed to improve efficiency and reduce the frequency of breakdowns attributed to bearing failure. By implementing this comprehensive programme, customers such as this one, can expect to improve profitability and competiveness.

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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Expanded range of NSKHPS
high performance standard bearings

The NSKHPS series of high performance standard bearings from NSK has been expanded in line with demand for reduced maintenance costs and more compact industrial machinery. Deep groove ball bearings, cylindrical roller bearings, high precision angular contact ball bearings and ball screw support angular contact thrust ball bearings have all been added to this increasingly popular series. NSKHPS bearings are able to extend service life significantly, and increase the limiting speed by up to 20%.In 2004 NSK introduced the first product in the NSKHPS series, a spherical roller bearing. The range was enhanced further in 2009, with the addition of angular contact ball bearings. With six types now available, circa 30,000 NSKHPS product variants are offered in total, giving machine builders an unprecedented choice for virtually any kind of modern machinery application.

In terms of service life, NSKHPS cylindrical roller bearings offer a 60% higher life span than conventional bearings at basic load ratings, while deep groove ball bearings, high precision angular contact ball bearings and ball screw support angular contact thrust ball bearings provide 15% longer life.

In combination with all the usual NSK benefits of high accuracy, universal matching, optimum surface finishing, temperature stability and low maintenance requirements, the NSKHPS range is now the first choice for machine builders keen to differentiate their innovations from the competition.

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NSK bearings save €11,500 a year in MRO activities

The replacement of ball bearings is part of typical maintenance schedules when it comes to electric motors. However, when a German MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) provider was tasked recently with performing regular overhauls of electric drives for a prominent customer, a frequently recurring problem was noted: newly installed standard bearings would fail after three or four months. Uncertain of the root cause, the MRO provider commissioned NSK to investigate the issue. As part of NSK´s AIP - Added Value Programme, a ball bearing expert scrutinised the bearing failures along with the conditions in which the electric motors were operating.

The AIP investigation revealed that premature failures were occurring due to the penetration of dirt, which in turn was contaminating the lubricant inside the standard ball bearings. As a result, NSK recommended switching to its sealed super precision ball bearings, a solution that proved so satisfactory that these bearings are now used for all electric drive overhauls

NSK´s sealed super precision ball bearings excel in challenging environments thanks largely to non-contact seals that offer class-leading protection against contamination ingress, an effect that is achieved without any friction increase or motor speed reduction, and with no compromise to the specified energy efficiency of the drives.

For the customer of the MRO provider, the benefits have been extensive. In trials with 65 motors, the service life or maintenance interval of the electric drives climbed from four to more than 12 months, simply due to the change of bearing. As a consequence, the annual service cost within a one-year period has fallen to zero, compared with €11,500 spent in the 12 months prior to fitting NSK´s super precision sealed bearings.

As well as service life that has more than tripled, sealed super precision bearings are offering the end user several additional benefits. For instance, they have not only reduced noise and vibration throughout the drivetrain, but stopped grease leakage in vertical-type installations. They can also be fitted far quicker than standard unsealed bearings. For these reasons, NSK´s sealed super precision bearings are rapidly becoming the first choice in industry-wide electric motor applications - for both original parts and as replacement components fitted during routine maintenance regimes.

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Refer to page 430

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