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Industrial Analytical Instrumentation

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Precision bearings and condition monitoring

NSK spindle bearings help machine shop save €24,000 per annum

When a manufacturer of heat exchangers was experiencing frequent production stoppages due to bearing damage on the spindles of its horizontal machining centres, the company turned to NSK for a solution. After comprehensive analysis, NSK recommended fitting its sealed, high-precision, angular contact ball bearings, a move that is helping the facility to save €24,000 per annum in replacement bearings and labour costs alone.Horizontal machining centres are used frequently in the production of industrial heat exchangers

When first experiencing the repeated failures, the operations manager at the heat exchanger manufacturer asked NSK to conduct a detailed failure analysis. Within the framework of NSK´s AIP Added Value Programme, company experts examined the failed angular contact ball bearings, as well as the quality of the lubricant and the operating environment conditions.

It was discovered that coolant and metallic particles - both by-products of the machining process - had penetrated the bearings. The result was deterioration of the bearing lubricant, which consequently caused the bearing units themselves to fail.

To overcome the issue, NSK proposed the use of its sealed, high-precision, angular contact ball bearings, which are deployed widely as spindle bearings in the machine tool industry. These bearings have contactless seals that are designed to deliver exemplary resistance to the penetration of contaminants without causing friction to increase, or spindle performance to drop.

To help accommodate the increased axial loads exerted on spindles often present in horizontal machining centres, a further suggestion from NSK was the installation of bearings with a higher contact angle. As a result of adopting this recommendation, the heat exchanger manufacturer has been able to increase the operational life of the bearings: after fitting NSK bearings to three of its horizontal machining centres, spindle bearing operating life increased on average by a factor of 12.

Based on the previous cost of replacing bearings (as well as labour costs for installation), the heat exchanger manufacutrer is realising annual cost savings of €24,000 as a direct consequence of switching to NSK´s sealed, high-precision, angular contact ball bearings. Moreover, this figure does not include the costs incurred from any previous lost productivity or production downtime

Along with significantly increased operational life, further benefits of NSK bearings being enjoyed by the customer include reduced noise and vibration in the drive train, as well as far quicker installation in comparison with standard bearings without seals.

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Wind applications call for optimised bearing solutions

Whether it´s bearings for the main rotor shaft, main gearbox, pitch and yaw gearbox, oil pump or generator, NSK will show a selection of products at WindEnergy 2016 (Hamburg, Germany 27-30 September) to demonstrate the company´s expertise and decades-long experience in this growing market segment.Planet stage Cylindrical Roller Bearings from NSK will be among the displayed products at WindEnergy 2016

As most wind turbines are not readily accessible and are designed for a long service life of around 20 years, extremely high demands are placed on all of the turbine´s components. This is especially true for the bearings, which must be able to withstand continuous dynamic loading over long periods, even at high wind speeds.

On booth B5.417 in hall B5, NSK will showcase a Spherical Roller Bearing for the main rotor shaft of a wind turbine. Rotors induce high axial and radial loads in the main bearings, which occur both statically and dynamically. With this in mind, high bearing stiffness is indispensable. Spherical, Cylindrical and Taper Roller Bearings mounted in either the conventional fixed end/loose end bearing arrangement, or in a floating bearing arrangement, are particularly well suited for this application.

Another product in the spotlight will be a set of matched integrated planet stage bearings for even balanced loadings. NSK offers matched bearing sets featuring close tolerance bores and inscribed circle diameters of every integrated Cylindrical Roller Bearing row within a planetary stage. This contributes significantly to equal loading, thus promoting maximum service life.

The matched set on show at WindEnergy 2016 will be composed of four planet gears, each with four bearing rows. Across a total length of 1568mm, variation across the inscribed diameter of the NSK planet set will be less than 18µm.

NSK bearings have gained a global reputation for quality based on long life, reliability and an optimised, proven design. Since 2008 the company has had an in-house standard for bearings used in wind turbines: Wind Standard U303. This specifies 100% traceability of components in each individual bearing, right back to the material batch and all major process variables. It also defines non-destructive testing methods to prevent grinding burns, surface cracks and structural faults in the material.

At WindEnergy 2016, visitors to the NSK stand will be able to see for themselves the quality imparted into every bearing produced for wind turbine applications. Company experts will be on hand to discuss any specific application requirements and reveal how NSK bearings are able to lower total cost of ownership and minimise maintenance, repair and overhaul costs.

NSK in profile
Established 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 31,500 employees in 30 countries. As per March 2016 NSK achieved a turnover of 975 billion Yen. 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 1,000 million Euros as per March 2016.

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Refer to page 632

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