NSK bearings deliver major savings at snack food plant

A major snack food producer is experiencing savings in excess of €130,000 primarily thanks to the elimination of lost production through a switch to NSK Life-Lube housed bearing units began stopping repeat failures of the bearings on its cutter lines.

As part of NSK’s Added Value Programme, AIP, a process map survey was conducted on site encompassing an investigation of the failed bearings by NSK’s experienced engineering team. This activity identified grease expulsion as the problem due to line wash-down procedures. The issue was prompting bearing replacement every six weeks during routine planned maintenance to help prevent unplanned stoppages. However, failures sometimes occurred before scheduled maintenance, resulting in the loss of valuable production time, the cost of which ran into six figures a year.

NSK proposed replacing the incumbent bearings with the company’s Life-Lube housed bearing units. The Life-Lube series combines the corrosion-resistant properties of NSK’s Silver-Lube thermoplastic (paint-free) housings with the excellent sealing and lubricating properties of the company’s Molded-Oil inserts, which feature solid lubricant. This proprietary material consists of lubricant and a polyolefin resin with an affinity for oil. Grease releases steadily and continuously over a long period, keeping the operating environment clean as there is no need for replenishment and no lubricant can escape.

Life-Lube units are specifically for use in applications where contact with water and process fluids is unavoidable, and where long lubricant life is necessary. NSK therefore identified Life-Lube as the optimal solution for the snack food plant and its detergent-based wash-down procedures.

NSK proposed a trial of Life-Lube housed bearing units on one of three cutter lines at the snack food plant, the monitoring of which would determine suitability. After one year, the bearings were still performing well with no failures, eliminating production downtime entirely. Alongside far lower costs for parts and maintenance labour, the plant is seeing impressive annual savings of €134,478 (£116,450). Thanks to this success, NSK Life-Lube housed bearing units now populate the snack food plant’s other two cutter lines.

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