Tuesday, 09 November 2021 10:05

NSK Self-Lube® bearings prove reliable in harsh conditions

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NSK Self-Lube® bearing units with triple lip seal and end cap protectors provide an extended service life in harsh operating conditions, such as those prevalent within the quarrying, mining and construction sectors. This proven performance is vital in these industries, where contaminants can easily penetrate poorly specified bearings, bringing machinery and equipment to a halt.

Downtime is the enemy of quarry/mine operators and construction project managers. Critical plant and equipment must offer reliable performance to meet demanding output targets, project deadlines and budgets.

Self-Lube® bearing units with triple-lip sealed inserts are ideal for applications where bearings face exposure to dust and water contaminationSelf-Lube® bearing units with triple-lip sealed inserts are ideal for applications where bearings face exposure to dust and water contamination

Whether extraction, transportation, preparation, separation or enrichment, these processes are subject to contamination and debris, not to mention heavy loads, shock loads and vibration. Bearing selection is vital to ensure long service life. Getting it right means that mining and construction sites can maximise their uptime and productivity while simultaneously reducing maintenance costs.

Leveraging state-of-the-art design, material, lubricant and seals, NSK Self-Lube® bearings exceed the life of conventional bearings. Furthermore, by selecting Self-Lube® bearings with triple lip seal and shaft end protectors, it is possible to reduce the costs associated with downtime and repairs.

Reliable protection
NSK recommends its specially developed triple-lip seal for applications with a high degree of contamination. Bonded to a protective outer steel pressing (secured in the outer ring), this one-piece moulded nitrile seal with three lips makes for a highly efficient sealing design that protects the bearing in severe operating environments.
Standard Self-Lube® bearing inserts also have a locating groove to allow the easy fitting of an optional end cap protector. The cap helps to protect personnel from rotating components and the bearing from external contamination.

NSK Self-Lube® bearing units comprise a broad portfolio of reliable inserts and housings. Notably, these cost-effective solutions provide a fast and straightforward solution for mounting bearings without the need for complex housings or special shaft arrangements.

Self-Lube® end cap protectors help to protects personnel from rotating components, and bearings from external contaminationSelf-Lube® end cap protectors help to protects personnel from rotating components, and bearings from external contamination

Reduce costs
The combination of easy use, self-lubrication and long service life mean that increasing numbers of companies in the quarrying, mining and construction sectors are now reducing their costs for replacement bearings, maintenance and downtime.

A case in point involves a company that was experiencing frequent reliability problems with the bearing units assembled in a vibrating drum. These bearings work in severe environments, where they suffer exposure to sand that often wholly covers the units. In addition, due to the nature of the application and its difficult access, the regularity and increasing cost of maintenance was proving an issue.

Following a comprehensive failed bearing analysis as part of its AIP Added Value Programme, NSK proposed Self-Lube® bearing units with triple lip seals, which increased the operating life by a factor of 10 against the previous solution. In addition, the three high-integrity nitrile seal lips with lubrication traps have provided an effective way of stopping the ingress of contaminants.

Self-Lube® end cap protectors easily clip into place on the outer ring of the bearing insertSelf-Lube® end cap protectors easily clip into place on the outer ring of the bearing insert

Design innovation
In another customer success story, a company supplying ready-mixed concrete and other construction materials invited NSK to perform an application review of its augur screw pump bearings. The augur pumps transfer ash (an abrasive mixture of ash, sand, glass, fibres and metal grit) into waiting containers. Here, the screws lift the ash at an angle of approximately 40°, where the lower bearing units frequently fail.

Upon examination of the failed bearings, NSK was able to identify several issues. For instance, after removing the flinger seal, it was evident that no contact seal was running against the inner ring of the bearing. It had likely worn away, and there was now a direct contamination path into the bearing. Further problems included heavy cage corrosion and the absence of lubrication. The ingress of fine dust and particulates had probably soaked up any grease and created a grinding paste, eroding the rubber seal.

To rectify the situation, NSK again recommended its Self-Lube® bearing units. In this case, NSK also suggested the inclusion of a small disc plate with an additional seal. This minor redesign would help stop most of the contamination and significantly reduce pressure on the bearing seal as it features a path for the debris to escape.
By further improving the sealing, using the triple lip sealing solution on the Self-Lube® insert bearing, it is likely that reliability will significantly improve. In addition, the use of an end cap protector for the bottom bearing could also benefit the company as it will help reduce any dust ingress.

These examples are just two of many successes that NSK is encountering in quarrying, mining and construction applications.

About NSK Europe
NSK Europe Ltd. is the European organisation of the Tokyo-based bearing manufacturer NSK, which was founded in Japan in 1916 and today employs nearly 30,400 people in its worldwide operations. The products and solutions provided by the industrial and automotive supplier can be found wherever things move. In addition to nearly all types of rolling bearings, the company’s portfolio includes housed bearings, linear technology, wheel bearing units, transmission and engine bearings and steering systems. The company is oriented to perfection in all of its business activities. Its aim is quality leadership in its industry, which it strives for through a continuous process of improvement, excellent product development, optimised production processes and customer-oriented service processes. In fiscal year 2020, the more than 4,350 employees of NSK Europe Ltd. generated sales of over € 792 million.

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