A manufacturer of polystyrene-based insulating products was experiencing frequent failures in the bearings of conveyors which link its machines. However, relatively easy control of the situation arrived following a hands-on NSK training course for maintenance personnel and the adoption of the correct bearing mounting tools.
To what extent does the correct mounting of bearings have an influence on their service life? In practice, this factor is often underestimated. The case of an insulation product manufacturer demonstrates that it makes sound economic sense to approach this maintenance task with the utmost professionalism.
Alongside other materials, the company processes large quantities of expanded polystyrene, with 3D parts milled from sheet material. The manufacturer transports the material by conveyor systems, with heavy exposure to abrasion and fine dust from the polystyrene. As a result, repeated failures were occurring in the rolling bearings of the conveyors.
Although the primary reason for the failures was the dusty and dirty operating environment, another cause was that maintenance personnel did not have proper training on how to handle the bearings and were using conventional, non-dedicated tools to perform the work.
Realising the need for correct training, the company asked NSK to deliver a practical course for its maintenance team. In a concise training session, maintenance technicians received instructions on how to mount and dismount bearings correctly and use professional mounting and dismounting tools.
Maintenance personnel are now aware, for example, that extreme cleanliness is essential in order to prevent contamination when mounting the bearings. Also, whenever bearing replacement takes place, there is a clear need to use dedicated NSK tools. The tools carefully apply the necessary forces so as to avoid any damage, never transmitting them across the rolling elements.
NSK’s tool set includes bearing extractors that are able to exert a strong pulling force without damaging adjacent components. To subsequently install the replacement bearing, tools are available that support efficient and damage-free cold mounting. For the manufacturer of insulating products, these tools are entirely adequate, since the bearings are relatively small and easily accessible, ultimately making it possible to dispense with hydraulic tools or induction heating devices.
Thanks to these measures, the company is enjoying lower labour costs as the time required for dismounting and mounting failed bearings has reduced by a factor of 5.5. Furthermore, the service life of the newly installed bearings is significantly longer as there is no mechanical damage during cold mounting.
Only a small investment was necessary for the training, while the NSK mounting tool paid for itself within a few weeks.
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 31,000 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 2019, the more than 4,400 employees of NSK Europe Ltd. generated sales of over € 920 million.