Soil ingress on equipment in agricultural applications can create significant problems for farmers in terms of machine performance and longevity. Bearings in particular are susceptible to failure from exposure to harsh conditions – and when every minute of uptime counts, it’s important to choose the right bearings for the job, says Tony Tormey, Motion’s Category Manager for Industrial Bearings.

“Soil ingression is an ongoing threat to harvesting equipment, particularly in Australia where farmers contend with extremely fluctuating weather conditions – from heat and dust to severe rain,” he explains. “This is why investing in bearings built to withstand those conditions is critical, particularly when there is huge demand for food product. No one wants to experience downtime in harvest season.” 

According to Tony, the latest iteration of the Schaeffler FAG Black Series have features specifically built for harsh agricultural applications.

“The FAG Black Series of radial insert ball bearings and housing units from Schaeffler are robust, ready-to-fit, self-contained units that provide simplified mounting, smooth running and high reliability,” he expands. “These bearings and housing units have superior sealing and corrosion protection. This is especially important as rust leads to flaking and premature failure. And bearing failure is one of the most common – and preventable – causes of farming equipment breakdowns.”

The Schaeffler Black Series bearings take their name from their matte black surface coating. 

“Their black coating is Schaeffler’s Durotect BS surface treatment formulated to inhibit rust, withstand temperatures from -20 to 120 degrees Celsius and other corrosive conditions,” explains Tony. “We recommend these for a number of agricultural applications – one that comes to mind is macadamia harvesting, where dust ingress is an ongoing issue and the hot and humid climate conditions that the trees grow in can be stressful on equipment componentry. These bearings will still perform well despite those conditions – they are durable and reliable.”

Moreover, the Black Series housing units conform to the standard JIS B 1559. They consist of graphite cast iron housings and concave seating where the insert bearing is located – this compensates for any misalignment of the shaft or assembly. 

“They’re particularly suitable for applications with moderate to high radial loads,” says Tony. “The housing units also allow for relubrication to increase longevity of the bearings and prevent build up of dust, sludge and static contaminants that can slow down equipment.”

The Black Series radial insert ball bearings are available with two location methods and one type of seal. These units are matched to each other and are available as pillow block housing units, flanged housing units and take-up housing units.

“Because of the way they are designed, they have reduced frictional torque, so they are more energy efficient and generate less heat which also extends grease life.” Tony adds. 

The Black Series radial insert ball bearings are based on single row deep groove ball bearings and comprise a solid section outer ring and an inner ring extended on both sides. The bearings have plastic cages and are sealed on both sides by single piece seals with a vulcanised lip and outer flinger shield. 

“Importantly, the ball bearings and housing units are particularly easy to install,” adds Tony. “Housing units are supplied with a lubrication nipple, integrated end cap for the lubrication nipple as well as an Allen key for bearings with grub screw lock.”

Tony recommends that customers call on Motion before changing over or installing bearings. This is because a local Motion branch can draw on the nationwide expertise of engineers and experts and provide highly localised service and support. 

“If customers are having difficulties with their equipment and bearings, we’re here to help. Whether that’s about supplying the right bearing to their application, or questions about installation and best practices, we’re available around the clock.”