More than 10 years ago, one of Australia’s leading dairy producers made the switch from standard deep groove ball bearings to NSK Molded-Oil™ bearings after the advantages were pointed out to the producer’s plant engineer by a CBC sales representative on a site visit.

“CBC have been supplying goods to the producer for more than 25 years and have strong relationships with their manufacturing sites as well as their engineering department and site engineers,” says Leon Stefanec, National Business Development Manager for Food and Beverage. “The customer has always been open to learning of new products and technologies and interested in finding out where real benefits can be found by trialling and adopting new products from CBC.”

Leon says the producer faced an issue at its largest manufacturing site, in Victoria’s North, becoming frustrated at having to regularly change out standard 6000 series deep groove ball bearings because they were rusting, or having to replace sealed for life bearings due to water ingress resulting from regular high-pressure cleaning of the equipment.

“Dairies are a breeding ground for bacteria if not cleaned by way of high-pressure water cleaners and various caustic cleaning agents,” Leon says. “Equipment is usually cleaned every day, or regularly throughout the day – particularly if there are changes in the product being manufactured on the production line. Caustic solutions can degrade the rubber seals that are fitted to 6000 series and other bearings used in dairies, which can in turn cause the grease to be washed out of the bearing during the high-pressure cleaning process.”

The CBC sales representative suggested to the plant engineer that they try out NSK Molded-Oil™ bearings, with excellent results.

The NSK Molded-Oil™ bearings – available in standard bearing grade steel and stainless-steel options – offer high performance in water- and dust-contaminated environments. Among other standout features: 

• Molded-Oil bearings are lubricated with NSK’s own oil-impregnated material, Molded-Oil™

• Molded-Oil™ consists of lubricating oil and polyolefin resin that has an affinity for oil. Oil slowly seeping from this material provides ample lubrication to the bearing for extended periods. 

“In layman’s terms, the lubricant is captured within the bearing in a solid polyolefin resin, unlike conventional liquid oils or greases,” says Leon. “The lubricant slowly seeping from this resin material provides ample lubrication to the bearing for extended periods. The NSK Molded-Oil™ bearings are therefore perfect for use in dairies and wet environments, and where regular wash downs occur the rust prevention qualities of the stainless-steel option may be preferable to give extended working life.”

Leon says that the producer was excited to try out the NSK Molded-Oil™ bearings to extend the working life of their bearings and to reduce losses associated with having their maintenance teams constantly replacing existing deep groove ball bearings. 

“Unexpected failures of bearings can lead to even greater losses due to loss of production and equipment down time,” he says. “No wonder they were happy to try new bearings out!”

Modern dairies use high speed equipment – particularly in the wrapping and packaging processes – and NSK offers Molded-Oil™ bearings for both general use and high-speed use. This means that NSK Molded-Oil™ bearings can be used throughout an operation’s equipment and in many applications through the entire manufacturing process, according to Leon.

“Soon after trialling the Molded-Oil™ bearings it was evident to the producer and us that they were the answer – they worked wonderfully and outperformed the previous standard deep groove ball bearings the site had been using.” 

“The customer has been extremely happy with performance ever since and – working with the team at CBC – have now been able to extend the range and size of bearings used not only at their largest manufacturing site, but now to more than eight sites throughout the country.”