Australia is the tenth largest producer of raw sugar in the world with around 355,325 hectares of sugar cane fields—95 percent of which are in tropical North Queensland. Sugar exportation in Australia generates revenue to the tune of 2 billion dollars each year, making it an attractive industry for enterprising Australian food producers.
At the centre of production is BSC Cairns where Dion Tomasich is the Branch Manager. Dion’s career at BSC has spanned more than 30 years providing stellar service to the surrounding region. He offers customers unmatched expertise and profound knowledge of products and services that BSC provides to the sugar cane industry in Northern Queensland.
“We do a lot of work with the sugar industry up here with the farmers and we have a lot of contracts with the local sugar mills. We get to be part of the whole process of sugar production—all the way to when it’s transported for export,” says Dion.
Dion breaks down what a year looks like for the sugar cane industry.
“At the start of the year in January is when maintenance happens on all of the equipment for harvesting and processing,” he explains. “Sugar cane takes about 12 to 16 months to grow several metres tall, and it flowers between May and June, before being harvested for the remainder of the year during what’s called “crushing” season. Most of the cane is cut green at the base of the stalk and then moved by train to the mills for processing.”
It is at the start of the year during maintenance season that many customers turn to BSC for bearing solutions for their machines. “Most farmers like to be well ahead of the season and begin readying their equipment from January to March to be ready for the crush from June onwards,” he notes, thoughtfully.
“However, sugar cane harvesting can be quite dusty and dirty, and the juice of the cane is present during the crushing process which can stuff up bearings on equipment pretty quickly. Bearings on this type of equipment need a lot of extra protection.”
For these types of applications, Dion suggests a bearing that provides extra protection from the ingress of dust and cane juice like the NSK Triple Lip Wide Inner Ring bearing solution.
“The NSK Triple Lip WIR solution is definitely a cut above the rest because it’s got a better seal on it than average bearing,” he says. “A standard bearing will typically have a single sealing lip with a flinger, but these bearings have three contact sealing lips for contamination to get past which makes them good for dusty and dirty environments in our tropical climate. And these seals sit behind a galvanized steel plate which provides even further protection. When dust meets the cane sugar, it will turn into a paste and cause premature bearing failure.”
BSC Product Manager for Industrial Bearings, Tony Tormey, elaborates on how the NSK Triple Lip Wide Inner Ring bearings solution works for agricultural applications that are subject to harsher climates and harvesting conditions.
“The housing unit has a rubber nitrile seal that is bonded to an outer steel casing,” explains Tony. “This means the seal performance is much higher. Customers can expect about five time the service hours with the Triple Lip seal—a bearing may last 5000 hours on an application compared to about 1000 from a standard.”
The result is that maintenance hours are extended to last through the entire crushing season.
“NSK, BSC, and Motion Australia have a very longstanding relationship,” Tony concludes. “Both companies have worked with each other for decades which means we have good communication with our supplier and can provide better lead times on bearing solutions for customers in remote areas of Queensland.”
NSK Triple Wide Inner Ring
Features and Benefits:
• Galvanized steel plate ensures improved corrosion resistance. Optimal design contributes to enhanced pressure resistance
• Rubber seal is bonded to the whole length of the steel shield for better sealing performance
• Contact triple lip seal provides excellent dustproofing and waterproofing
• Secure balled setscrew locking mechanism
• Longer bearing life through superior seal performance
• Extended relubrication intervals
• Up to five times the maintenance hours of a standard bearing
• Ideal shaft support for rotating equipment
• Various housing options