As one of the world’s largest exporters of grain, Australia is expected to produce at least 36.3 million tonnes of wheat product for exporting by November this year, according to Bloomberg Markets. The robust forecast follows another bumper harvest season of favourable growth, rain, and climate conditions. 

As a result, Australian wheat producers and grain processing facilities are facing greater pressure than ever before to keep production running seamlessly, as prime grain harvesting season draws nearer during the spring, according to Tony Tormey, Category Manager for Industrial Bearings at Motion Australia. 

“During peak grain harvesting season, there is an optimal window of time to move grain from the field for processing and the industry becomes extremely competitive. Grain depots will have lines of trucks waiting to drop off hauls, before they immediately head back to collect more product,” says Tony. 

In particular, bearing failure in the field or on the production line is a common concern among grain harvesters and processing facilities, he adds.

“Leading up to the harvest season, farmers work overtime to ensure their equipment is fitted with the right parts, ensuring all bearings and components are performance-ready to last the entire cycle,” he says.

“Because when the harvest is on, sites run around the clock, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And any ill-fitting or weak bearing can cause a domino effect across an operation, halting harvest progress, and slowing down production for hours at a time. Ultimately, these disruptions incur huge losses for businesses.”  

Grain handling applications tend to accumulate layers of dust and dirt before getting hit with water that can settle into a thick paste and compromise a bearing. Consequently, bearings on grain handling equipment require a lot of extra protection, and most standard bearings only have a single seal and a flinger that just doesn’t make the cut on these types of applications. 

When it comes to selecting the right component for grain handling applications, Tony recommends the NSK Triple Lip Sealed bearings to many harvesting customers who require a reliable and effective solution.

“NSK is the preferred brand for many of our customers in regional Australia because they have a solid reputation across agricultural applications,” says Tony. 

“The NSK Triple Lip Sealed bearings have a one-piece moulded nitrile seal with three sealing lips. Bonded to a protective outer pressed steel shield, the Triple Lip Seal makes for a highly efficient sealing design,” he enthuses. “Their unique sealing arrangement provides three-stages of sealed protection which offers superior performance against ingress of contaminants.” 

Being fitted with the NSK Triple Lip Sealed bearings, grain handling equipment can last an entire season and beyond, without requiring any extensive maintenance or bearing replacements. 

“Harvesters can expect about five times the standard service life on equipment using the NSK Triple Lip Sealed bearings. More precisely, one of these bearings may last 5,000 hours on an application, compared to about 1,000 from a standard,” highlights Tony.  

In recent years, Australian wheat production has helped ease global grain shortages caused by the pandemic, coupled with the conflict between Russia and Ukraine – countries who usually hold share of about 25 percent of the world’s wheat export supply. 

Despite being a remote island nation, Australia accounts for 10-15 per cent of the global grain supply and Motion Australia plays an important role in supporting the domestic wheat production industry in its success, according to Tony. 

“We work hard during grain harvesting season to keep across stock levels for our bestselling agriculture products, and ready our supply network for any emergency repairs or incidental downtime on grain harvesting operations,” he concludes. 

“Not only are global supply demands at stake, but we also must remain cognisant that any downtime on equipment can mean critical losses to crops, production, and profits for Australian farmers. This is their livelihood as much as it is ours and we share that burden of responsibility with our customers.”   

NSK Triple Wide Inner Ring 

Features and Benefits:
 • Nitrile rubber triple lip bonded to protective pressed steel shield 

• Provides three layers of protection against contamination and corrosion

• Simple implementation; ready replacement for existing bearing units

• Inserts interchangeable with standard items

• Available with setscrew and eccentric locking collar insert options

• Longer bearing life through superior seal performance

• Extended relubrication intervals

• Mounting on the shaft with ball setscrew, providing much greater resistance to loosening

• Up to five times the maintenance hours of a standard bearing

• Ideal shaft support for rotating equipment

• Various housing options