From wheat and barley to various pulses and oats, Australian grain farming spans across northern and southern cropping regions, utilising the country’s optimal rain patterns for diverse plantation year-round. Roughly 22 million hectares of domestic commercial grain crops are planted annually, and national exports account for 10 to 15 per cent of the world’s global wheat trade .

Established in Wagga Wagga in 1979, Grainline is a family owned and operated business, supplying the rural agricultural industry with mobile augers, rota doors and other grain harvesting equipment. Their in-house fabrication lends itself to the ongoing development of safety and flexibility features, as well as comprehensive quality control.

Grainline’s flagship 15” Bunker auger offers an efficient method of transferring grain into storage bunkers up to 35m wide with an unloading capacity of 340t per hour. Hydraulic remotes on a tractor are used to control the wheels and hopper ramps, which are designed in line with standard Australian grain storage facilities.

Russell Randal, National Account Manager for Agriculture at Motion Australia, recently collaborated with the Grainline team to upgrade the standard bearings on these augers to great success.

“Grainline approached us for a more reliable solution.  “The parts were situated in hard-to-reach places, up high and often fully submerged in grain, so they weren’t able to be lubricated frequently enough.”

“To combat this, we suggested a change-out to the NSK Molded-Oil™ bearings. These are a fully sealed unit, and are self-lubricating, so nobody has to manually pump grease into them at any time. Conversely, there are no complications due to over greasing, which can cause the seals to pop out or become damaged.”

The Molded-Oil™ bearings from NSK feature a solid lubrication element constructed from polyolefin resin. The slow release of oil from this part of the bearing mitiGates® the need for manual attention, ensuring longer service life and less scheduled downtime for maintenance. According to Bryce Langfield, Purchasing Manager at Grainline, the full-mold design of the NSK product was a necessary upgrade from the previous spot-molding application.

“Grain is probably one of the most abrasive materials in agricultural processing, and these machines are having to contend with water ingress as well,” he says. “This can take a huge toll on moving parts and wear things down a lot quicker. Russell told us how these bearings had been performing exceptionally well for the sugarcane industry up in Queensland, so we were eager to make the switch.”

“Another reason we opted for the Molded-Oil™ was the safety aspect. We needed to eliminate the need for workers to get up high and in precarious positions just to lubricate components, while also making sure they were serviced appropriately.”

The Molded-Oil™ series is available in spherical roller, deep groove ball, and tapered roller bearings. Optimal composition allows for high-speed operation and premium strength capacity for a broad range of industrial equipment. 

“Downtime has to be avoided at all costs when you’re racing against the harvest season,” Bryce furthers. “We have dedicated service teams who travel out to South Australia & up to Queensland to attend to any breakdowns, but we are hoping to significantly decrease these occurrences by opting for higher quality parts.”

An additional benefit of these bearings is their reduction of oil leakage and negative environmental impact. Not only do they require less consumable product over time, the seal ensures that high-pressure washdown cannot flush the lubricant into waterways or soil. Furthermore, the external surface treatment allows for the sooth,
low-torque rotation of rolling elements, and strenuous field testing guarantees long-term durability. 

“I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the Grainline site, and seeing this project come together,” Russell reflects. “We delivered a large portion of the bearings order upfront, and the rest are being air freighted to arrive as soon as possible. These machines are used to transfer grain all year round, so they are already being used in the field with no issues.”

“So long as they are successful through the harvest period, the NSK bearing will likely become standard specs for these machines. Every time a manufacturer like Grainline sells equipment, it sits out in the field with their name on it – we need to make sure that we supply parts in line with their standards of reliability, and the Molded-Oil™ solution delivers on that promise,” he concludes.