The recent coronavirus pandemic has once again brought to light the need for a resilient waste management sector that can facilitate the move towards a circular economy.

The Australian Council of Recycling estimates that Australian households have thrown out as much as 10 per cent more rubbish and recyclables via kerbside bins in March and April, amid a spike in supermarket shopping and home deliveries during the COVID-19 lockdown1.

With the recycling plants pushed to work at full capacity to meet this increased demand, interruptions from component failures or frequent maintenance are productivity losses that they can ill afford.

Bearings are among the most frequently used components in any industrial plant that have a great impact on the maintenance costs and operational downtimes. That is why CBC Australia’s Product Manager for Industrial Bearings, Tony Tormey recommends using bearings with higher load ratings that can withstand increased or shock loads without budging.

According to Tormey, the X-life bearing series from Schaeffler’s FAG brand offer higher load carrying capacities for the same bearing size and rating.

“This means that by using a FAG X-life bearing, you can either downsize to a smaller bearing to save space and reduce weight in your application, or you can keep the same bearing size but get an improved reliability and extended bearing life,” he says.

Schaeffler Application Engineer, Owen Clifford, says a combination of optimised design and advanced manufacturing techniques are responsible for the higher capacity in the X-life bearings.

“The FAG X-life bearings are the premium bearing products manufactured by Schaeffler that offer optimised internal constructions. This includes an additional honing process that helps reduce roughness peaks in the surface finish. The reduction in these peaks reduces  stresses in the bearing while maintaining lubrication condition,” he explains.

“The FAG X-life bearings also feature modified cage designs that help improve rolling kinematics in operation. The X-life cylindrical roller bearings feature a modified roller end profile design reduces edge stresses.  X-life full complement cylindrical roller bearings feature increased axial load capacity as result of optimized roller to rib contact geometry. Adding to all of these are improvements in the heat treatment process which further increase the material strength,” he adds.

Clifford says as a result of these improvements, bearings in the FAG X-life series offer 20 to 25 per cent longer bearing life than non-X-life bearing of the same class and size.

“In recycling operations, it’s not always possible to monitor the exact weight of the material being dumped on the conveyors. Having bearings with a reserve load bearing capacity ensures that they can tolerate the additional or shock loads without failing,” he explains.

Another advantage of the FAG X-life bearings, Clifford says, is the increased accuracy class.

“FAG X-life bearings are manufactured to higher accuracy than non-X-Life bearings. Their dimensions sit within a closer tolerance range so that there’s less variance in say, radial runout or deviation of bore and outer diameter. This means for example that if the shaft is machined to tolerance to achieve desired fit, there’s even less chance of the bearing not fitting correctly and causing problems,” he explains.

For recycling processes that involve the use of water washdowns, Clifford says Schaeffler offers a number of corrosion protection solutions, including sealing arrangements and corrosion protection coatings.

“Schaeffler’s Corrotect® corrosion protection system uses a thin coating of zinc alloy to protect the bearing from oxidation. This coating provides a lower priced alternative to using stainless steel bearings which also feature lower load capacities and thus shorter bearing life than a Corrotect® coated bearing. The FAG black series radial insert ball bearings are another Schaeffler product that offer superior corrosion protection,” says Clifford.

Clifford also mentioned Schaeffler’s HRS seals for the FAG Generation-C deep groove ball bearings. “The HRS seal is an axial contact lip seal that runs on the inner ring of the ball bearing and provides better exclusion for the bearing against water contamination compared to traditional radial lip seals,” he adds.

According to Tormey, the CBC and Schaeffler technical and sales teams are available 24/7 to offer advice to customers on the best bearing for their applications.

“Problem solving is a big part of our job at CBC and we work closely with Schaeffler’s technical team to bring the best solutions to customers. These might be through conducting site surveys or store surveys, plant mapping or on-site training. Whatever the requirements, we are there to support the customers solve their issues,” he concludes.



  1. Australian Council of Recycling media release on April 28, 2020