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Bearings - 20/02/2022

Baby leaf harvester

Continuous high speeds, demanding hygiene standards and challenging operating conditions call for robust, reliable bearings that deliver cost-effective production at food and beverage plants. Any bearings deployed in these applications must reliably prevent the onset of corrosion, which is a common threat on production lines subject to harsh wash-down regimes.

Central to NSK’s product offer for the food and beverage industry is its RHP Silver-Lube® range of bearing units. These innovative bearings comprise a host of corrosion-resistant components, including inserts with high-grade stainless steel rings and balls, cage, flingers, and set screws. Furthermore, the inserts sit within a high-strength PBT thermoplastic housing featuring a stainless steel grease nipple.

Excellent protection against corrosion, chemicals and detergents ensures Silver-Lube® can endure challenging operating conditions at food plants around the world. A case in point is a facility that processes baby leaf products for sale to leading supermarkets. Here, the leaf harvester machine previously featured numerous low-cost mounted-unit bearings to support shafts of various diameters. Unfortunately, the machine was prone to ongoing failures due to the ingress of dirt and water into its bearings. The upshot was recurring production downtime and, on occasions, ruined crops.

NSK experts accepted an invitation to review the application and operating conditions. This appraisal process ultimately led to the replacement of the existing mounted units with Silver-Lube® featuring an innovative flinger seal arrangement and stainless steel bearings. During the subsequent harvesting season, just two bearing failures occurred, improving productivity and generating savings of €63,300 thanks to significantly lower production losses.

As this success story illustrates, Silver-Lube® bearing units are ideal for applications requiring frequent wash-downs, optimum hygiene standards and good chemical resistance over a broad temperature range.

As well as optimal protection against corrosion, Silver-Lube® offers durable and heat-resistant silicon rubber seals that protect against penetration by water or dirt, which is important to prevent the onset of defects and avoid washout of the bearing’s wide-temperature USDA H1 food-grade grease. Complementing the seal is the stainless steel flinger, which prevents the ingress of bacteria and helps the seal to resist impact damage.

Further Silver-Lube® advantages include: a paint-free resin housing to eliminate any risk of chipping or flaking; a smooth finish to prevent dirt adhesion; a cavity-free design to avoid ‘bug traps’ that might harbour bacteria or mould; suitability for working temperatures from -20 to +90°C; long service life; and low cost of ownership. Silver-Lube® is also NSF-approved, meeting strict standards for public health protection.

Another noteworthy attribute is the ability of Silver-Lube® bearings units to accommodate any initial misalignment from mounting errors, making them ideal for use in food and beverage plant machinery such as shakers, fillers, centrifugal separators, bottling machines and conveyors.

Silver-Lube® bearings units are available in pillow block, two-bolt flange, four-bolt flange and take-up unit configurations. 


Picture 1): The baby leaf harvester features numerous bearing units to support shafts of various diameters

NSK Silver-Lube® bearings units

Picture 2): Excellent protection against corrosion, chemicals and detergents makes Silver-Lube® highly attractive to food plants 

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