Mood, Press, News

Bearings - 16/04/2023

Steel wire manufacturer

NSK’s assistance proved vital to a company experiencing repeat failures of bearings fitted to the roller assemblies of its steel wire drawing machinery. Thanks to the intervention of NSK, which identified the problem and recommended the optimal solution, the customer is witnessing costs savings in excess of €1.2 million a year.

The bearing failures were leading to excessive downtime of around 75 stoppages a month, along with high maintenance costs, causing critical concern for the company’s management team. An urgent and robustly engineered resolution became a clear priority, which is why the steel wire manufacturer turned to NSK and its team of highly trained bearing experts.

As part of a thorough failed bearing analysis and application review, NSK engineers identified a problem with the lubrication and sealing of the company’s incumbent bearings. In particular, a lubrication analysis showed that the existing grease was graphite-based, which was not suitable for the application. Compounding the issue was a continuous steel wire-drawing process with high loads and arduous operating conditions.

Relief arrived in the form of a new bearing and lubrication package recommended by NSK. As part of a value proposition, the solution consisted of an NSK sealed double row cylindrical roller bearing together with specially selected lithium grease.

NSK's full complement cylindrical roller bearings feature high-performance contact seals that prevent the ingress of contaminants or water. Further features include inner and outer ring re-lubrication holes for ease of maintenance, and a highly corrosion-resistant phosphate coating for use in external environments (if required). Pre-lubricated with lithium grease, the sealed units offer a high load rating for increased radial and axial capability.

With the potential solution identified, the next task was to put the new bearing/grease combination through its paces via a comprehensive trial process. The result was highly positive, showing a 40% improvement in bearing life, which in turn led to large improvements in productivity and reduced maintenance costs. In fact, the reductions in lost production time and man hours, alongside the elimination of previously required technical support and engineering time, are delivering substantial annual savings calculated at €1,202,455.

The customer has since converted all of the roll assemblies on its wire-drawing machinery over to NSK’s proposed bearing/grease combination.


Picture 1): The steel wire manufacturer was enduring around 75 stoppages a month on average. Photo: Copyright (c) 2022 Photography Germany/Shutterstock


NSK’s full complement cylindrical roller bearings are pre-lubricated with lithium grease.

Picture 2):  NSK’s full complement cylindrical roller bearings are pre-lubricated with lithium grease. Photo: NSK

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