When the world’s largest beverage can manufacturer was experiencing regular, unexpected production stoppages due to the premature failure of spray-head bearings in its coating machines, the company turned to the expertise of NSK. Recommending NSK deep groove ball bearings featuring VV series non-contact seals helped the plant to eliminate failures and achieve impressive annual savings of €240,000.
The food and beverage industry is extremely demanding, not least because production line stoppages can prove expensive in all kinds of applications. Manufacturing aluminium cans for soft, isotonic, and alcoholic drinks is no exception, particularly when the company happens to be the world’s largest beverage can manufacturer.
Repeat failures of the spray-head spindle bearings in the factory’s can-coating machines was causing significant disruption to production and costly downtime on a high-volume production line. The company tasked NSK with resolving the issue.
Expert NSK engineers conducted a full evaluation of the application, including comprehensive bearing and grease analysis. From this activity it was possible to deduce that the bearings were seizing due to the ejection of bearing grease by high-pressure air needed for the process. Inadequate bearing seals were failing to prevent this unwanted effect.
As part of a complete value proposal, NSK recommended the adoption of its deep groove ball bearings with VV series non-contact seals and C3 internal clearance geometry. Offering high performance in contaminated environments, this innovative configuration seals effectively without increasing either torque or operating temperature. Notably, the non-contact lip design reduces bearing drag, an important advantage where power loss is critical.
The NSK solution resulted in excellent grease retention while still allowing high-pressure air flow through the bearing as part of the machine’s operating procedure. Most importantly of all, the can manufacturing plant witnessed a dramatic increase in bearing life: from 7 to 110 days of operation, after which routine maintenance took place. The customer is benefitting from extended bearing life, alongside increased productivity and reduced maintenance costs, resulting in annual savings of €240,000.