NSK's Asset Improvement program has produced savings of $29,250 in replacement bearing costs for a processor of fresh fish. The savings have been achieved by replacing the existing bearing inserts on fish processing lines with NSK's Silver-Lube series bearings. These are designed specially for use in industries where hygiene considerations and corrosion and chemical resistance are important.
The bearing problem on the fish processing line centred on a conveyor which was subject to frequent washdowns - at least two per day. These were damaging the conveyor bearings through ingress of water and contaminants. As a result, failures were being experienced every 6 months, resulting in lost production and increased maintenance expenditure. In total 60 bearings were failing over a 6 month period, each costing $325. Moreover, this figure was amplified by the cost of two fitters to replace the bearings; the replacment operation for each bearing taking 3 hours at a cost of $75 per hour. What this meant for the fish processor, in cost terms, was an expenditure of $46,500 every year on bearing replacement.
Clearly, this cost was unsustainable, so an iniative was launched with a view to sourcing higher performance bearings.As part of this iniative, engineers from NSK's Asset Improvement program (AIP) were called in to give advice. The engineers quickly identified the problem and suggested a solution using the Silver-Lube series of bearingsThese provide an effective application solution where hygiene considerations are inportant, or where replacement and maintenance costs need to be minimised within hostile corrosive environments.
The Silver-Lube bearings were installed and trials conducted over a 6-month period. At the end of this period, the NSK bearings were still performing 'as new'; performance that has resulted in Silver-Lube replacing all the existing bearings on the conveyor line.
To date, twelve months after the first Silver-Lube bearing was installed, none of the units has failed. However, working upon a factor of a least twice the life for the Silver-Lube bearings, compared to the previous units, the fish processor has calculated total savings in bearing replacement costs of $29,500 per year. This figure assumes the cost for the Silver-Lube units - including installation - is approximately $17,250 per year, which compares favourably with the previous yearly cost of bearing replacement of $46,500.