NSK’s cost-saving asset improvement programme (AIP) is saving a major German car manufacturer EUR8950 annually, as a result of reducing the number of replacement bearings required in the twice-yearly servicing of an annealing oven by 90 per cent.
The annealing oven required servicing twice per year because of the large-scale failure of rolling bearings: the number replaced fluctuating between 200 and 350 units. In addition, the need for continuous bearing replacements also increased the demand for assembly of spare parts and installation time. With the combined costs for the problem running at EUR9,600 annually, NSK was requested to analyse the application and formulate a solution.
Engineers from NSK visited the vehicle manufacturer as part of the former’s asset improvement programme, which is designed to deliver real benefits to the operating costs, efficiency and profitability of manufacturing facilities in all market sectors.
NSK’s AIP programme has been developed for end-user bearing customers that are looking for more than just product supply. Rather, they are looking for a value-added service that actually helps them to reduce operating costs, improve efficiency and profitability. These objectives are achieved by delivering tangible savings to assets, such as equipment and machinery, and also by improving the working knowledge of maintenance and engineering personnel.
After analysing the failed bearings, the NSK engineers found that the existing seals and grease lubricant were unsuitable for the high temperatures experienced by bearings in the annealing furnace. In order to overcome this problem, NSK suggested a customer-specific design of a double row ball bearing with special seals capable of operating at higher temperatures. With this approach, costing just EUR650 per year, the quantity of bearings replaced in the oven during normal servicing has been reduced by 90 per cent, saving the car manufacturer EUR8950 annually on the maintenance budget.
For more information about NSK bearings and the asset improvement programme (AIP), please visit the website at www.nskeurope.com/.