Cost-savings for food processors and manufacturers

04 June 2009

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Cost-savings for food processors and manufacturersNSK has developed a Cost Saving Programme that is designed to deliver real benefits to the operating costs, efficiency and profitability of food processors and manufacturers. The value of the cost-saving programme has been evidenced by an initial example where NSK delivered savings of over £24,000 per annum for a confectionery manufacturer on the operation of just one conveyor line.

NSK's Cost Saving programme is designed for end user bearing customers in the food industry who are seeking a value-added service that actually helps them to reduce operating costs and 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.

The programme is simple to implement, and is broken down into stages in order for people to understand it easily. This makes it logical for end users to buy into and understand the process; and it shows them how NSK can add value to their businesses. The process often starts with a detailed site survey. NSK engineers visit the customer's premises, talk to them, understand what their difficulty is - and then work out what NSK can do to support them. As part of the Cost Saving Programme, all aspects of a company's operations - including systems, stock, specific problem applications, lubrication and even training issues - are audited. A lot of the time is spent questioning, understanding and listening; this is crucially important because if this stage is not right, then anything that follows will not work.

An analysis of the data acquired is then performed and this leads to recommendations for improvements. In practice, these recommendations could relate to training - about how to examine or look after bearings; how to spot failure modes; and how to handle bearings correctly - as this is one of the biggest causes of premature failure. In addition, NSK might need to look at the lubrication of bearings or recommend part substitution for a bearing that would work more effectively. The overall aim is to get to a stage where NSK can document the value that it has delivered, by proving how much money has been saved as a result of adopting a Cost Saving measure. This provides management with firm figures that give them reassurance that they have saved money and improved profitability by working with NSK.

Savings of £24,640 per annum

The value of NSK's Cost Saving Programme is evidenced by an early application where a confectionery manufacturer was experiencing short bearing life on a conveyor line carrying boiled sweets. The installed bearing units were lasting just three months due to ingress of water and sugar on wash down; these failures were resulting in costly downtime.

NSK recommended changing the existing bearings for its Molded-Oil ball bearings, providing over one-year life compared to the current units. This change was implemented on the conveyor line and downtime was reduced dramatically. As a result, planned maintenance and any bearing replacement can now be carried out during the yearly shutdown period.

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