NSK Silver-Lube bearings withstand wash-down fluids on bottling line conveyor

Repeated bearing failures on conveyor lines resolved by NSK solution, with significant lifetime extension

In operations where contact with process fluid is unavoidable, poorly specified bearings that fail prematurely can prove costly in maintenance labour and production downtime. For this reason, increasing numbers of food and beverage plants are turning to the beneficial attributes of NSK’s Silver-Lube bearing units. “Silver-Lube provides optimal protection against the ingress of wash-down water and detergent, while simultaneously ensuring corrosion resistance,” says NSK.

Among those testifying to the advantages of Silver-Lube is a market-leading milk processing and bottling plant. The facility was experiencing repeated bearing failures on five conveyor lines, where the company was changing bearings approximately every 16 weeks. With every replacement taking approximately one hour to complete, the plant invited NSK’s team of experts to recommend a solution.

Silver-Lube housed bearing units recommended

As part of its AIP Added Value Programme, NSK’s specialist engineers analysed the failed bearings, concluding that the ingress of water during the wash-down process was causing internal corrosion and premature failures. Further review of the application and operating conditions led the NSK team to recommend its proven Silver-Lube housed bearing units.

The plant commenced a trial of Silver-Lube bearings, featuring food-grade grease on one of its bottling line conveyors, a solution that resulted in an immediate improvement and significant lifetime extension.

Silver-Lube features durable and heat-resistant silicon rubber seals that protect against fluid penetration and prevent washout of the lubricating grease. Complementing the seal is a stainless-steel flinger, which prevents the ingress of bacteria and helps the seal to resist impact damage. Silver-Lube bearings also comprise numerous corrosion-resistant components, including inserts with high-grade stainless-steel rings and balls, cage, flingers and set screws. Furthermore, the bearing insert sits within a high-strength PBT thermoplastic housing featuring a stainless-steel grease nipple.

Silver-Lube solution reaps annual savings of €7,625

After the initial trial, the plant implemented Silver-Lube housed bearing units on all five of its milk bottle conveyor systems. The result: a reduction in machine downtime, maintenance labour and replacement bearings costs, leading to annual savings of €7,625. Indeed, no failures of Silver-Lube bearings occurred for more than five years.

Importantly, Silver-Lube bearings units can accommodate initial misalignment from mounting errors, making them ideal for bottling machines and conveyors used by the food and beverage industry. Additional attributes include: a paint-free resin housing to eliminate any risk of chipping or flaking; a cavity-free design to avoid ‘bug traps’ that might harbour bacteria or mould; a smooth finish to prevent dirt adhesion; and suitability for working temperatures from -20 to +90°C.

The milk bottling plant was enduring conveyor bearing failures every 16 weeks on average. (Photo: 279photo Studio/Shutterstock)
The milk bottling plant was enduring conveyor bearing failures every 16 weeks on average. (Photo: 279photo Studio/Shutterstock)
The high sealing performance and corrosion protection provided by NSK Silver-Lube housed bearing units have extended service life to more than five years. (Photo: NSK)
The high sealing performance and corrosion protection provided by NSK Silver-Lube housed bearing units have extended service life to more than five years. (Photo: NSK)


European Bearings Business Unit
Northern Road
NG24 2JF

+44 (0)1636 605123



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