Examples of extreme applications
Extreme Bearings are the go-to choice for applications where traditional bearings quickly become worn down by heavy loads, rust, soiling, dust, chemicals and the penetration of water. Extreme Bearings are designed for tough and wet corrosive environments involving heavy loads such as on conveyors, wash drums and graders in vegetable and seafood processing factories.
Thanks to the excellent seals, Extreme Bearings are also very suitable for dry places where there is a lot of dust in combination with heavy loads such as in the sorting equipment, conveyors and crushers used in mining. Extreme Bearings were first used in the mussel industry in 2013. Every year new niche applications are being discovered
in other industries like the recent example featured here from a waste incineration facility in Germany. If you don’t see your particular application given in the examples featured, talk to us about the challenges you are facing and we can probably help.
For extreme heat or cold
Available for temperatures up to 270°C or down to -80°C
Suitable for expansion and contraction of the shaft
Low friction in the case of angular misalignment
For heavy loads
Up to 5 times higher load capacity than conventional
For combined radial and thrust loads
Low friction in the case of angular misalignment
For high hygiene
Stainless steel grade 316
Can be washed down with high-pressure jets and aggressive chemicals
Easy-to-clean smooth surfaces
Made of solid material, so no crevices or spaces for the build-up of dirt
Choose from a range of lubricants including food-grade grease
For wet environments
Designed for washdown with high-pressure cleaning
AISI 316 has a very high resistance to seawater
Bearing cover is sealed with an O-ring
Can be submerged up to 40 metres deep
For corrosive chemicals
Extreme Bearing units are resistant to almost all chemicals
The bearing housing is made of high-grade AISI 316 stainless steel
PTFE bearing seals are recommended. See link: PTFE
High payload plus high temperatures
Interestingly, the shaft in this application is rotating at a slow speed of 1.5 to 2 rpm so a huge amount of torque is generated in the shaft and bearing, giving a high payload that can destroy a normal bearing. The Extreme Bearing is built to withstand this huge payload plus the high temperatures.
The seals and silicone grease keep both water and dirt away from the spherical roller bearings so they go on operating. “If water or debris were to get inside, the game would be over,” says Martin Metterhausen.
Submerged in boiling water with hot ashes
You don’t get much more extreme conditions than this. The bearing is submerged in boiling hot water while hot ash and embers are floating around in the water. All it would take to ruin a normal bearing is for some of the water to get inside or for hot ash to come into contact with the seal on the outside and destroy it. We know this because all normal bearings that the company Stamag in Landsberg, Germany, had tried for this application had failed sooner or later. Stamag supplies bearings and other parts for large incinerators burning waste. A common design feature of these German incinerators is to let the glowing embers and ashes fall into a tank of water below and be extinguished underwater. The ash is then transported up and out of the water on a conveyor belt into a skip for disposal. Part of this conveyor belt can be seen in the right of the picture and the large links of the chain operating the conveyor are also shown to the right.
Stamag approached Martin Metterhausen of Wälz- und Gelenklager Lüneburg in Germany who is an agent and distributor for Extreme Bearing. “We don’t sell bearings, we sell solutions,” says Martin Metterhausen, managing director. With the help of the inventor of the Extreme Bearing, Jaap Meeuwsen, they came up with a customized bearing for Stamag for this extreme application.
The solution they designed is called by its full name: EXT 80 CL C3 20 where 80 stands for the diameter of the shaft in centimetres. The CL seal with PTFE lips is pressed into the adapter sleeve and leaves a tiny gap of only 0.02 mm so no debris can penetrate through and reach the bearing, which becomes completely enclosed. A silicone grease was chosen as the most durable lubricant for the extreme temperatures of this application.
Maintenance-free for at least 10 years
Martin Metterhausen believes this specially designed Extreme Bearing will be working and completely maintenance-free for at least 10 years if not more. Normal bearings usually failed within weeks or months and there was usually no warning sound of any malfunction because they were underwater. When they failed, the tank needed to be drained and the shaft was usually damaged and needed replacement. This requires many hours of unplanned downtime that stop the normal operations of the incinerator.
“We work in harsh environments and therefore we use Extreme Bearings”
For example, the Asco Viking Harvester barge has 68 bearings, all of which play an important role. The seaweed harvester has two conveyor belts, one of which is constantly submerged. There is also a special machine that needs to hold a sack weighing up to 2 tonnes when full. A total of 8 bearings are used to ensure that this machine runs smoothly.
Bearings on such machines and the conveyors need to withstand a great deal of stress, impact, seawater, sunlight, frost and heat. We use organic grease to lubricate the bearings about once a week. They retain grease well and we find this amount of lubrication is sufficient.
We started using Extreme Bearings in 2016. We had previously installed bearings with plastic housings from another manufacturer but replaced them all in 2017.
Our experience is very good with all the Extreme Bearings we have used. We have not had to replace any of them and do not see the need to do this for the next few years. In our designs, we think the main advantages of Extreme Bearings are strength, durability, good design, many types to choose from and easy ordering.
We have been working on the design of new equipment for the last two years and have just built the Sigri 9057, which is a barge specially built for seaweed harvesting. Great interest in our harvesting machines has come from many countries such as Norway, Mexico, Canada and the US.”
Ómar Arndal Kristjánsson
Manager at Asco Harvester since 2016
Avoid downtime at car washes, save on spare parts
Imagine the scene: it is a hot summer day on a Sunday morning and a long queue of cars is waiting to enter their local car wash to get their cars sparkling clean. Suddenly the automatic car wash system breaks down due to a faulty bearing that has become ruined by the penetration of dirt and water. The owners of the car wash station may not be able to get service staff to fix the machine on a Sunday. Meanwhile, their car wash business is losing revenue while their customers are driving away disappointed.
This may be a familiar scenario because of the extreme conditions in a car wash and the use of bearings not fit for purpose.
“Normal bearings usually need to be replaced on an automatic car wash conveyor every 3-6 months. But with an Extreme Bearing, we believe no maintenance of the bearing will be needed for 8-10 years,” claims Martin Metterhausen, managing director of Wälz- und Gelenklager Lüneburg in Germany, an agent and distributor for Extreme Bearing.
A German company has become the first to offer customers the option of fitting Extreme Bearings onto a car wash system.
Extreme Bearings with a diameter of 60 mm were first tested on their conveyor system for 12 months with excellent results and no maintenance needed. Now the company is recommending all its customers to buy car wash systems fitted with Extreme Bearings.
A total of four bearings are located on the conveyor on two shafts that move a car slowly through the car wash tunnel. These bearings are right in the firing line for water, detergents and dirt that run off from dripping wet cars. In winter, the run-off water can also include salt spread on roads. Nevertheless, the cap and seal on the Extreme Bearing keep the dirt and water out giving the bearing an extremely long life.
So far the bearings have been tested in the conveyor equipment pushing the wheels of the car at ground level. However, in future, the bearings could also be used for the machines operating the brushes.
“The car wash industry is a completely new market for Extreme Bearings but one with great potential,” believes Michael Sigl who works closely with Martin Mettehausen and has been responsible for sales to car wash manufacturers in Germany through his company IMS Forgings. “It’s time for car wash companies to try a better bearing solution for their customers,” he comments.
Extreme Bearings take the strain
Used on high-speed shrimp peeling line
In a shrimp peeling machine used at a factory run by International Shellfish in the Dutch town of Yerseke, the drums are only 1 inch in diameter. The length of the shafts is 3 metres and the shafts are rolling extremely fast. This means the drums have a tendency to bend and normal bearings cannot cope well with the high speeds and extreme axial displacement.
In addition, the conditions are corrosive with the presence of saltwater and the use of caustic chemicals for cleaning. Only one bearing was considered good enough for this application: the Extreme Bearing. The Extreme Bearing selected absorbs misalignment without generating force in the bearing. This ensures a long bearing working life.
Peat and roots don’t stop an Extreme Bearing
An engineering company in Mechelen in Belgium was designing equipment for the automatic handling of vegetables such as lettuces in greenhouses.
The company wanted bearings that were out of the ordinary due to the difficult dirty conditions on the conveyor belt with wet peat and roots. Normal bearings would soon become clogged up and inoperative.
It took two years of thorough testing before the company decided on the best bearing for this application: finally in January 2016, they chose the 1-inch diameter Extreme Bearing for their new equipment.
An acid-proof bearing – here’s the proof!
Extreme Bearings have been installed in the machinery used for pickling mussels at the Prins & Dingemanse factory in Yerseke, the Netherlands.
As shown here, the bearings are placed right above a bath of concentrated acid. The fumes are extremely strong and are enough to corrode a normal bearing. However, the Extreme Bearing has been in operation so far for 24 months at this factory without any problems.
The Extreme Bearing with a housing made of 316 grade stainless steel has an excellent seal that keeps out the acidic vapours and protects the bearing from corrosion.
Robust bearings in pet food factory
The bearings for this application were ordered by an engineering company who were commissioned to design a pet food plant in the Netherlands.
They had read about Extreme Bearings online and decided that this was the bearing they were looking for. Meat and other moist ingredients such as fat could easily drip down from the conveyor onto the bearings so a robust, durable bearing was needed.
Extreme Bearings cut downtime in fish factory
The Extreme Bearing with its stainless steel housing was tested by a salmon and trout producer in northern Norway. Their fish factory was able to significantly extend the lifetime of the bearings on one of the machines on their line and they experienced a significant reduction in downtime. Their previous type of bearings had a high failure rate causing the need for frequent maintenance. High-pressure cleaning takes place at up to 30 bar so a bearing needs to be specially designed to be able to resist the penetration of water and chemicals. Extreme Bearings are highly resistant to the harsh industrial chemicals used for cleaning on fish processing lines.
Food on the move
Extreme Bearings are, as the name implies, designed for use in harsh environments where relatively cheaper alternatives soon fail. These kinds of environments can be found in the food industry.
Cleaning with a high-pressure jet and aggressive chemicals
Heavy conveyor belts for fruit and vegetables
Places where the metal is attacked by fruit juices
Fruit and vegetables are washed and sorted with the aid of water
Common problems such as damaged or cracked inner rings and malfunction of the bearing housing are prevented by Extreme Bearings.
The AISI 316 stainless steel housing provides resistance to corrosion. The application of special seals and the filling of grease contribute to a perfectly sealed housing.
Ideal in inaccessible places
Extreme Bearings provide a long working lifetime for applications in difficult- to-reach places where maintenance needs to be reduced to a minimum. This could be high places or deep under water.
No downtime despite cracked shells and seawater
In the Dutch seaside town of Yerseke, mussels are a big industry. The photo shows the start of a conveyor belt carrying mussels at the Prins & Dingemanse factory in Yerseke, the Netherlands. An Extreme Bearing has been fitted on the belt and is clearly visible with its blue end cover. As can be seen, the Extreme Bearing is surrounded by fragments of broken shells while salt water is running down from the conveyor.
Despite these tough conditions, when the end cover was removed after one year of operation and the bearing was inspected, there were no signs of contamination or wear. The end cover was put back on and the mussel line could continue working without interruption.