In this article

Cleanliness vs Reliability. Are there ever any winners?

Hygiene-conscious industries, such as food and beverage and pharmaceutical, demand cleanliness above all. But like all other industries, they also demand reliable machinery. And cleanliness vs reliability often comes down to washdowns vs bearings. How can you make sure there are no losers, only winners?

Female Worker Washing Tank at Cheese and Dairy Factory
Female Worker Washing Tank at Cheese and Dairy Factory

Washdown water and cleaning chemicals can penetrate the seals of poorly specified bearings, causing washout of grease and the onset of corrosion. The consequence is unexpectedly short service life, leading to maintenance, repairs and downtime, and all their associated costs. So carefully considered bearing selection is paramount.

Key factors to consider are not only compliance with rigorous hygiene requirements, and high reliability, but also continuous, maintenance-free operation at high speeds. Some bearings also have to withstand extreme heat – from operations such as dehydration, frying, roasting or baking – or excessive cold from refrigeration or freezer applications.

NSK has a range of bearings available from ERIKS, conceived with specially selected materials, seals and lubricants. These robust bearings – made of corrosion-resistant stainless steel and lubricated for life – take extreme conditions in their stride to provide cost-effective production.

Silver lining

Central to NSK’s offering for hygiene-conscious industries is its Silver-Lube® range.

These innovative bearing units incorporate a host of corrosion-resistant components, including inserts with high-grade stainless steel rings, balls, cage, flingers and set screws. Each insert also sits inside a high-strength PBT thermoplastic housing.


As well as offering effective protection against corrosion, Silver-Lube® bearing units also feature durable and heat-resistant silicon rubber seals, which protect against penetration by water or dirt. This prevents the onset of defects, and avoids washout of the bearing’s USDA H1 food-grade grease.

Other advantages of Silver-Lube® include a paint-free resin housing to eliminate any risk of chipping or flaking; a smooth finish to prevent dirt adhesion; a cavity-free design to avoid ‘bug traps’ that might harbour bacteria or mould; and suitability for working temperatures from -20 to +90°C.

Silver-Lube® helps gold top

A market-leading milk processing and bottling plant is just one of the increasing number of operations benefitting from Silver-Lube®.

The plant had been experiencing repeat bearing failures on each of its five conveyor lines. As a result, the conveyor bearings were being changed approximately every sixteen weeks – with associated high maintenance costs and expensive machine downtime. An NSK investigation revealed that the cause of the failures was water was entering the bearings during wash-down.

A trial of Silver-Lube® bearings with food grade grease resulted in an immediate improvement, and a significant extension of bearing life to over five years. The plant realised savings of nearly £7,000 through the elimination of downtime, as well as reductions in replacement bearing costs and engineering labour.

Longer Life-Lube®

Life-Lube® bearing units are another NSK hygiene-related product innovation available from ERIKS.

These advanced bearings combine the corrosion-resistant properties of Silver-Lube® housings with the sealing and lubricating properties of Molded-Oil inserts.

Molded-Oil™ is a solid lubricant produced from a proprietary oil-impregnated polymer, which completely fills the bearing cavity. In operation, the carrier matrix slowly releases oil to lubricate the bearing running surfaces, while at the same time acting as a barrier to prevent ingress of contamination such as water and particulates.

Because the lubricant can’t be washed away, it can’t enter other areas of the machine where it could potentially come into contact with food-stuffs. Molded-Oil™ inserts are also maintenance free, needing no re-lubrication.

In demanding applications where longer lubricating life, greater resistance to leakage or lower risk of contamination are important requirements, NSK’s Molded-Oil bearing insert series is often the first choice of ERIKS’ customers.

Top of the food chain

Both Silver-Lube and Life-Lube are ideal solutions for any business wanting to avoid costly change-outs for bearings designed to handle corrosion, thermal expansion and harsh chemicals.

NSK’s solutions for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical sectors meet all these criteria, as well as offering enhanced reliability and longer service life: placing NSK bearings at the top of the industry food chain.

And it’s not just the bearings which provide ideal solutions for customers.

Together with the extensive, sector-specific NSK product range, engineering plays a key role. NSK and ERIKS can work closely together with customers, to analyse potential weak points in the customer’s production process, measure and monitor efficiency and – where necessary – propose alternative solutions.

So the customer always wins.

For more information on Bearing Solutions and to get in touch with one of our ERIKS Specialists, please contact your local ERIKS Service Centre, who will be happy to discuss your options.

#NSK #ERIKS #LetsMakeIndustryWorkBetter #Bearings #FoodAndBeverage #Pharmacetuical

How to Contact ERIKS

Get in Touch

Looking for a custom Product quote? Need an answer to a Technical question? Looking for Careers/HR support? Want to work with us? Interested in our Digital Trading solutions? Have a finance question? Send us your enquiry and a member of the ERIKS team will be with you quickly.

How are we doing?

We strive to deliver exceptional quality service and products. As part of this goal, we encourage customers to submit feedback on their experiences so we can resolve any issues and concerns.

Chat, call or find your local Branch

At ERIKS we strive to deliver the best quality service and products. As part of this goal we encourage customers to submit feedback on their experiences so we can resolve any issues and concerns.

Call us: +441215086000 

leslie shields