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How to avoid hidden costs by using precision bearings

Writer: Eric Bearing Limited

As industrial companies are looking to save costs across their system and plants, one of the most important actions a manufacturer can take is to consider the total cost of ownership (TCO) of its components. In this article, Allen Dowers, VP Sales & Applications Engineering at The Barden Corporation explains how this calculation ensures engineers can avoid hidden costs and operate as economically as possible.

TCO is a well-established calculation that, in today’s economic climate, is more significant than ever before. This accounting method assesses the whole value of a component or solution, weighing up its initial purchase cost versus its overall running and lifecycle cost.

A lower value component may seem more attractive initially, but it can give a false sense of economy as it may require more frequent maintenance, and these associated costs can quickly add up. On the other hand, higher value components are likely to be of higher quality, more reliable and therefore have lower running costs, resulting in a lower overall TCO. NSK 607ZZC3 bearings online , pls click here :

TCO can be heavily influenced by the design of the component of sub-assembly, even if that component represents only a small fraction of the total cost of a machine or system. One component that can have a significant positive impact on TCO is bearings. Today’s high technology bearings offer many improved features that enable reductions in TCO to be achieved, providing benefits to both OEMs and end users – despite an overall higher bearing price.

The whole life cost is made up from initial purchase price, installation costs, energy costs, operation costs, maintenance costs (routine and planned), downtime costs, environmental costs and disposal costs. Considering each of these in turn goes a long way to reducing TCO.

Engaging with the supplier

Arguably the most important factor for minimising TCO is involving suppliers from the outset of a project. When specifying components, such as bearings, it is vital to engage with the component manufacturer at the beginning of design process to ensure the part is fit for purpose and will operate with minimal losses and provide a low total cost of ownership without hidden costs.

Low losses

Friction torque and frictional losses are a major contributor to system efficiency. Bearings that exhibit wear, excess noise and vibration, will be inefficient and consume more energy to run.

One way to use power efficiently and reduce energy costs is to consider low-wear and low-friction bearings. These bearings can be designed to reduce friction by up to 80%, with low friction greases seals and special cages.

There are also some advanced features which add further value over the life of a bearing system. For example, super-finished raceways improve bearing lubrication film generation, and anti-rotation features prevent bearing rotation in applications with rapid changes in speed and direction.

Including bearing systems that require less power to drive, will be more energy efficient and save operators significant running costs. Furthermore, bearings that exhibit higher friction and wear will risk premature failure, and associated downtime.

Reduce maintenance and downtime

Downtime – both from planned and unplanned maintenance – can be extremely costly, and can quickly escalate, especially if the bearing is in a manufacturing process that runs 24/7. However, this can be avoided by selecting more reliable bearings capable of delivering high performance over a longer-life time.

A bearing system comprises many elements including balls, rings and cages and to improve reliability each part needs to be carefully reviewed. In particular, lubrication, materials, and coatings need to be considered so bearings can be best configured for the application to provide excellent long-life performance.

Precision bearings designed with high quality parts will deliver excellent reliability, contribute towards reducing potential bearing failure, require less maintenance and resulting downtime.