NSK has successfully replaced one-piece spherical roller bearings with specially manufactured split bearings in the converter of a European stainless-steel plant. Demonstrating the utmost precision and care, this challenging service task was completed in just three days.
The plant’s converters are used to extract carbon from molten iron and add alloying elements. However, when fixed bearings in one of the converters were due for replacement as part of a scheduled maintenance routine, NSK was commissioned to undertake this testing task – a prudent choice considering the steel processing industry is one the company’s main sectors.
NSK not only develops specific bearing types for steel mill operations, but, where appropriate, uses special materials in their manufacture. This ensures that the heavy-duty drives of key equipment such as converters, continuous casting machinery and rolling mills, which must operate under very adverse environmental conditions, prove highly resilient.
The special NSK split spherical roller bearings are expected to achieve a long operating life thanks to the resilience of the material and the internal design, which is customised for heavy-duty operation. However, when the time arrives for these bearings to be replaced in the future, the process will be far simpler than ever before. Now, the two sections can simply be removed one at a time from the inner ring, outer ring and cage, therefore eliminating the laborious requirement to cut the bearing into small parts. This provides a saving in converter downtime of around 35%, thus helping to deliver rapid return on investment.