After suffering an average of four linear guide failures a month on its process-critical component washing machines, a major automotive plant in Mexico is enjoying significant savings having switched to NH series linear guides from NSK. Taking into account previous costs associated with production downtime, parts replacement, labour and extra lubrication, calculations show that the facility is recouping $696,155 (approximately €577,314) per annum.

The two automatic parts washers perform essential roles in the automotive plant’s engine build process. One machine washes engine blocks of impurities after machining, while the second performs the same task on motor heads. A full AIP (Added Value Programme) application review performed by expert NSK engineers revealed that the two component washers were suffering from high levels of corrosion, prompted by wash solution containing a mixture of metal residue, coolant and cleaning chemicals. This oxidisation was prematurely damaging the bearings within the four linear guides mounted on the underside of the machine, leading to seizures. NSK’s team of specialists therefore recommended the adoption of NH series linear guides.

High-quality NH/NS linear guides offer far greater service life due to the inclusion of innovative features like specially developed ball groove geometry. In addition, up to 30% more dynamic load rating helps to provide users with double the fatigue life of previous generation products in a compact and lightweight format.

Importantly, the NH series is available with a selection of innovative coatings to provide protection from harsh operating conditions. At the automotive plant, NSK recommended hard chrome plating to provide both corrosion resistance and increased durability. The NH linear guides, supplied in lengths of 360 mm to suit the automatic parts washers, also feature a double seal, metal protector and NSK’s K1 lubrication unit for long-term maintenance-free operation. The K1 is ideal for applications where regular grease replenishment is difficult or where it can easily wash away.

Following a successful trial period with no failures whatsoever, the use of NH series linear guides on the component washing machines is providing considerable year-on-year savings.

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