SKF’s bearings, bushings, hub units, chains, belts, seals and lubrication systems are renowned for their premium quality, reliability and efficiency. It therefore comes as no surprise that these components are extremely popular with South Africa’s agricultural industry and are widely used by farmers on Combines, Planters, Tractors and various agricultural attachments.
“Our turnkey Agri-solutions, complemented by customer-specific solutions from our quality brands, SKF and PEER, add value to every stage of the crop cycle, from tillage, seeding and fertilizing/spraying to harvesting, mowing and baling,” states Charl Engelbrecht (Key Accounts Manager Agriculture). “The world-class quality and robustness of our products contribute to optimal and reliable machine and equipment performance, enabling farmers to sustainably maintain high production in less time to ultimately achieve profitable yields and successful business outcomes. Moreover, our products are specially designed to have a positive impact on the environment.”
Irrespective of the biome, the agricultural environment is unforgiving on machines and attachments. Added to this, farmers have limited seasonal windows in which to complete their crop cycles. Subsequently, field breakdowns are simply not an option as this can result in catastrophic production losses and exorbitant costs. To ensure dependable performance and prolonged life cycles, all SKF and PEER products undergo rigorous testing to make sure that they are able to withstand stringent field conditions such as heavy vibration, temperature extremes and ingress of contaminants such as water, mud, dust, fibres and plant material.
Agricultural customers are also under mounting pressure to increase yields to meet demand, while keeping input costs to an absolute minimum in order to remain profitable. They subsequently look to OEMs for equipment that delivers ever-greater reliability, prolonged lifecycle, efficiency and performance. “We work in close collaboration with the agricultural OEMs and their engineers to help develop and supply complete systems,” affirms Engelbrecht. “Ensuring that our products are fully compatible with OEM machines promotes high quality, cost-effective solutions that deliver low total cost of ownership and a rapid return on investment.”
SKF’s wide range of bearings, including Explorer roller and ball bearings, insert bearings, plain bearings and bushings, are specially developed to handle aggressive agricultural conditions. The SKF Explorer range, recommended for tractors, offer multiple features that deliver more uptime for these essential agricultural workhorses. Offering optimised internal geometry for reduced friction, wear and heat generation, these tapered roller bearings accommodate higher load levels (up to 23% increased dynamic load ratings). These extremely robust bearings deliver extended service life, resist contamination and offer long service intervals.
“We supply bearings for the full range of agricultural attachments used for seeding including opener and closing discs as well as for gauge, press and implement wheels, seed-meter drive shafts and row markers,” continues Engelbrecht. “Our flanged insert bearing units are widely used on rolling baskets for independent tillage and gang discs.” He adds that one of the most commonly used gang disc bearing arrangements is the trunnion housing. The PEER Tillage Trunnion Unit (TTU) delivers countless benefits including increased productivity and bearing life.
SKF solutions for combine harvester applications, such as baling and mowing comprise a range of radial ball and roller bearings as well as agricultural insert bearing units that incorporate a relubrication-free design and a high performance sealing solution. “In addition to increased service life and reduced maintenance and ownership costs, our insert units, which are quick and easy to mount for enhanced uptime, keep grease from contaminating the yield,” notes Engelbrecht.
Years of SKF R&D as well as rigorous testing in both the laboratory and in the field have shown that advanced sealing technology can significantly increase machine and equipment performance. SKF’s range of bearing seals delivers heavy-duty sealing performance on a great variety of agricultural attachments. “We have designed these application-specific agricultural products specifically to reduce the need for relubrication and simplify installation, saving valuable hours needed for field work,” explains Engelbrecht. “Furthermore, our seal designs eliminate the need for grease purge thus ensuring a positive impact on the environment. Our bearing seal types include Single lip, two to 7 lip, Cassette, double Cassette, SKF Mudblock and SKF Mudblock11 plus Cassette.”
SKF Agri Hubs have been specially engineered to boost farm productivity and profitability through increased performance and improved machine up-time while minimising the impact on the environment. These remarkable greased-for-life hub bearing units, which are widely used on disc ploughs, fertiliser injector discs, opener and closing seeding discs, etc., do not require re-lubrication. In addition to saving farmers valuable time and lubrication costs, these grease-free units prevent land contamination.
Engelbrecht explains that the SKF Agri Hub’s advanced hermetic sealing solution ensures that no lubricant loss will occur over the complete lifespan of this virtually maintenance free, plug-and-play unit. The cutting-edge ‘mud block’ seal and special labyrinth, which is central to the sealing principle, achieves excellent sealing performance providing dynamic sealing against stone, mud and dust ingress. A special cup and O-ring system provides the static sealing of the disc side in the unit, making it impervious to contaminant ingress.
“As a valuable partner to the South African agriculture industry, we provide our agricultural customers with solid hands-on support through our professional and dedicated after-sales service solutions,” says Engelbrecht. “We invite NAMPO visitors to our stand (#121) in the NAMPO hall to come and explore our range of Agri solutions and obtain sound advice from our skilled technicians,” concludes Engelbrecht.