Agritechnica 2023: robust NSK bearings support soil-friendly farming solutions

by | Oct 13, 2023

At Agritechnica 2023 (12-18 November, Hanover, Germany) NSK will address a trio of hot topics impacting the agriculture sector: sustainable tillage, chemical-free weed control and the use of robotics.

From Stand C12 in Hall 15, the company will demonstrate its prowess in helping agricultural machinery manufacturers leverage the latest bearing technologies to drive better performance, sustainability and economy. Visitors to the stand will see three examples of real-life customer systems that use NSK’s innovative bearing solutions.

Continuous lubrication systems and optimal sealing are among the differentiating attributes that ensure NSK bearings deliver long life, even in challenging operating conditions. The best way to validate this claim is to showcase successful projects, which is precisely the company’s approach at Agritechnica. All of the customer solutions on display will relate to sustainable weeding and maintenance systems that help the agriculture industry replace glyphosate and preserve the ground in an environmentally friendly way.

A case in point is the FarmDroid FD20 ecological and CO2-neutral automatic weeding and seeding robot with solar panel. Thanks to autonomous 24-hour operation without external energy costs, FarmDroid estimates a payback period of around 12 months for those investing in its FD20.

In terms of operation, the FD20 uses a GPS signal to mark the placement of crops at seeding and subsequently performs mechanical weed control, both between and inside the rows. To execute these tasks in a reliable manner, the FD20 takes advantage of NSK’s 6004 series precision deep-groove ball bearings with DDU seal on both sides to prevent the ingress of contamination. Further supporting the robustness of this bearing are inner and outer rings made from NSK’s proprietary ES1 stainless steel material, which provides better corrosion resistance than standard martensitic stainless steel without any compromise in hardness. The result? Reduced maintenance and downtime costs.

Another key customer exhibit on the NSK stand will be the Ferri front flail mower for embankment and edge trimming. Attaching to implement carriers such as the Unimog, the Ferri flail mower is ideal for maintenance tasks around the farm. These innovative mowers take advantage of NSK Agri Disc Hubs: double-row angular contact ball bearings with a split inner ring that absorbs high axial and tilting forces during motion. Housed in a robust unit, NSK supplies Agri Disc Hubs with customer-specific dimensions and a combination of labyrinth and contact seal designs to prevent both the ingress of contaminants and the escape of grease.

NSK’s spotlight will also shine on the Adelhelm vineyard/orchard roller hoe for mechanical weeding. This type of mechanical tillage system enables chemical-free weeding, while simultaneously providing optimal soil preparation. In these rotary hoes, which do not require an external drive, NSK Agri Disc Hubs ensure low-friction roller rotation in challenging operating conditions that include the presence of stones, dust, dirt, moisture and shock loads.

Even under extreme duress, Agri Disc Hubs – and thus the equipment they serve – deliver a service life that is several times greater than that of other commercially available solutions. Furthermore, the modularity of these cost-effective, self-lubricating, ready-to-install units ensures fast adaptability to specific requirements.

NSK will also present a variety of other industry-specific bearing innovations at Agritechnica 2023, mostly produced at its factory in Neuweg, Munderkingen, Germany. The plant, founded in 1954 as a rolling bearing production facility for a leading agricultural machinery manufacturer and taken over by NSK in 1990, has particularly flexible production facilities. This capability creates the potential to produce even small batch sizes of customer-specific rolling bearings with high efficiency.

“We have decades of experience and knowledge regarding the operating conditions of rolling bearings in agricultural machinery,” states Gregory Paczek, Agricultural Technology Industry Manager at NSK. “Our track record of supporting agricultural OEMs in the development of new and sustainable solutions is second to none, as visitors to Agritechnica will discover.”

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