Skip to main content

Read our primer articles: OEE | RCM | Lean Manufacturing | Kaizen Events | FMEA

We have 3 vertical pumps that have the drives above a pit with 1 15/16 shafts that attach to a simple impeller used to circulate water through a flume to transfer and wash potatoes. The problem is that 4 of the 5 bearings on each shaft are constantly under water. The stainless Survivor bearings get about 6 months of 72 hours a week running before we have to change them. The water is fairly dirty because of the wash coming off the potatoes. My question is if there is a better bearing out there or is this a pretty good run time for a bearing. We grease them weekly with a marine grease. Thanks for the replies..PaLuke
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Self Lubricating Non-metallic bearings would be ideal for your application. Water serves as a lubricant for Non-Meatallic bearings and work great in dirty environments. Several materials come to mind depending on the Load, Speed and Running Clearances required.

Candidate materials could be either a Composite Bearing, UHMW, PBT or PET Bearing Grades (all love water and perform well in dirty environments). Contact me if you are still having short life from your existing bearings and want to pursue another bearing material. I have over 34 years experience with these types of materials and would be glad to help.
How is grease supplied to the bearings? Is it done manually with a grease gun or are you using a automatic lubrication system. The reason I ask is I'm thinking it's possible that if your not on a automatic lubrication system it's possible that with the increased amount of contamination they see the bearings may be running low on grease and depending on the water resistance of the grease you may be experiencing wash out. Have you ever had a lubrication rep or bearing rep look the system over?

Agree with Micbial regarding need for autolube system or at very least continuous feed from single point lubricator. We have fitted a number of autolube systems to potato chip peeling machines for this reason. A continuous supply of lubricant keeps positive pressure inside the bearing to stop water washout of the grease.

Secondly all food grade greases are not created equal, even if they state waterproof and marine in their technical data the majority of them wash out in use.

The bearing life you are achieving is definitely not reasonable and should be able to be extended without changing the bearing type.

If you would like further information let me know.


Rodney Fitzpatrick.
Link copied to your clipboard.