prolonged use or routine washdowns. To see the benefits SKF bearings with

Solid Oil deliver in actual production scenarios, consider the way they helped a bakery overcome failures in its proving oven conveyor: Before working with SKF, the conveyor

SKF (UK) explains the problems associated with conventionally lubricated bearings in humid environments, and shows how bearings with solid oil technology can withstand the effects of moisture, such as that found in bread proving ovens


perating bearings in wet, humid and contaminating environments – and

subjecting them to frequent washdowns - increases the chances of moisture seeping into the bearing, emulsifying the grease and causing leakage. Humid conditions often

exist in the proving oven, one of the most important assets in the bread-making process. While the temperature in these ovens is normally up to 40 to 45°C, humidity can lead to water droplets covering almost every moving part, even finding their way into the bearings used to rotate the conveyor chains. As the bearing grease absorbs the

moisture it slowly emulsifies, changing the consistency of the grease and allowing it to easily wash out. This can not only lead to accelerated wear and corrosion in the bearing but increased incidents of failures and downtime. There is also a risk of food contamination and operator safety if the grease leaks on to the floor. To avoid this scenario, the weaknesses

in the lubrication of the system need to be overcome. To enable bearings to perform well in high-humidity and contaminating applications a different


approach to lubrication is needed. Featuring an oil-saturated polymer

matrix, SKF bearings with Solid Oil are relubrication-free and designed to withstand the negative effects of high humidity levels or breathing in the bearings caused by rapid temperature shifts (for example, in freezer applications). The Solid Oil matrix contains two to four times more oil than in conventional greased bearings,

completely filling the internal space in the bearing, making

relubrication unnecessary. SKF bearings with Solid Oil are also available as an

NSF H1 food approved variant. With standard lubrication unable to

meet the demands of the proving oven, the Solid Oil bearing design creates a strong barrier against the intruding moisture common in these ovens. Because the polymer material includes millions of micro-pores, it’s able to hold the lubricating oil in place using surface tension. Then, during operation, the oil seeps through these pores and into the gaps between the bearing components, providing correct lubrication at all times. With no traditional grease present in the bearing, there is nothing to emulsify and leak out during

By incorporating SKF bearings with Solid Oil technology in the design of proving ovens, users can benefit from reliable, consistent operation

chain was prone to constant bearing failures. The threat of a failure became so severe that the bakery had to halt production for a 35-hour stretch once per year to replace the 800-plus bearings that rotate the chain – a costly stoppage for a line that typically runs seven days a week. When an unexpected failure did occur, the company’s maintenance staff would usually have no more than five minutes to recover the situation before the production process had to be stopped, meaning that all dough and loaves in the proving oven had to be scrapped. Working with SKF and its authorised

distributor gave the baker the reliable, continuous operations it needed. Since installing SKF bearings with Solid Oil, the company has been able to completely avoid unplanned stoppages, saving it 300-plus hours of maintenance activity and more than £3,750 in yearly bearing- related expenses. The SKF bearings with Solid Oil have

SKF bearings with Solid Oil are designed for use in applications where high levels of moisture and incidental contact with water and other contaminants are real issues

been so successful that another bakery asked the engineers to work with its oven manufacturer to make them core components of a new proving oven design. Two of these new ovens were subsequently installed in the company’s other plants. The results speak for themselves: no unplanned stops since implementation, a £3,750 reduction in yearly bearing costs, the elimination of more than 300 hours of planned downtime and improved worker safety. “SKF bearings with Solid Oil are yet

To learn more about SKF’s Solid Oil bearing lubrication technology: /products/bearings- units-housings /engineered-products/ bearings-with-solid- oil/index.html

another example of the emphasis SKF places on helping companies reconsider and rethink their current relubrication practices,” said David Oliver, Food and Beverage Segment Manager at SKF. “By offering bearings that can function effectively in warm, humid conditions – without continued relubrication – we’re able to give food and beverage manufacturers a reliable, consistent solution for these unique, demanding environments. The customer has shown that by making SKF bearings with Solid Oil a core part of its standard proving oven designs, this approach is clearly making a difference in real-world applications.”



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