Shaft power components

Bearing technologies for agriculture

Fourth Quarter 2023 Shaft power components

NSK is addressing a trio of hot topics impacting the agriculture sector: sustainable tillage, chemical-free weed control, and the use of robotics. The company is demonstrating its prowess in helping agricultural machinery manufacturers leverage the latest bearing technologies to drive better performance, sustainability and economy using 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. 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 is reduced maintenance and downtime costs.

Another key farming solution is 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. These are 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 focus is also 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 units ensures fast adaptability to specific requirements.

“We have decades of experience and knowledge regarding the operating conditions of rolling bearings in agricultural machinery,” says NSK technology industry manager, Gregory Paczek. “Our track record of supporting agricultural OEMs in the development of new and sustainable solutions is second to none.”

For more information contact Geraldene Govender, NSK South Africa, +27 11 458 3600,,

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