Twice the life offered in washing machine bearings

13th February 2024
Kristian McCann

Offering reduced friction, NSK´s heavy-duty BNEQARTET bearings consequently provide double the service life in domestic washing machines and other industrial applications. In line with consumer demand, a recent trend has seen washing machine manufacturers’ move towards larger drum diameters in order to accommodate greater laundry capacities.

Typically, many modern machines can wash up to 9kg of dry textiles. However this results in higher forces being applied to the drum shaft support bearings.

As opposed to top-loading machines, the front-loading washing machines which are popular in Europe present an even greater challenge for bearing developers. Here, the weight of the loaded drum is all applied to one side, which subjects the bearings to high loading. This is exacerbated by an imbalanced rotating mass, placing great stress on the bearing.

In front-loading washing machines, BNEQARTET bearings are able to accommodate high loads and stress.

Making the bearing larger might provide a solution, but is not favoured due to space and cost restraints, not to mention the higher levels of friction and power consumption such a move would introduce. Instead, development efforts can focus on three alternative approaches: developing new material, optimising internal bearing geometry, or altering performance through the choice of lubricant.

Development work resulted in BNEQARTET bearings, which in comparison with standard bearings exhibit double the service life. In fact, the bearings offer far longer service even in adverse operating conditions. For instance, a significant improvement was achieved in tests that sought to generate flaking on the surface of the bearing raceways when operating in polluted environments. Here, NSK´s BNEQARTET bearings were found to be more resistant to contamination.

Similar success was found during tests on BNEQARTET bearings operating at high temperatures. At 150°C, approximately 1.5x longer service life could be achieved.

Resilience or insensitivity to hydrogen is another attribute of the material used for NSK´s BNEQARTET bearings. This is important because hydrogen molecules can penetrate deep into the material and cause embrittlement, even at room temperature.

This leads to bearing damage such as white structure flaking, which in turn can cause premature failures, particularly in damp operating environments. BNEQARTET bearings demonstrate almost double the service life of standard bearings in tests where a material sample is charged with hydrogen and subjected to an axial thrust load.

Available as deep-groove ball bearings, NSK´s BNEQARTET bearings are ideally suited to drum support applications in washing machines. In fact, wherever a design engineer wishes to avoid rolling contact fatigue and/or surface damage through contamination and thereby prolong service life, BNEQARTET bearings can offer significant advantages.

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