The agricultural industry presents a very harsh operating environment for bearings, as farmers plant in extremely dusty conditions. In order to prevent premature bearing failure, leading supplier Bearings International (BI) has designed special agri hub units with tri-ply seal ball bearing arrangements to prevent the ingress of dust and dirt.
This feature ensures an extended operating life, which is a critical factor as farmers have a limited planting period. Tri-ply seals are a one-piece design incorporating three seals moulded to a shroud cap. This not only provides excellent protection against contaminants, but prevents the loss of lubricating grease to ensure a longer service life.
The rubber seal extends to the outer circumference of the shielded plate for improved sealing performance, while the galvanised steel-plate construction protects against corrosion, and provides for an optimal design for enhanced pressure resistance. The ‘triple lip’ feature is excellent for dust- and waterproofing, protecting against any contamination from the air or even foul water.
BI has five different bearing hub units available for planters that fall under its Agri-Smart banner of value-added products and services for the agricultural sector. All have a fastening kit that can be ordered separately.
BAA0001 has been designed for fertiliser coulters, potato planters, and disc harrows; BAA0003 for 16 mm planter discs; and BAA0004 for furrow openers. The latest agri hub unit, BAA0005, is a completely modular bearing hub that can be used on the planter disc, gauge wheel, and closer wheel by means of adapter shafts.
Installed on planters for testing purposes, the agri hub units have been in operation for the last four years without any failures. BAA0001 and BAA0003 have been on the market for a few years already, and have shown 11% growth in sales year-on-year.
The BAA0005 modular concept was launched at NAMPO 2018, and has been widely-accepted by the farming community. “With the planting season around the corner, we have increased our stock levels, and hope to show some good results before year-end,” BI Business Development Leader – Agriculture Gerhard Pienaar reports.
He adds that BI’s strategy for the sector is to continue to make inroads with farming cooperatives, to ensure it has the right products at the right place and at the right time. “This often means travelling to remote locations to offer our back-up and support to the farming community,” Pienaar highlights.
“As a solutions provider, we listen to our customers’ pain points, and are open to suggestions as to how to solve their problems. To this end, we attend as many agricultural exhibitions around the country as often as possible, so that we can engage with our customers face-to-face,” Pienaar elaborates. In this regard, the Agri-Smart range has recently been supplemented by Bauer electric motors to offer farmers a complete solution.
Farming is not only one of the largest contributors to South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but a relatively stable market segment showing steady year-on-year growth. BI has had an agricultural product focus for 40 years now. Recently it has poured more investment into developing new products and improving its stock levels where the farming community needs it the most.
The main products supplied are bearings and seals, sprockets and chains, power take-off (PTO) shafts, v-belts and pulleys, electric motors, gearboxes, and couplings. In conjunction with Jonnesway, BI has developed an agri toolbox.
Designed for farmers by farmers, this all-in-one toolbox fits behind a bakkie seat in a robust cushioned case to protect the tools during transit. It allows for 95% of common problems to be repaired quickly and efficiently in the field, saving on time and costs, and increasing the lifespan of capex-intensive farming equipment.