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24.05.2019

NG bearings solve challenges of producing mussels in a tough production environment

High hygiene standards and an effective production without unnecessary production shut downs are important factors to Vilsund Blue in Denmark. Therefore, they are particularly pleased to use NG bearings from BJ-Gear A/S in the production of mussels, as the bearings live up to their expectations for lifetime and durability. The NG bearings are exposed to salt steam, cleaning with tough chemicals as well as high and low temperatures, starting when the mussels are delivered directly from the fishing boat until the finished product is packed.

When a new load of mussels arrives at Vilsund Blue, the mussels are delivered by truck directly from the fishing boat and unloaded outside the cleaning area. From here, the mussels are transported via conveyor belts into the cleaning area, where they are cleaned of pebbles, seaweed and sand.

NG bearings are installed on all conveyor belts throughout the factory, and some of the bearings are therefore positioned outside where they are exposed to all kinds of weather.

Some of the NG bearings are flooded in stormy weather but still work smoothly as long as they are lubricated regularly.

Some of the bearings are positioned in a pit in the unloading area which means that the bearings are flooded with salt water during stormy weather. Despite this, these bearings, according to the technical manager Jan Mortensen, have been in operation for 3-4 years: “The bearings run without problems as long as they are lubricated and filled with grease.”

No corrosion when exposed to salt water

In the cleaning area the NG bearings are exposed to a tough environment, as the mussels are rinsed in salt water. The NG bearings are exposed to saltwater splash while the mussels are first separated from pebbles and seaweed and then cleaned of dirt and sand. Therefore, the air is thick with salt which settles on the machines and process equipment. The harsh conditions make the process equipment rust but in spite of this, the NG bearing housings are not affected by rust, and they continuously protect the bearings against ingress of saltwater.

The mussels are rinsed in salt water which corrodes the process equipment. However, the NG bearing housings are not damaged by saltwater, and therefore the housing continues to protect the bearings against ingress of salt and water.


Resistant to cleaning products and fluctuations in temperatures

After the mussels are cleaned, they are transported to a different location, where they are boiled and then frozen. In this area the processing equipment and all the processes are subject to strict hygiene and high cleaning requirements. In the boiling process, the NG bearings are exposed to salt steam with temperatures of up to 50 °C while the mussels are boiled. Afterwards, the NG bearings are subject to a tough cleaning process where they are cleaned with water jets and with chlorine foam. Furthermore, the NG bearings are periodically cleaned with acidic chemicals to remove limescale from the process equipment which has settled on the equipment via the salt steam in the air.

This NG bearing has, according to the technical manager Jan Mortensen, been in operation for 3-4 years: “Apart from being discoloured by the harsh conditions, they still function without problems.”


An easy-to-clean design makes the NG bearings ideal for food production

In the subsequent process, the mussel meat is frozen to minus 18 °C. Here it is also important that the hygiene standard is of the highest level, so that the food is not contaminated. The bearings’ rounded design and smooth surface are therefore great advantages, as this reduces the risk of accumulation of impurities and makes cleaning easier. The bearings are also particularly ideal for food production because of the material. The two-component plastic material is resistant to most chemicals and able to withstand temperatures as low as minus 30 °C and as high as 100 °C.

The NG bearings are FDA food approved, USDA accepted, and EU food approved according to the Food Contact Materials Regulation (EC) 1935/2004.


You can see a live demonstration of what the NG bearings are capable of at Vilsund Blue in this video: