Technology supplier SKF South Africa displayed its agricultural solutions for the first time at its own stand at this year’s Nampo agricultural trade show, which was held in Bothaville, in the Free State, from May 13 to 16.
SKF agriculture key accounts manager Charl Engelbrecht notes that the company has participated in Nampo since 2010 but, since 2014 was the first year that the company had its own display, at SKF agricultural partner Bolt & Engineering’s stand in the Santam Hall, “the whole experience was one to remember, with great customer interest being shown”.
Owing to the success of this year’s Nampo, SKF has secured a stand for 2015. “We would like to see the same interest shown by customers, both existing and new, as by those during this year’s show,” Engelbrecht says.
Several SKF agricultural product solutions were on display, including the Agri Hub 1 maintenance-free bearing, which is designed for soil cultivation machines for harrows and independent discs on planters.
The SKF Agri Hub 1, which was launched in South Africa in 2007, is designed with a special five-lip patented sealing arrangement that “was developed in Italy and tested under extreme dust and mud conditions in countries such as Russia and Australia,” Engelbrecht notes. The ‘mud block’ seal and special labyrinth, central to the sealing principle, provide dynamic sealing against the ingress of foreign materials.
“The Agri Hub 1 is a sealed unit and requires no relubrication. It aids in extending the product life of machines and also reduces downtime. Unscheduled downtime caused by bearing failures on cultivation machines during the crucial planting and harvesting periods places the farmer at huge risk, not to mention the costs incurred because of lost production,” explains Engelbrecht.
The success of the Agri Hub 1 gave rise to SKF’s development of an Agri Hub for seeding discs, which is ideal for smaller seed coulter and furrow-opener applications. The unit includes the same five-lip patented sealing arrangement to deliver all the accompanying benefits.
The SKF Yelag 207 maintenance-free insert bearing with locking collar, developed for harvesters, incorporates the same designs of the Agri Hub 1 and the smaller Agri Hub. It is ideally suited to all applications that demand this type of bearing solution and Engelbrecht adds that this unit produced positive results.
SKF subjected all the bearings to thorough and vigorous testing before introducing them onto the market. Emphasising the importance of field-testing, Engelbrecht says the extremely harsh conditions under which the products operate cannot be accurately replicated in a controlled environment. “The only way to test the ruggedness of the units is out in the fields. During testing, we work closely with farmers and with our agricultural distributor, Bolt & Engineering, to ensure that the products encompass all the necessary capabilities to meet the requirements for which they were designed.
The Agri Hub 1, Agri Hub and Yelag 207, which launched in South Africa in 2010, are imported from SKF’s Airasca factory, in Italy.
“SKF’s agricultural products will benefit farmers by delivering increased reliability, optimum machinery availability, improved uptime, high productivity and a return on investment owing to reduced cost of machine ownership,” Engelbrecht concludes.