Baler Bearings

To harvest fodder, (such as tall grasses and legumes) or plant residue (such as corn stalks, wheat straw or peanut vines) crops are first cut, dried to specific moisture content, and formed into a windrow. Balers pick up and compact the crop to form round or square bales for ease of transport and storage.

The more recent practice of baling corn stalks and peanut vines creates extra stress on the internal components of balers and special, heavy duty bearing designs have been created to provide the expected reliability to accommodate this practice.

Round balers use belts or chains to roll crop into round bales and can have either variable or fixed chambers. Inside the baling chamber, the crop is formed and compressed and discharged on the field afterwards to be collected and stored.

Square balers form the crop residue in square bales: augers feed the straw into the baling chamber for compression. Plungers give the bale the density and shape - when the appropriate length and shape of the bale is reached, the bale is tied and exits the chamber.

Application Challenges

The baler has several different bearing positions, each with similar conditions but having unique challenges. In a high level, it can be broken up into the following sections:

  • Pickup
  • Bale chamber

Load and contamination typically contribute to bearing damage.

Pickup assembly application condition

The pickup assembly rakes the hay from the windrow into the baling chamber. Tine bar, pickup drum and cam follower are all part of the pickup subassembly.

  • The tine bar is a bar of tine that rakes the hay off the field and into the baling chamber
  • The cam follower creates a flipping action to the tine bar to deposit the hay into the baling chamber
Tine bar application condition

  • Four to six tine bars on a reel with two bearings supporting each tine bar
  • Exposed to oscillating motion from the pickup cam follower
  • Medium to high contamination due to dry and wrapping hay and contact with soil
Proven engineered solutions: Tine bar bearings Benefits and functional features:

  • Increased productivity and operating life in field due to:

    • High contamination feature package with exclusive sealing system

  • Bolt-on performance:

    • For ease of mounting an extended inner ring with through hole for roll-pin

Cam follower application condition

  • Each tine bar is connected to two cam followers which ride on a cam track
  • Medium to high contamination due to dry and wrapping hay and contact with soil
  • High load impacts
  • Wear of the OD occurs from contact with cam track
Proven engineered solutions: Cam follower bearings Benefits and functional features:

  • Bolt-on performance:

    • Optional stud for ease of mounting

  • Increased bearing life in field:

    • Double row bearing design offers high load capacity in compact space
    • Thick crowned outer ring resists wear and impact
    • High contamination feature package

Bale Chamber Application Condition

Idler roll bearings support and establish the belt tension. Drive rolls rotate belts at appropriate speed. Both rollers are mostly exposed to the following application conditions:

Idler and driver roller application conditions

  • Two bearings support the roll which spans the width of the bale chamber
  • Rolls can either be chain-driven or non-chain-driven with driven rolls typically using larger bearings
  • Support bearings placed outside the chamber are exposed to medium contamination
  • Support bearings placed inside the chamber are exposed to high contamination
  • Loading at the end of a baling cycle combined with shaft deflection can generate severe stress on the internal components of the support bearings
Proven engineered solutions: Idler, drive roll bearings Benefits and functional features:

  • Bolt-on-performance:

    • Several mounting and housing options available

  • Increased productivity and operation life in field:

    • Application specific internal construction accommodates shaft deflection
    • High contamination feature package with exclusive sealing system

Plunger application condition

  • Four bearings support the plunger
  • Medium to high contamination due to dry and wrapping hay
  • High load impacts
  • Wear of the outer diameter occurs from rolling contact on the bale chamber
Proven engineered solutions: Plunger bearings Benefits and functional features:

  • Increased bearing life in field:

    • Thick crowned outer ring resists wear and impact
    • High contamination feature package

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