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This facility is part of a network of four sugar processing plants that supply around 50% of the UK’s sugar. It meets demanding around-the-clock standards that create a harsh operating environment capable of impacting the performance and longevity of machinery and components.

One example is the belt conveyor, which plays an integral role in delivering production output and must be maintained in the best possible working order to prevent downtime, despite the arduous conditions.

This particular facility had used a competitor brand of split roller bearing for many years but had experienced performance difficulties resulting in too much unplanned downtime. The team decided to source a more performance-engineered split roller bearing solution from a more reliable supply route.

Their criteria were simple. They needed high-load capacity split roller bearings that could perform in harsh environments, backed up by a supply route that could guarantee replacement bearings without delay. These bearings needed to be fast to install and fast to replace to keep downtime to an absolute minimum.


  • Belt conveyor application in sugar processing facility
  • Arduous working conditions caused by process water, heat, and food debris
  • Availability of replacements and ease of maintenance essential
  • Replacing troublesome competitor products for more reliable performance


  • One fixed 70mm axial bearing with triple labyrinth seal
  •  One floating 70mm bearing with triple labyrinth seal
  • Cartridges supplied for both bearings
  • Installed into customer’s existing pedestals from a competing bearing brand

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Bowman’s specialist split bearing team specified two of their world-first Advanced Split Roller Bearings (one fixed and one floating), plus two cartridges. Because Bowman’s Advanced product range is dimensionally interchangeable with competing brands, these were installed into the customer’s existing pedestals.

Bowman’s Advanced Split Roller Bearings use separate rolling elements to accommodate axial loads independently of radial loads, which is of particular benefit in harsh, high-load applications, like those found in the sugar processing industry.

“Bearings are of course the wear component of any system, and replacements will be necessary,” continues Matthew. “The customer expressed early on in our communications that they wanted a new supply route that held substantial stock inventory to make replacement quicker when the time came.”

In addition to the quick delivery of replacement components, Bowman’s Advanced Split Roller Bearings make installation faster too, even when access to the shaft and bearing is restricted. The two cage halves lock together easily using the cage rollers, eliminating the use of small and easy to lose clips and other locking components – keeping downtime minimal for time-sensitive facilities.

Bowman’s specialists worked alongside the client’s on-site mechanical engineers during the first bearing change-out
to ensure they could maximise the efficiency of future installations.

“One of the UK’s largest sugar processing plants was experiencing performance issues with the split roller bearings on its belt conveyor. The team was keen to try an alternative product from a more reliable supply route. Our high-load capacity Advanced Split Roller Bearing exceeded expectations for fast installation, and superior performance.”

Matthew Simmons, Technical Manager, Bowman Split Bearings

sugar factory industry line production cane process