BNL invest in new machinery to meet growing demand for custom plastic bearings

BNL have spent the last year establishing a foundation for growth with significant investment in moulding machines and automated assembly. During the last financial year, BNL UK purchased 4 new, state of the art Engel moulding machines and a bespoke automatic assembly machine to assemble parts for a key Tier 1 automotive customer. Additionally, BNL Thailand invested in two new injection moulding work centres to meet demand for our bespoke products in Asia.

This growth in capacity and capability supports new projects and new applications, allowing BNL to meet increasing demand for bespoke plastic bearing solutions, specifically from the white goods and domestic electrical appliances markets and varied automotive applications.

Precision Moulding and Effective Quality Control

BNL’s new ENGEL e-Victory Hybrid moulding machines utilise electric injection units and the latest Engel iQ Weight Control and e-Flomo software control systems. The state of the art technology reduces the overall energy consumption of the machine compared to older hydraulic systems and improves the quality of components by reducing shot to shot weight variation.

The additional iQ Weight Control software intelligently compensates for variations in ambient conditions and raw material by adjusting the machine switchover point and holding pressure profile, shot by shot, in real time, based on melt conditions in the machine barrel. This eliminates variation caused by changes in conditions or material.  Combined with the e-Flomo module which provides optimum mould temperature control via an intelligent manifold, this technology gives BNL a world leading level of quality control.

Investing in this new technology enables BNL to confidently and consistently manufacture technical, tight tolerance mouldings from efficient multi cavity tools that exceed the expectations of our customers and establish BNL as a key partner.

Manufacturing Productivity

To improve accuracy and maximise efficiency, BNL have invested in ‘Engel Viper12’ robots on each of the new machines and combined it with BNL designed End of Arm Robot tooling to catch mouldings by type in individual sections as they are ejected from the tool. The robot distributes the mouldings automatically to appropriate containers by type, which eliminates waste and minimises the risk of error.

Automatic Assembly Solutions

In 2016 BNL worked with an external partner to develop and commission a fully automatic assembly machine to build a double row bearing for a Tier 1 automotive steering column application. The machine builds and inspects a bearing every 4 seconds, with guaranteed product quality.

The machine applies grease to each track in the outer race, assembles 12 balls each to two cages, assembles a cage to each inner race, pressing both inner races in to the outer race to complete the assembly. Finally finishing the process by etching a Julian date code on the outer race.

Built into the machines are automated camera checks to detect each ball is present before the bearing is pressed together and rotational torque of every bearing is measured to ensure the bearing rotates correctly. The final station uses 5 cameras to check for moulding damage and contamination on all faces and the inner bore of the moulding, the presence of the date code, dimensions of key features and the general form of other important characteristics.

This commitment to cutting edge technology gives BNL the capability to meet the demands of our world leading customers in a flexible, productive manner with a 100% quality guarantee.

If you would like to find out more please contact us at