The Paper Industry: How Bearings Power Productivity and Precision

Dean PayneWritten by Dean Payne

Bearings play a crucial role in the paper industry, where they are used extensively in various machines and equipment involved in paper production, processing, and printing. 

In this Spotlight Feature, we take a look at some of the equipment and special bearings used in the paper industry and the modifications that BDS can do to help you serve your customers better.   


  • Rotating Machinery: Paper mills consist of a wide range of rotating machinery, such as pumps, motors, rollers, and turbines. Bearings are essential components in these machines as they facilitate smooth rotation, reduce friction, and support heavy loads.  

  • Paper Machine Rollers: Paper machines are equipped with numerous rollers that guide, support, and tension the paper during the production process. Bearings in these rollers ensure precise alignment and smooth rotation, allowing the paper to pass through the machine accurately and consistently. Properly functioning bearings help prevent paper web breaks and maintain the quality of the final product. 

  • Conveyor Systems: Conveyor belts are used extensively in the paper industry for transporting raw materials, paper rolls, and finished products. Bearings are utilized in the pulleys and rollers of these conveyor systems, ensuring smooth movement, and minimizing energy loss. Reliable bearings contribute to efficient material handling and increased productivity. 
  • Winding and Unwinding Operations: Paper reels are wound and unwound during various stages of production and processing. Bearings in the reel stands and shafts provide support and allow controlled rotation during these operations. They help maintain tension and prevent slippage, ensuring proper winding and unwinding of the paper. 

  • Drying Sections: Paper machines include drying sections where the freshly produced paper is dried using heated cylinders. Bearings in these dryer cylinders enable their rotation, facilitating the evaporation of moisture from the paper. Smooth and consistent cylinder rotation is essential for achieving uniform drying and preventing defects in the paper. 

Bearings in the paper industry are subject to demanding operating conditions, such as high speeds, heavy loads, and exposure to moisture and contaminants. Regular maintenance and proper lubrication of bearings are vital to ensure their longevity and reliable performance. Failure of bearings can lead to unplanned downtime, production losses, and increased maintenance costs. 

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BDS stocks one of the largest bearing inventories in the nation including those hard to find, obsolete, and special bearings used in the paper industry.  From tapered rollers to triple ring sphericals, we can modify and repair, even manufacture bearings critical to production for your customers 


Degroh Bearings 

Screenshot 2023-09-22 at 1.18.35 PMAs we spotlight the Paper Industry, we cannot overlook the printing process and how bearings are a critical component in putting ink to paper. 

Rotogravure is a printing technique that uses a cylindrical printing plate to transfer ink onto a substrate, typically paper or plastic. The image to be printed is etched or engraved onto the surface of the printing cylinder. This is typically done by using a diamond-tipped stylus to create tiny cells or recesses of varying depths. These cells hold the ink, and the excess ink is wiped off the surface of the cylinder, leaving ink only in the recessed areas. 

 The Cerutti press, manufactured by the Italian company Cerutti Group, is well-known in the printing industry for their high quality, precision, and advanced features. They are of robust construction providing high speed productivity. 

Bearings play a vital role in this press, as they are crucial components that support and facilitate the movement of various machine parts. Bearings are used throughout the press to reduce friction, enable smooth rotation or linear motion, and support heavy loads.  

  • Shaft Support: Bearings are used to support the rotating shafts found in various parts of the machine, such as the printing cylinders, tension rollers, and drive systems. The bearings allow these shafts to rotate smoothly, transmitting power and motion throughout the press. 

  • Cylinder Rotation: In rotogravure printing, the printing cylinders are a critical component. Bearings are employed to support the cylinders and enable their precise rotation. This ensures consistent and accurate ink transfer onto the substrate.
  • Roller Movement: Cerutti presses often incorporate different types of rollers, including tension rollers, guide rollers, and impression rollers. Bearings are used to facilitate their movement, reduce friction, and maintain proper alignment. This helps in achieving stable and uniform substrate feeding, tension control, and print registration. 
  • Drive Systems: Bearings are essential in the various drive systems of the Cerutti press, such as electric motors, gearboxes, and transmission components. They enable the smooth transfer of power and torque, ensuring efficient operation and precise control of machine movements. 
  • Precision and Durability: High-quality bearings are chosen to ensure precision and reliability. These bearings are designed to withstand heavy loads, high speeds, and continuous operation. They contribute to minimizing vibrations, maintaining dimensional stability, and extending the overall lifespan of the machine. 

Screenshot 2023-09-22 at 1.20.42 PMIn 1999, BMC acquired Degroh’s bearing product line that is used in this type of press and still produces them today.  We can cross-reference all the old Degroh part numbers with our own and help to keep these workhorses of the printing industry running. 



Smart bearing technology is used in a variety of industries, including this Spotlight Industry - Paper, where they can be found in the printing process and paper converting. 

Bearings that operate smoothly keep manufacturing processes moving. Now, imagine a bearing that provides value across production processes and entire operations by identifying impending problems and then communicating them wirelessly.  

Bearings that adopt a proactive approach to maintenance by monitoring machine processes such as pressure, force, and vibration are Smart.  

The use of "smart" bearing technology is a joint effort between bearings and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).  The integration of sensors and bearings is what gives smart bearings their name. Those  sensors provide information about the surrounding environment, including: 

  • Speed 
  • Direction 
  • Temperature
  • Vibration
  • Load
  • Levels of debris and other factors

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In industrial applications, the data collected by smart bearings is often matched with condition monitoring programs where being aware of the temperature and vibration levels are essential to preventing bearing failures.  This digitalization is making a change in how maintenance is performed. Performance on real-time updates on the condition of bearings and other components allow for advanced diagnostics.  

Read more about Smart Bearings in our recent blog post 


Screenshot 2023-09-22 at 1.53.10 PMSpecial Suffix Spherical Roller Bearings (C08 & T52BW) refer to a specific type of bearing designed to have a P5 running accuracy on the inner and outer race. In the paper mill industry, where heavy machinery operates under demanding conditions, the use of Special Suffix Spherical Roller Bearings can lead to improved performance, increased reliability, and reduced downtime.  



In paper mills, various machines and components, such as rolls and cylinders, are subjected to heavy loads and continuous operation. Measuring and marking high points refers to the practice of identifying areas where the highest stress or load concentration occurs on these components. By strategically placing Special Suffix Spherical Roller Bearings (C08 & T52BW) at these high-stress points, paper mills can ensure that the bearings can withstand the intense forces and minimize wear. For instance, in a paper mill's roll system, where immense pressure is applied to the paper web, using C08 bearings at the high-stress points can prevent premature failures and extend the lifespan of the rolls. 

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Paper Mill specific nomenclature, like the C08 & T52BW Spherical Roller Bearings, offer a range of benefits, including the ability to withstand high loads, efficient lubrication, and simplified maintenance procedures. By strategically incorporating these bearings into various applications within paper mills, operators can achieve enhanced performance, prolonged component lifespan, and decreased operational disruptions. 

Screenshot 2023-09-22 at 1.20.42 PMAt BDS and BMC we have an extensive inventory of spherical roller bearings and the capabilities to modify those bearings to meet the requirements of your customers.   



Lifting Holes 

Screenshot 2023-09-22 at 1.56.47 PMLifting holes are strategically placed holes in the bearing's outer ring, designed to aid in installation and removal of the bearing. In the paper mill industry, where maintenance and replacement of components are routine tasks, lifting holes play a crucial role in facilitating efficient bearing handling.  




Simplifying the process of mounting and dismounting, lifting holes reduce the time required for maintenance operations. For example, in the press section of a paper mill, where rolls need periodic maintenance, using bearings with lifting holes can expedite the replacement process and minimize production disruptions. 


Inner Ring Oil Holes 

Spherical roller bearings equipped with inner ring lubrication holes facilitate the distribution of lubricants to the bearing's internal components.  

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In the paper mill industry, where machinery operates for prolonged periods, maintaining proper lubrication is crucial to prevent overheating and friction-related failures. This allows the proper amount of lubrication, reducing the risk of wear and ensuring optimal bearing performance. For instance, in the dryer section of a paper mill, where high temperatures are present, these bearings with inner ring lubrication holes can help maintain a stable operating environment and prevent downtime due to bearing issues. 



Using Special Suffix Spherical Roller Bearings (C08 & T52BW) and proper lube features, lifting holes at the high-stress points of the rolls, paper mills can significantly reduce bearing-related failures and bearing change overs. 

Screenshot 2023-09-22 at 2.01.02 PMOne example comes from a major bearing distributor that had a paper mill that experienced frequent downtime due to bearing failures in its roll system.  Using these special spherical roller bearings resulted in a 30% reduction in downtime, leading to increased production output and cost savings. 

Another example involves a paper mill's dryer section, where overheating and inadequate lubrication were causing bearing failures.   This mill observed a 40% reduction in bearing-related maintenance needs by using the proper nomenclature spherical roller bearing. This not only extended the lifespan of the bearings but also improved overall operational efficiency. 

In both cases, the use of Special Suffix Spherical Roller Bearings demonstrated their effectiveness in addressing the unique challenges faced by the paper mill industry, ultimately leading to improved reliability, reduced downtime, and enhanced profitability. 

Screenshot 2023-09-22 at 1.20.42 PMBMC can modify bearings and equip them with the proper lifting holes and inner ring lubrication holes based on your customers’ specifications.  To learn more, visit our website or contact one of our knowledgeable sales representatives and let us find a bearing solution for you. 



As we continue our spotlight on the Paper Industry, let’s take a look at how tapered roller bearing assemblies play their part. These bearings are important components, serving various roles in different applications within paper machines. Here are some key roles of tapered roller bearing assemblies in the paper industry: 

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  • Roll Support: Tapered roller bearing assemblies are commonly used to support rolls in paper machines. These rolls, such as the main drive rolls, guide rolls, and backup rolls, require sturdy and reliable support to withstand heavy loads and ensure precise movement. Tapered roller bearings can handle both radial and axial loads, making them suitable for roll support applications. 
  • Shaft Support: Tapered roller bearing assemblies are utilized to support shafts and provide rotational motion in paper machines. They are commonly found in various sections of the machine, such as the drying section, calender section, and reel section. These bearings enable smooth and precise rotation of the shafts, contributing to the overall operational efficiency of the paper machine. 
  • Alignment and Compensation: Paper machines often undergo thermal expansion and misalignments, which can impact the performance and reliability of the equipment. Tapered roller bearing assemblies have the ability to compensate for slight misalignments, ensuring proper alignment of rotating components. This capability helps to reduce wear, minimize vibration, and prevent premature failures. 

  • High Load Capacity: Tapered roller bearing assemblies have a high load-carrying capacity, making them suitable for applications involving heavy loads in the paper industry. The ability to handle both radial and axial loads enables these bearings to support the forces encountered in paper machines, contributing to their durability and reliability. 
  • Reliability and Longevity: Tapered roller bearing assemblies are designed to provide long service life and reliable performance in demanding industrial environments. They are constructed with high-quality materials, advanced sealing systems, and optimized internal geometries to enhance durability, minimize friction, and reduce the risk of premature failure. This reliability helps to ensure uninterrupted operation and minimize maintenance requirements. 



Screenshot 2023-09-22 at 2.05.40 PMTriple ring spherical roller bearings play a significant role in the paper industry due to their unique design and capabilities. They are specifically engineered to meet the demanding requirements of paper machines, which operate under heavy loads, high speeds, and continuous running conditions. Here are some key reasons for the importance of triple ring spherical roller bearings in the paper industry: 

  • Load Capacity: Triple ring spherical roller bearings have a high load-carrying capacity, enabling them to support heavy loads encountered in paper machines. These machines involve various components, such as rolls, cylinders, and drying sections, which exert substantial forces. The robust design of triple ring bearings helps to distribute the load evenly and prevent premature failure. 
  • Misalignment Compensation: Paper machines often experience misalignments due to thermal expansion, machine vibrations, and other factors. Triple ring spherical roller bearings have the ability to accommodate misalignments, both static and dynamic, without compromising their performance. This capability ensures smooth operation and reduces the risk of damage to other machine components. 

  • High Speeds: Paper machines typically operate at high speeds to achieve efficient production. Triple ring spherical roller bearings are designed to withstand these high rotational speeds while maintaining their performance and reliability. They feature optimized cage designs, precise internal geometry, and advanced lubrication systems to handle the demands of high-speed applications. 
  • Long Service Life: The paper industry requires bearings that can endure continuous operation without frequent maintenance or replacement. Triple ring spherical roller bearings are built to withstand harsh operating conditions and provide extended service life. They are constructed using high-quality materials, advanced heat treatment processes, and effective sealing arrangements to enhance durability and minimize downtime. 

  • Reduced Maintenance Costs: By using triple ring spherical roller bearings in paper machines, maintenance costs can be reduced. These bearings are designed to minimize friction, heat generation, and wear, resulting in lower maintenance requirements and increased intervals between servicing. This advantage translates into improved productivity and cost savings for paper manufacturers.  

From producing paper to printing, it takes hundreds of different types of equipment and bearings to keep the Paper Industry rolling.  Bearings in the paper industry are subject to demanding operating conditions and are critical to the precision, durability, and safety of the equipment they are installed in.  

From our extensive inventory to our expert modification and repairs services, BDS and BMC have the resources to find a bearing solution that is right for your paper industry customers.   To learn more, contact one of our sales professionals and see what we can do for you. 

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Dean Payne

Dean Payne

My name is Dean Payne and I am the Sales Manager at BDS. I have been with BDS for 19 years and started when I was 18 years old in the warehouse. I have learned a little bit about bearings over the years and would consider myself a career-bearing guy at this point. I enjoy the challenges and the constant changing of nomenclature the bearing industry has to offer, you learn something new every single day.

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