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How Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Can Revolutionize Agriculture

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International has issued a report saying that if commercial use of drones is sanctioned by the Federal Aviation Administration, 80% of demand for these aircraft will be within agriculture.

Drones have been a hot point of debate for quite some time now. While they are not currently allowed for long distance scouting expeditions due to safety concerns, farmers and ranch owners have always found innovative uses for them.

Take for instance the ability of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to scare away pests like pigeons and crows. It is a modern day take of the scare-crow and proves to be more effective. But given the vast potential of these vehicles, leveraging them to act as crop sentinels is barely scratching the surface.

Both Europe and Japan are more open to the idea of unmanned aerial vehicles, and while prices vary, they are largely becoming more affordable.

What Can a Drone Accomplish?

The question is: What can it not? Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union has very high expectations from drones once farmers receive the green signal to put them to commercial use.

  • Surveying and taking stock of crop produce and health – Drones can be equipped with high resolution cameras and infra-red attachments to scout farmlands and crop sections any time of the day or night. Even though agricultural businesses rely on satellite data to get estimates of crop production, the drones will take this to the next level with detailed photographs and data sheets which can allow farmers to make more accurate estimations of the net crop produce of a cycle, variability in crop production (areas that are thriving, areas that are not yielding as per expectations) and the overall health of the crops (spotting weed infestation, determining whether crop patches are receiving the same volume of water and so on).

In short, productivity can be maximized and terrain related problem areas identified and eliminated much faster. This will reduce expenses ultimately ensuring consumers have to pay less.

  • Administering chemicals – In the future, as soon as a drone spots a weed infestation and relays the data back to the farmer, he or she can use a smartphone application to direct the drone to sprinkle herbicide on the infected patches. This will provide a much faster resolution of the problem, potentially saving thousands of dollars over an annual production cycle.
  • Care of livestock – Another possible use for drones is taking care of livestock and cattle. Drones can spot wayward cows and other ranch animals. When UAVs become popular, farmers may opt for tracking collars so drones will be able to pick the signals autonomously. The UAVs can also spot temperature differences amongst livestock so that sick animals can be targeted for treatment.
  • Complimenting other activities – Drones are so versatile that once they enter the commercial domain, farmers can come up with dozens of ways to automate standard farm activities. Another example is checking the population of fish in farm owned streams by spotting and estimating the size of shoals. An accurate and updated log of this information will ensure that illegal fishing is identified and stopped before it can significantly reduce the profit and tamper with the ecological balance of the area.

Once drones become a mainstay of agriculture, significant improvements can be expected in the volume of production and cost of maintaining farmlands. However, ranch owners and other users will have to ensure that their UAVs do not violate the privacy of their neighbors and stay well within designated borders. Bunting Bearings LLC is proud to supply the highest quality machined parts manufactured in the US to support and accelerate the production of commercial use drones.

West Coast Ports Crisis Highlights Importance of “Made in USA” Products

West Coast Ports Crisis Image

Image from Thomson Reuters

Though the recent West Coast ports crisis has officially ended, the event highlights the need for manufacturers and distributors to take a hard look at their supply chains and determine how they can prevent future disruptions. The weeks-long port strike officially ended on Saturday, February 21st, however major congestion is expected for another six to eight weeks. According to the Pacific Maritime Association’s annual report, as noted by Bloomberg, West Coast ports play an integral role in the U.S. economy as they are responsible for more than 43% of trade in the nation.

As could be expected, the crisis led to numerous logistical issues in the United States and abroad. California orange growers were already under pressure as unusual weather caused the fruit to ripen a month early. Adding a shipping roadblock to the mix only made the problem worse, as more than a quarter of the oranges grown were meant to be exported to Asia. And unlike durable goods, produce cannot sit in a warehouse for long before spoiling – leading to lost profits for growers and lost product for overseas distributors.

So what can be done to remedy or prevent situations like this from happening in the future? As a business owner or supply chain professional, the number one recommendation is to ensure that as many products as possible are manufactured and sold among North American businesses. By localizing your supply chain, you can avoid the complications associated with international shipping.

Many of our clients were largely immune to the ports crisis thanks to our commitment to American manufacturing. At Bunting Bearings, all of our metal products are made here in the United States, allowing our customers to continue running their businesses as usual without having to worry about parts being stuck overseas or on the cargo ships held off California. We are proud to be a supplier of American made metal products, and look forward to discussing how our bearings and cast materials can improve your product performance.

Bunting’s Innovative BB16 Bearings

When most people think of a powder metal bearing they think of Bronze normally made to the SAE841, MPIF CT-1000-K26 or similar specification, but they don’t think of powder metal for heavy loaded bearing applications. Many years ago Bunting pioneered BB16 as a heat treated iron copper material to handle these applications. It was branded as “The world’s best kept secret” but this is no longer true for some heavy industry users.

Typical uses of Bunting’s BB16 material are for off road equipment, earth moving equipment, escalators and the US Military. BB16 is heat treated to a Rockwell Hardness B scale (HRB) of 70 to increase its resistance to deformity under heavy loads. Similar to our standard Bronze bearing line, BB16 bearings are vacuum impregnated with Oil. However BB16 bearings contain extreme pressure oil which remains in the pores of the bearing to provide lubrication from the bearing to the shaft during operation. However, BB16 possesses a maximum load value of 8,000 psi (pounds per square inch), a maximum velocity value of 35 sfpm (surface feet per minute), and a maximum load-at-velocity (PV) value of 75,000. BB16 bearings can operate at temperatures ranging from -10 degrees F to 220 F (-12 degrees C to 104 C). If your application requires a self-lubricating bearing that can withstand high loads, then Buntings BB16 may be able to solve your problem.

Our Powdered Metal Bearings Are Right for You

Typically, the powdered metal process is used for high volume production of bronze bearings. However, we have found that many of our clients prefer powdered metal bearings, but do not necessarily need large volumes of product. That is where we step in.

We offer the advantages of powdered metal bearings for less traditional purposes. For example, if you need to produce prototypes and require an initial low volume of parts before full production, we can manufacture a powdered metal bearing for you, saving you money.

Here at Bunting Bearings, we offer clients a wide range of powdered metal self-lubricating solid and cored bars. Additionally, we stock over 200 different bars in bronze and iron copper, which can be customized to specific requirements. Whether your bearing needs to withstand 700 degrees F or requires strength of 22,000 psi, we will find the right powdered metal bearing to fit your needs. Specifically, we stock the standard SAE841, that has a working temperature range of 10 degrees F to 200 degrees F, and conforms to CT-1000-K26, the Dri Plane, which uses a proprietary compound for dry lubrication and high temperature applications, a military specification grade bronze, which conforms to CTG-1001-K23, and iron copper bars, which conform to SAE863 specifications.

The vast selection of bearings and products that we offer are available right now, in multiple sizes, and for a variety of uses. Our knowledgeable and experienced team is here to help answer any questions or concerns that you may have for your particular applications. Remember, we are one of the largest producers of bronze bearings in the U.S. and offer the highest quality products available. Powdered Metal Bearings

Bearing with your Custom Needs

There are times when off-the shelf bearings or “it will be done in weeks” just won’t do. While most of our customers come to Bunting Bearings for our outstanding standard bearings and casting capabilities, there are those that need custom machining and quicker turnaround times. At Bunting Bearings neither one of these challenges is a problem!

Custom Capabilities

If you need custom bearings or machined products, then Bunting Bearings is the place for you. We are proud to offer our customers comprehensive on-site custom machining facilities. Our state-of-the-art and innovative facilities produce bearings and components that meet or exceed the highest and toughest industry standards. Thanks to Bunting’s skilled craftsmen and our computerized numerical controlled (CNC) machining lathes, mills, and other ancillary equipment, we can produce components from ¼” up to 20” in diameter. In addition, our design and engineering group are here to take you through the design of your custom bearings and components at no extra cost!Custom machined products

Bunting Express

As if our custom machining capabilities were not enough, now we also offer Bunting Express. This fast track machining service is perfect for everything from getting a last minute order turned around quickly to helping you out if your machinery or plant is down for repairs. Bunting Express offers:

  • Quick and Accurate Quotes
  • A Dedicated Machine Shop in our Holland, Ohio facility
  • A Dedicated Team of Machinists
  • Bronze Components that are perfect for Prototypes & Pre-Production
  • 2 Hour Quote Time and 48 hours for Delivery of Parts

The key to everything we do at Bunting Bearings, whether it is our custom capabilities or our new Bunting Express service, is knowing that you are getting unmatched and industry-leading customer service and quality, plus the knowledge of over 100 years of experience today!

Why to Be Conflict-Free

Conflict minerals—specifically tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold—are some of the most commonly used, yet controversial substances in the world. They’ve been used in everything from household electronics and mobile phones to machinery and assemblies.

Also known as 3TG minerals, the reason for their controversy is the highly unethical and tragic behavior linked to their sourcing. Mainly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the looting and sale of these minerals has financed various rebel groups who have controlled the region and inflicted various atrocities on its people. At least 50% of the mines from which these minerals come are guarded by armed militia, while the miners themselves, including young children, work in horrendous conditions.

As a result, Section 1502 of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, passed January 1, 2013, requires that all public companies who utilize minerals included in the conflict minerals list investigate the origin of these minerals and source them from non-conflict regions.

While we are a privately held company and therefore not subject to the rule, we guarantee that, to the best of our knowledge, our supply chain does not include any conflict minerals that originate in the Democratic Republic of Congo or its adjoining countries. We are a company committed to ethical practices and will continue to remain DRC conflict-free.

The cost of doing business is never worth supporting unjust causes or conditions, and we encourage everyone to pledge to a DRC conflict-free supply chain. To learn more about the problem, and what’s being done to stop it, visit this website.

Breaking Down Bronze Bearings

Are you in the food or food processing industry? If so, you must know the importance of using parts and products that meet the stringent standards of the industry, as the cleanliness, durability, and integrity of the products are necessary and important. What about those in the oil and gas industries—high lubrication parts are integral for making machines and products run smoothly. When it comes to bronze bearings, high quality and high strength are important characteristics.

This is where Bunting Bearings can step in. Not many people realize the wide range and scope of our powdered metal and high strength bronze bearings. We realize that the end application determines what bearing is needed for a specific project, and the bearing’s particular characteristics definitely help dictate the required bearing.Bronze bearings

What are some of the bronze bearings we can offer our clients? First, the SAE841 bronze bearing, which is an industry standard. For those in the food industry, we have the Eco 481 bearing, which meets the USDA standards. Our SAE 841 extra lubricant with PTFE sleeve bearing features a PTFE additive in the oil. When it comes to stop/start applications, it allows for smoother running and an easier brake-in period. Does your application involve high temperatures? Then try the Dri-Plane® bearings, which have a dry lubricant, making them suitable for temperatures up to 700⁰ F or 371⁰ C. Not only that, but our bronze bearings are produced to the exacting requirements of ASTM standard B438-13 as well. For applications that need high load-bearing materials, good wear characteristics, and compressive strength, the PVC bearings are a good option.

Bronze bearingsThese bearings are available, right now, in a number of styles and sizes, and they are only a sampling of the bearings we offer. We are here to help our customers connect with the bronze bearings needed for their specific applications. What type of bronze bearing can we help you with?

Sustainability: What it Means for Materials

Sustainability. By now, you have certainly heard of this term, for it is quickly becoming a hot topic in all industries. According to the Environmental Leader publication, sustainability “is the collection of policies and strategies employed by companies to minimize their environmental impact on future generations.” Depending on your specific industry and type of business, sustainability – or becoming environmentally-friendly—can mean a variety of different things. For power generation or oil companies, it can mean cutting down on the types of emissions released into the air. For packaging companies, it can mean the difference between using plastic and paper materials. For those in machining and industrial applications, such as marine, medical, utilities, commercial and oil markets, lead-free and eco-friendly materials are essential.

For material and bearings manufacturers like us, it is necessary to meet the needs and demands of the customers. As more and more companies are looking for ways to become “green” and the government is beginning to issue various environmentally-aware standards, green and lead-free materials are going to be sought out at a high demand.

To us personally, sustainability has driven us to discover and offer materials that can be considered green. Our most popular eco-friendly alloy so far has been the C95400 aluminum bronze alloy, which is completely lead free. Other alloys that are considered no-lead replacements for currently or historically used leaded alloys are the B04, no-lead bearing bronze, as well as C86300 manganese bronze. All of these alloys are manufactured to be applicable for heavy earth moving equipment, roll neck bearings, and machine tool bearings.

In the industry’s quest to become more green and environmentally-aware, we are embracing the hot topic of sustainability and applying it to our business. How are you celebrating sustainability?