Peachtree City, GA —The way design engineer Dave Kayser figures it, he would have paid more for the mounting block to retain a needle bearing than he would have paid for the bearing itself in a new machine he's working on. "We wanted a design that was inexpensive, yet durable," says Kayser, a senior mechanical designer at Pitney Bowes. "The question was how to mount the bearing in sheet metal panels only 2 mm thick?"
Kayser almost had to scrap his original thin-wall design, which would have meant coming up with some sort of housing and figuring out a way to manage any tooling hole misalignment. But then he came across a new type of bearing that combines a rolling element with a self-clinching retainer, allowing direct installation of the bearing into sheet metal as thin as 1 mm.
Called ReadyMount™, the patented bearing also features a self-aligning insert that compensates for up to a±5°misalignment of hole centers on the chassis assembly.
The bearing, the result of a joint development effort between Spyraflo and the Torrington Co. (Torrington, CT), is one of two new bearing products that incorporate Spyraflo's mounting and alignment technology. The other product, co-developed with Garlock Bearings (Thorofare, NJ), is a bushing with the same self-clinching, self-aligning capabilities.
Spyraflo has manufactured a self-clinching mount and various self-aligning products for 35 years. And although it may sound like an easy enough exercise to integrate these technologies into bearing units, Spyro-flo's Peter Allen says that a fair amount of engineering was required. "In order to give the insert the strength required to retain a needle bearing, for example, we had to make it out of steel," says Allen. "We also had to produce the insert to exacting tolerances in order to meet the technical requirements for mounting the bearing."
Targeted for use in price-sensitive assemblies that require smooth-running shafts, the ReadyMount bearing is already making its way into a number of OEM applications.
As for the new bushing product, Spyraflo just introduced it at the National Design Engineering Show in Chicago in mid-March. Allen expects it to do as well as the ReadyMount.