More load, less friction, longer life—the goal of every bearing designer is to optimize the combination of those seemingly incompatible goals. Until now, bearing designers worked primarily at the macroscopic level to achieve incremental improvements. Recently, however, SKF dipped into microscopic and molecular realms to produce a quantum leap in bearing performance.
The Explorer, the company's new family of spherical roller bearings, offers a lifetime up to three times as long as the company's existing top-of-the-line products, and a higher load-rating than bearings of similar size.
SKF says several factors contribute to the improvements, including the use of extremely clean steel with a minimal number of inclusions. The steel bearings undergo a patented heat treat process that optimizes the crystalline structure of the metal and increases its hardness by up to 1.5 HRC. Wear resistance is also increased by 60%. Engineers also chose a microscopic surface finish that combines with standard lubricants to create an oil film that reduces the amount of friction and heat produced.
The development of new, high-precision grinding and honing techniques, and new equipment to apply them also improve the ability of the bearings to accommodate axial and radial loads. The Explorer has become the new standard for SKF spherical roller bearings, retaining the same part numbers as the previous products. In practice, engineers can either specify the same bearing for a particular application and get the benefit of longer life, increased machine uptime, output, and higher load rating, or specify a smaller bearing for a given load rating.
Additional Details...SKF Applications Engineering Technical Hotline; Tel:(888)SKF-2000; FAX: (215) 513-4736; www.skfusa.com