Archive for June, 2015

Uses for Flanged Bearings

Friday, June 26th, 2015

There are so many types of bearings, and applications for them, it can be hard to keep them all straight.

Today, we’re going to discuss flanged bearings. We’ll go over what they are, and why they are useful in operation.

Flange bearings are bearings mounted in a cast iron flange and used with other bearing types. Three basic styles exist: the round or square four-bolt, the tri-cornered three-bolt, or the diamond-shaped two-bolt. They can be used with ball bearings, plain bearings, needle roller and roller bearings.

It’s common for most ball bearings to have flanges as options in their configurations. The flanges are aids in positioning, mounting, and operation, particularly for instrument or miniature bearings, but applicable to other bearing types, too.

On external housings that mount a bearing unit, flanges are used with bearings to help securely position them for reliable operation. The flange bearing provides support for a shaft that runs perpendicular to the bearing’s mounting surface. The material the actual bearing is made from on which the shaft rides can be plastic, bronze, or made of other materials.

Problems can arise when high speeds or heavy loads create shaft flex, vibrations, or axial load. With the addition of a flanged bearing, located in a way supportive to the shaft, these problems can be eased. Based on the speed and length of the shaft, the application may call for more than one bearing.

A ball bearing flange is commonly installed at the outer end of the shaft to provide low-friction, smooth rotary movement of the shaft. The small amount of contact in this application does not combat linear movement, however.

A plain bearing, or bushing, will provide a smooth flat surface to control linear movement by the shaft. This kind of a flange bearing will likely contain an oil-imbed nylon or bronze bushing so that it won’t require frequent oiling for continued operation.

Another type, the flange-mounted needle roller bearing can support radial loads, and may or may not require oiling, as some types come maintenance free.

If you need to account for radial load support and fight linear movement of the shaft, roller bearing flanges are the way to go. There is a greater contact patch of the long roller bearing, as opposed to a ball bearing, which gives the roller flange bearing the ability to support the greatest amount of load of all flange types. The added support just might come with a higher price tag.

Hopefully this gives you a basic idea of how flanges, when combined with different bearing types, are useful in combating different loads, and excess shaft movement. This ensures longer, and safer operation of machinery.

OPTIBELT USA – News and Spotlight

Friday, June 19th, 2015

Do you like to have all the info?

We’re like you. We like to do the research, and know firsthand what the companies and products we work with are “all about.”

That’s why today we are shining the proverbial spotlight on the company Optibelt, part of the Arntz OPTIBELT Group. Optibelt is a successful, and well known v-belt producing corporation whose headquarters recently re-located to Carol Stream, Illinois.

Optibelt has facilities in South Carolina, Texas, and California, as well; each with the capability of making custom cut widths for timing belts, banded v-belts, cogged v-belts, and ribbed belts.

In 2014, Optibelt was recognized for their third consecutive year as a Partner-Level Supplier in John Deere’s Achieving Excellence Program. Status as a Partner-Level Supplier is Deere & Company’s highest supplier rating.

It comes as no surprise that John Deere continues to recognize this outstanding company. Optibelt was chosen for this honor for their dedication to providing products and services of outstanding quality, and for their commitment to continual improvement.

Global Key Account Manager, Louis Giles, along with OEM Product Specialist, Waldemar Giesbrect accepted the award during the ceremonies that were held in Davenport, IA. Giles remarked, “This award is a great honor as it represents Optibelt’s ability deliver the very best products and service in the industry year after year.”

We certainly agree with him on that point.

What is the John Deere Achieving Excellence program, and why does it matter?

John Deere is an established company with a rich history and dedication to the land. They continually strive to improve their product cycle to deliver some of the world’s finest solutions and value in equipment, service, and support to their customers.

The Achieving Excellence Program is an innovative process aimed at developing relationships, promoting communication and continuous improvement throughout the product cycle as a whole. Annual evaluations are made of the suppliers who participate in John Deere’s Achieving Excellence program. Several key performance categories are looked at including quality, cost management, delivery, technical support and responsiveness.

Does it really matter to us that Optibelt was recognized by John Deere for their commitment to being a superior supplier?

Yes. It matters, because it shows continued commitment to their customer. It also shows us that they are currently capable of giving great service. They’re not up-and-coming. They’ve “made it.”

In other news, with their new headquarters located in northern Illinois, Optibelt USA can offer its customers even better service. This was a necessary relocation in response to the continuously growing market.

There are plenty advantages to the new location:

With 2500 square meters of space, more goods can be warehoused and shipped quickly to customers, because of added personnel. Not only can they increase inventory of their main product lines, Optibelt will also be able to maintain an inventory of new products and keep them continuously in stock. Lastly, being near to the metropolis region of Chicago has its benefits in the area of excellent transportation connections.

Here’s to v-belts, and the v-belt suppliers that continually meet our needs.

Four-Point Contact Bearings

Friday, June 12th, 2015

In the bearing industry today, design engineers are being challenged with the ever-growing need to create simpler designs, get rid of excess, and thereby reduce weight and cost of machinery. There just isn’t much time anymore for machinery down time, space is tight, and production demand is high. A bearing that can take on several jobs at once can be identified as an ideal piece to the puzzle. That’s why today we will go over the applications and advantages to using four-point contact ball bearings over double row bearings.

Let’s first define what a four-point contact ball bearing is – a bearing with raceways designed to support axial loads in both directions, and a radial single row angular contact. With a split inner ring, the bearing can hold a large number of balls. This gives it a high load carrying capacity. And, the outer ring can be mounted separately from the two inner ring halves.

Typical manufacturing for four-point contact ball bearings is of traditional antifriction bearing material. Of course, the application will call for any specific material, just like any other bearing. This can mean high-carbon alloy or stainless steel are necessary choices. Depending on the manufacturer, there may be other characteristics in a four-point contact bearing. SKF, for example, employs a recessed shoulder on the inner ring halves of their four-point contact ball bearings, improving oil flow during operation, and ease of dismounting.

Four-point contact bearings are primarily utilized for slow to moderate-speed applications with mainly oscillatory movements, but application specific bearings can also be designed, if needed. A thirty-five degree contact angle off the radial center line is typical, but again, this can be varied to match the application. You’ll want to contact the manufacturer for any application specific concerns.

What makes this type of bearing special, and a tremendous help in machine simplification, is that with each axial load it supports, a radial load can also be supported, simultaneously. This idea simplifies machine designs with a combination of axial, radial, and moment loads. With the four-point contact bearing taking place of double row bearings, much less space is required in the machine. Wow – so we know the four-point contact bearing can handle all three types of load, in any order thrown at it. But, besides tossing aside the need for one bearing, what other benefits do they have?

Since a four-point contact bearing can take on multiple jobs at once, a second bearing is rendered unnecessary. Without a second bearing…

  • Accuracy increases
  • No need for runout or diameter matching
  • No chance of wobble from two bearings that develop unequal runout
  • No more maintenance necessary than any other bearing (perhaps less)

As bearing technology continues to change and grow, machines are getting smaller, more dependable, and less work to maintain. These are all good things, which is why embrace these changes. Follow along with us here, as we strive to always keep you informed.

SKF Partners with Chinese for Wind Energy Market

Friday, June 5th, 2015

A press release from March 4, 2015 states that global bearings manufacturer, SKF, has strengthened their relationship with Chinese wind power gearbox manufacturer, Chongqing Gearbox Co., Ltd. The two companies mutually hope to develop more competitive solutions for the wind energy market in the recent future.

This subsidiary of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation specializes in manufacturing gearboxes, couplings, and dampers. Through the three-year strategic partnership agreement signed in March, SKF will become Chongqing Gearbox Co., Ltd.’s main bearing supplier. SKF will also provide the Chinese company with engineering support to enhance collaboration efforts.

“We are welcoming the strategic partnership agreement since it will invigorate our already existing cooperation further. We hope for a close collaboration where we can combine our skills with goal to develop competitive solutions for the wind energy market,” says Sunny Chan, SKF Sales Director, Energy and Drives, China. Source: SKF

SKF’s search for wind energy collaboration across the globe comes as no surprise. SKF is not new to the wind energy market, already supplying bearings, seals, and condition monitoring systems that enable more wind-energy generation and cost-effectiveness. SKF’s engineers work to provide solutions that will optimize the reliability and performance of wind turbines. They are able to do this most effectively by partnering with equipment manufacturers and wind farm operators, just as they sought to solidify a partnership with Chongqing Gearbox Co., Ltd.

In addition, SKF is not ignorant to growing market demand for product which provide energy conservation and environmental preservation, making them an ideal partner for Chongqing Gearbox Co., Ltd. In fact, collaboration aimed to provide better solutions on the wind energy market align well with SKF’s BeyondZero portfolio, which includes products and solutions that aim to bring significant environmental benefits to their customers.

SKF’s BeyondZero initiative was designed to help preserve the balance of the atmosphere, promote efficient and responsible use of land resources, and avoid toxic discharges into water sources. SKF also lives up to their reputation for environmental care by partnering with WWF Climate Savers.

It will be exciting to see how SKF’s growing relationship with Chongqing Gearbox Co., Ltd. further enhances wind energy design. We hope to see innovative solutions on the wind energy market with increased energy production and reliability, combined with reduced operating costs, maintenance, and environmental impact. Hopefully, we won’t have to look too far ahead. SKF is setting a prime example for bearings manufacturers and the impact they can have on the global market, and on the world today, if they take on the same responsible strategies.