Archive for July, 2015

Company Holds Bearings Innovation Contest

Friday, July 31st, 2015

There’s so much going on in the bearings industry at the major manufacturer level that sometimes the cool, small-scale, innovative stuff gets overshadowed.

That’s why we’re taking time to spotlight a company that is inspiring young people to get their hands on projects, and ultimately become our next generation of engineers, mechanics, and inventors.

When I heard about this contest, I thought it was so cool, and immediately wanted to share it with you.

The Innovation Contest

The Boca Bearing Company is giving away cash and prizes as part of their 2015 Innovation Contest. This is the third round of this innovation contest put on by Boca Bearing. It began in 2012, and was held again in 2014. You can see previous winners here.

Applicants from around the world are invited to participate in this contest. The company will choose winners based on their video submissions that will showcase how their projects work, and the ideas behind them.

The rules are that each project must incorporate the use of ball bearings, linear bearings, roller bearings, full ceramic or ceramic hybrid bearings. The bearings can be incorporated anywhere in their application.

Here’s the exciting part – you can vote for the winner!

The voting public will determine the winners in September, October and November. You can vote here. Each monthly winner will receive a GoPro Hero3 Camera. Then, two runner-ups will receive a 3D Printer from Type A Machines, and the first prize winner will receive $5,000.

About Boca Bearing Company

Specializing in miniature bearings for robotics and recreation, the Boca Bearing Company is located in Boynton Beach, Florida.

Boca Bearings wants to recognize the creativity and ingenuity of those people around the world who are building various machines out of pure creativity. There isn’t anything expected of them, they just have an idea and want to see it come to life.

The company hopes to inspire young people to take on the building and manufacturing of projects so that they become actively involved in the industry in the future. They strive to support individuals and companies which focus on art, science, technology, engineering & math.

Below is a video introducing the Boca Bearings 2015 Innovation Contest. Enjoy!

SKF to Supply Bearings for UTC’s Aerospace Business

Friday, July 24th, 2015

Bearings manufacturing giant, SKF, signed an agreement in June to support United Technologies Corporation’s (UTC) aerospace business as a supplier.

SKF will supply UTC with precision roller bearings, ball bearings, main shaft bearings, as well as seals, and the precision elastomeric components to be used for helicopter applications.

As an addition to the agreement, SKF has agreed to deliver engine bearings to the company Pratt & Whitney, which is a division of UTC. Pratt & Whitney intend to use the engine bearings in their Next Generation Product Family geared turbofan engines.

Long-Term Business Partners

SKF and UTC have been doing business since the 1950’s, so this agreement comes as no surprise. UTC President, Aerospace, Rutger Barrdahl noted:

“Through this contract, we ensure that SKF’s technology and bearings continue to play a part in the development of aircraft that are more fuel efficient, with lower engine noise, and deliver improved environmental performance.” Source:

Looking at the company’s profit profile, UTC was ranked number 5 in Flight Global’s 2013 Top 100 Aerospace Companies article. That’s good evidence that UTC is big business in the aerospace industry.

SKF, excited and ready to continue fortifying their relationship with UTC, has already begun delivering to UTC’s aerospace business locations.

SKF in the Aerospace Industry

SKF is known as a world-leading supplier of a variety of aerospace solutions. Their products produced specifically for the aerospace industry include various bearings, seals, rods, struts, aero-engines, gearboxes, and precision elastomeric devices.

In addition, SKF supplies aerospace customers with reliable replacement parts, overhaul services, and high-performance alloy steels for aerospace applications.

With over 130 companies spanning in 32 countries, and counting, SKF has made itself a key player in catering to the aerospace industry around the world.

We look forward to watching companies like SKF grow and expand their reach in various industries, and sharing with you the details when they do. It’s certainly due to their extensive research and constant effort to improve their products to meet industry needs, that the SKF family of companies continues to grow and thrive.

The 3 Types of Ball Bearing Materials

Friday, July 17th, 2015

The range of applications for ball bearings is so wide, it’s essential that there are different material options available for designers and manufacturers.

We’re going to give you a rundown of the pros and cons of each ball bearing material – steel, ceramic, and plastic.

Steel Ball Bearings

Steel is a tried and true material. Steel ball bearings are a good solution for many design engineers, who typically design the bearing to contain all-steel parts.

Ideal for applications with extremely high loads or fast rotations per minute, steel ball bearings also tend to be more precise due to the ideal clearances they can achieve.

All good things come with some disadvantages, though.

Steel ball bearings are usually pretty heavy, a bit noisy, and can lack chemical resistance. This is depending on the grade of steel.

Each manufacturer uses its own version of bearings, but typically will offer its products in various types of steel, including a 300 series (soft stainless), a 400 series, or chrome steel.

They may also require a constant lubrication process, which costs time and money for continued maintenance. Additionally, humid or wet environments could corrode the steel, making it unreliable.

Since there are so many steel bearing manufacturers out there, the options and variety of prices may overwhelm you.

Furthermore, in medical applications, its magnetic properties can cause problems.

Ceramic Ball Bearings

Hybrids are the most common type of ceramic ball bearing, indicating the outer ceramic material helps the bearing to operate faster at a cooler temperature, with less noise and vibration as well.

These bearings are usually more resistant to corrosion, lighter in weight, and can be used in electrical and medical applications since they’re nonconductive. Most can even operate in temperatures of up to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit.

These bearings may seem attractive, but they do tend to be very expensive.

Plastic Ball Bearings

Plastic ball bearings are much newer on the market, and have certain advantages that ceramic or steel ball bearings do not.

These ball bearings are typically comprised of all-plastic races, a plastic cage, and plastic, glass or stainless steel balls. The material chosen for the balls is dependent upon the type of environment in which the bearing will be used.

If weight and noise are critical to control, plastic ball bearings are the answer. In whatever configuration, glass balls or plastic balls, plastic ball bearings are great for applications with normal to high speeds.

They are also self-lubricating, resist corrosion, and operate quietly. Their light weight characteristic can also be advantageous in certain weight sensitive applications.

There are a few instances when plastic ball bearings should not be used – including applications with higher loads, or long-running temperatures over 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Timken Joint Venture with EPK

Friday, July 10th, 2015

As The Timken Company endeavors to manufacture and sell bearing products in the industrial markets of Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, they have agreed on a joint venture with the European Bearing Corporation (EPK).

Global Growth for Timken

Continuing to pursue global growth opportunities, Timken is investing in locations where critical market sectors like energy and infrastructure development are expected to generate a higher demand for bearing production. Timken’s presence in these types of emerging economies will surely enhance their position in the bearings market. The joint venture with the EPK is a good strategic move for them. Timken is already well-established on the global bearings market, with 19,000 people operating in 28 different countries around the world.

About the EPK

The EPK is known as the largest bearing manufacturer in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region, with a history of producing bearings for each mechanical engineering industry. In addition, they represent the Russian bearing industry on a global scale, as part of the International Standards Organization (ISO). There are around 11,130 people employed with EPK, and its status as a “BB” company with a stable forecast from the Standard & Poor’s bodes well for their partnership with Timken.

The EPK-Timken Bearing Company

Timken’s bearing designs and manufacturing techniques will pair well in the Russian sector with the EPK’s already established position as a manufacturer there for over 20 years. Together, they will operate as EPK-Timken Bearing Company. At this time, they are 24 to 36 months away from production.

“This agreement represents a coordinated commitment to provide industrial customers with a single source of bearings locally that deliver the most reliable performance to meet their current and future needs,” stated CEO Alexander Moskalenko, of EPK. Source:

A Consolidated Approach

The two bearing manufacturers intend for a consolidated approach to the marketplace, meaning their industrial sales teams will be combined, and they will work together in a newly built manufacturing facility. Plans for the facility have not yet been released. The location is yet to be determined, although construction was set to begin in 2015, with production capabilities in the following 2-3 years. Together, they intend to produce large bore industrial bearings in the new facility.

Timken’s expertise in the bearing market continues to be of value to us here in the U.S. and all over the world. We look forward to seeing their growth within the Russian sector in the years to come.

Bearings – Fun Facts!

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

While it’s true that bearings might not come up in everyday conversations, they may never be the theme at Bingo night, or even come up during a heated game of trivia – but there are definitely a few things about bearings you don’t yet know, and they are far from boring!

Bearings Aren’t New

Yes, there are many new ways we’ve found to implement the handy little buggers, but that’s not to say bearings haven’t in fact been around a very long time.

It’s easy to think that bearings just sprouted up out of nowhere as modern technology has risen in the last 50 years, but they’ve been around far longer than that.

Thousands of years ago, the ancient Egyptians used a form of roller bearings to build massive structures such as the great pyramids.

Remains of Roman ships dating back to 40 BC have been found with wooden ball bearings that supported rotating tables.

Bearings manufacturing giant, Timken, was issued their first patent for Timken Tapered Roller Bearings back in 1898.

Bearings are Everywhere

Did you ever hear the phrase, “a spider has eight legs and there’s always one within eight feet of you?” It would be easy to guess the same is true for bearings.

If you take a quick look around, you will notice bearings are everywhere, all around you. They’re in water heaters, microwaves, computers, airplanes, satellites, telescopes, washing machines, skateboards, and the list goes on and on.

Bearings are Perfect

In shape and structure, that is.

If you were to take it upon yourself to attempt to file down a ball bearing – in the how many licks does it take to get to the center of a lollipop kind of way – your file would be guaranteed to wear out long before the ball bearing ever does!

Secondly, they’re perfectly round. For a fun comparison – if you were to expand a ball bearing to match the size of the Earth, you would notice that the ball bearing would be more round than the Earth itself. This has to do with centrifugal forces pulling at the Earth, making it an oblate spheroid rather than a perfect spherical object.

Bearings Won the World’s First Bicycle Race

According to the New World Encyclopedia’s history of bearings: In August of 1869, the first French patent for ball bearings was received by Parisian bicycle mechanic Jules Suriray. Shortly after that, James Moore came in first place in the world’s first bicycle race, the Paris-Rouen, in November of 1869. His first place medal was no doubt thanks to the new bearings that had been fitted to his bike.

We Once Declared War on Bearings

During the Second World War, factories in Germany that manufactured ball bearings were often targeted to be destroyed. Reason being, the bearings were an essential part of the war industry in Germany, and thus destroying them gave the Allies a much needed headway. Schweinfurt was one location of a major bearings manufacturing plant that was targeted.

Bearings Make the World Go ‘Round

Global demand is pushing bearing manufacturers to churn out more product, faster, with ever more innovative designs. As consumers and corporations demand more from technology, and the bearings market continues to grow, we’re sure to see bearings play an important role in our future.