SKF has developed a spherical roller bearing which it claims can accommodate 25% higher torque and last three times as long as standard bearings. The development will make it possible to design smaller, cheaper gearboxes which require less lubrication.
Called Explorer, the bearing uses a heavy-duty steel cage, floating guide ring and self guiding rollers. Its developers focused on improving the effectiveness of friction-reducing lubrication by studying the interactions between each component within the bearing.
Components were re-engineered down to a molecular level as part of the design. By reducing the amount of oxygen in steel used to manufacture Explorer, SKF produced a more homogenous crystalline microstructure reducing stress within the bearing.
Geometry has also been researched and optimised for the bearing’s rollers, cage and raceway. Explorer will be produced at SKF’s factory in Luton.