A Level Physics students have developed an automated process for chamfering bearing components which could save a Llanelli automotive component manufacturing plant £32,000 per year.
By automating the process of chamfering a new high volume ball bearing, student engineers from Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr School in Wales will help Schaeffler’s manufacturing plant in Bynea reduce costs on an annual basis. The engineering project was recently awarded the ‘Best Innovative Solution’ at this year’s EESW (Engineering Education Scheme Wales) Work of Excellence exhibition.
The objective of the project was to design an automated process for chamfering a specific type of ball bearing manufactured at the Schaeffler plant. The existing process at Bynea was a manual one, with one operator dedicated to the operation.
The final model of the machine the team designed consisted of sloped tracks of low friction material, so that gravity could be used to move the components to a pre-determined point, where a pneumatic cylinder was then used to move the parts individually into the correct location for chamfering. To align the part, ensuring that the chamfer tool locates correctly, a wheel-type mechanism was then used to rotate the component. During the rotation process, two-location dowels were raised by a spring in order to lock the part in the correct position, before chamfering the hole perfectly.
The solution reduced the time taken for chamfering by 20 per cent. Schaeffler UK is now constructing a full-scale construction of the model at the Bynea plant.