Basic bearing design has remained largely static over the last few decades. But some emerging industries have people curious about how specialized application demands might foster changes in bearing design. Is this really the case?
We spoke with Steve Katz of Emerson Bearing Boston to hear about what he sees coming down the line for bearings. We wanted to know if industries like medical, semiconductor and electronics, aerospace and defense, automotive, machinery manufacturing, or food and beverage were really changing fundamental bearing design. According to Katz, it looks like basic design is staying the same for the foreseeable future. Materials and coatings, however, are a different story.
“The industries mentioned above are still using bearings of a standard style in terms of their envelope dimensions however the changes that occurring are in upgrading from traditional 52100 chrome steel to various styles of Stainless Steel, Ceramics and even Titanium races in severe applications. Lubrication is also an efficient way of upgrading performance for particular application with high-end synthetic greases and solid lubricants that sit within the bearing cavity.
Another example of evolving design is in Traction Motor design. The growing use of ceramic coatings and/or ceramic rolling elements has allowed designers to keep the same basic envelope dimensions of a standard bearing but greatly reduce electric currents from passing thru the bearing and reduce B10 life dramatically.”
Emerson Bearing Boston