The first in a short, 3-part series, Schaeffler’s Director – BU Production Machinery, NA, Craig Hooker gives Bearing Tips his take on trends he sees coming along for the industry.
Bearing Tips: According to Technavio analysts, the market for cloud-enabling technologies will grow nearly 15% annually through 2020. What sorts of sensor, feedback and IoT capabilities is Schaeffler supplying with its bearing components?
Hooker: There is a definitive trend for IoT or Industry 4.0 within our customer group. Sensing how a machine is performing from a component level can unlock many benefits to the end user. For example, if you can determine the exact load on a bearing during operation and acquire that data on a real time basis, you can use the data to more accurately predict when the machine will reach the end of its life. This could allow you to pre-order a replacement bearing and schedule maintenance on the machine. It may also allow you to “tune” the machine to compensate for the forces so that you can increase performance (i.e. for a machine tool, improve surface finish or increase cutting speed). While we have some predictive ability today, it’s typically based off of assumptions rather than real world data. Schaeffler is developing “sensorized” bearings that will machine builders to acquire more data directly from the bearing which is often the source of many variables that are critical to the machines operation. I’ve attached a press release on a project we worked on with DMG Mori that will give you more data on this subject.