This is the second installment of a 5 part series on bearing trends.
By David R. Mikalonis
Bearings equipped to perform multiple functions have taken bearing technology – and machinery – to higher levels of performance.
Example: Sensor-bearing units (integrating a sensor, an impulse ring, and a ball bearing) introduce a technology to provide precise information on the motion status of rotating or axially traveling machine parts. Relevant applications include electric motors, linear actuators, steering systems, conveying and handling systems, and automation equipment – with applications involving forklift technology especially accelerating.
These “intelligent” bearings can record number of revolutions, speed, direction of rotation, relative position/counting, and acceleration or deceleration. Sensors are characterized by uniform and high signal quality and insensitivity to vibration or high temperatures.
How they work: The bearing unit’s impulse ring moves past the stationary sensor ring when the inner ring rotates, generating a magnetic field of changing polarity. The sensor outputs a pulse, based on the number of polarity changes per second. The sensor output signal is then transmitted via connecting cable and used to generate the required application-specific information.