Rolling bearings manufacturer SKF has developed its new Bus Door Actuator as part of the company’s BeyondZero portfolio initiative, which is a strategy aimed at having a positive impact on the environment.
A single bus using Bus Door Actuators prevents the emission of 1.9 t of carbon dioxide a year, compared with a bus using pressurised air to operate its doors. This figure is valid for one diesel hybrid city bus with six doors, using one actuator per door.
“The actuator uses 80% to 90% less energy than a pneumatic system and, because of this, the compressor system size can be reduced to fit smaller engines,” says SKF Actuation System GM Richard Klausen.
He explains that these benefits produce a 3% improvement in fuel economy.
The actuator integrates electrical and mechanical elements for precise control of the door’s speed and position. It has been subjected to extensive testing and verification.
“Owing to their controlled motion, there is significantly less wear on mechanical parts. Installation of the SKF Bus Door Actuator is a simple drop-in replacement. The robust construction, integrated elec- tronics and software deliver repeatable operation, regardless of temperature, load or wear variations,” states Klausen.
The company has also developed a computerised wheel end monitoring sensor, which is fitted to the axle steel rim of a tyre and monitors the condition of the bearing.
“It ensures that the bearing is working by monitoring tyre pressure and load capacity. Bearing failure generally happens as a result of overloading and poor tyre maintenance,” says SKF key account manager for commercial vehicles and agriculture Thinus Lindique.
“The wheel end monitoring system pre-empts bearing failure and alerts operators when the truck needs to be serviced,” she says.
Meanwhile, SKF’s global Brand Protection division recently initiated a raid on a suspected counterfeit bearing supplier.
The company states that many small operators manufacture low-quality bearings, and use SKF’s and other reputable brands’ branding and packaging to sell the product.
“Fake imports and the manufacturing of counterfeit SKF products are major problems. People either manufacture the subpar products themselves or import them from overseas. The counterfeit branding is done very well, so it is difficult to spot the difference between the genuine bearings and the fake ones,” Lindique explains.
He states that the pirated bearings are priced the same as the original SKF bearings, which makes it even more difficult for customers to distinguish the genuine products from the counterfeit products.
“The fake bearings are used in mines, in pulp and paper mills, as well as on trucks. Potentially, when they fail or break, they can be dangerous. For example, a failed bearing can easily tip a truck,” he says.
SKF has a team that is dedicated to detect- ing and destroying counterfeit bearings.
“The team takes photos of suspected counterfeit products and sends this information to our Brand Protection division in Sweden. We also try to establish where the fake bearings were manufactured and bought.
The best way to safeguard product authenticity is to source SKF products through SKF authorised distributors,” Lindique emphasises.