Developer and manufacturer of precision bearings products for machines, equipment and vehicles the Schaeffler group reports that its most recent product developments for the industrial sector are the tube roller bearing and the ball roller bearing.
Tube roller bearings are conventional cylindrical roller bearings that are aimed at a specific running condition.
These have been adapted so that three of the rollers are slightly larger in diameter than the norm, and are designed as hollow tube rollers.
The purpose of this is to enable the bearing to withstand varying loads.
When the loading is low, it only uses the three hollow rollers to keep the rolling elements rotating by having a slight preload between contact surfaces.
When the load suddenly becomes heavy, the hollow rollers will flex slightly without exceeding the elastic limit of the steel to enable the solid rollers to carry the load.
"Underloading a bearing can be just as damaging as overloading because, when the load is not heavy enough, the rollers slide or skid instead of turn.
"The hollow roller bearing is particularly suited to steel mill applications, where the load varies substantially," says Schaeffler South Africa field service engineer Eugene Nortje.
The ball roller bearing is similar to the average ball bearing, the difference being that 15% of each side of the ball rollers has been ground down, resulting in a ball bearing that is 30% narrower than the average.
A range of flat-sided ball bearings has been released and is application dependent - these are the single row series BXRE, special series wheel bearings, double row in O arrangement series BXRO and the double row in tandem arrangement BXRT.
The advantage of a narrower ball bearing is that it is able to fit into more compact designs.
It can also be used in a standard design, as two are able to fit next to each other, which results in higher load-carrying capacity.
Meanwhile, Schaeffler South Africa has experienced improved sales in the lubrication market since the start of the recession, given the significant need for better maintenance.
"The recession spurred this movement as plant owners tried to save money by maintaining their plant instead of buying new bearings, and lubrication plays a key role in bearing maintenance," concludes Nortje.