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Gothenburg, 26 October 2016:
Alrik Danielson, President andCEO:
“Organic sales were relatively unchangedcompared to last year. According to seasonality, organic sales werelower compared with the second quarter.
Net sales in the quarter were SEK 17.9 billion,operating profit was SEK 2 191 million and our operating margin was12.2%. Excluding positive one-time items of SEK 380 million,operating profit was SEK 1 811 million and operating margin was10.1%.
Our automotive business continues to improveits performance, in line with the ambitions set out in the profitimprovement programme which was launched last year, with anoperating margin excluding one-time items of 6.6%. Organic salesincreased by 4.4% in the quarter compared with the correspondingquarter last year, driven mainly by strong growth inAsia.
Our industrial business delivered an operatingmargin, excluding one-time items of 11.7%, a continued resilientperformance. Although the rate of decline in demand in NorthAmerica and Asia has diminished, market conditions continued to bechallenging during the third quarter.
Cash flow generation was a solid SEK 1 816million in the quarter, excluding the effects fromdivestments.
Investments in the implementation ofworld-class manufacturing technologies in our spherical rollerbearing factories in Gothenburg and Flowery Branch are progressingas planned. Similar technologies and processes are to be introducedacross other product lines as part of our strategy to improve theflexibility and cost-competitiveness of our factories.
Entering the fourth quarter of 2016, demand forour products and services is expected to be relatively unchangedboth compared to the same period last year andsequentially.”
|Key figures, SEKm||Q3 2016||Q3 2015||YTD 2016||YTD2015|
|Net sales||17 912||18 367||54 002||57 782|
|Operating profit excl. one-time items||1 811||1 976||5 803||6 929|
|Operating margin excl. one-time items, %||10.1||10.8||10.7||12.0|
|One-time items in operating profit||380||-151||138||-1 000|
|Operating profit||2 191||1 825||5 941||5 929|
|Operating margin, %||12.2||9.9||11.0||10.3|
|Profit before taxes, excl. operating and financialone-time items||1 669||1 629||5 225||6 231|
|Profit before taxes||2 049||1 348||5 363||5 181|
|Net cash flow after investments beforefinancing||1 554||1 808||6 289||4 450|
|Net sales change y-o-y, %:||Organic||Structure||Currency||Total|
|Organic sales change in local currencies, perregion y-o-y, %:||Europe||North America||Latin America||Asia||Middle East & Africa|
Outlook for the fourth quarter2016
Demand compared to the fourth quarter2015
The demand for SKF’s products and services isexpected to be relatively unchanged for the Group and forIndustrial. Demand for Automotive is expected to be slightlyhigher. Demand is expected to be relatively unchanged in Europe,lower in North America, slightly higher in Asia and higher in LatinAmerica.
Demand compared to the third quarter2016
The demand for SKF’s products and services isexpected to be relatively unchanged for the Group including bothIndustrial and Automotive. Demand is expected to be slightly higherin Europe, lower in North America and relatively unchanged in Asiaand in Latin America.
A teleconference will be held on 26October at 14:00(CEST):
SE: +46 8 5065 3937
UK: +44 20 3427 1912
US: +1 646 254 3360
You will find all information regardingthe SKF nine-month report 2016 on the Group’s IRwebsite.
The information in this press release is informationwhich AB SKF is required to disclose under the EU Market AbuseRegulation (EU) No 596/2014 and pursuant to the Securities MarketsAct. The information was provided by the above contact persons forpublication on 26 October 2016 at 13:00 CEST.
Gothenburg, 17 October 2016: SKF and GE Oil & Gashave signed a non-exclusive, licence-based collaboration agreement,aimed at further developing the use of active magnetic bearingtechnologies within the oil and gas sector.
As part of the agreement, GE Oil & Gas will makeuse of SKF’s leading magnetic bearing technologies from front-endengineering design to installation, testing and service tocustomers. The partnership also provides the basis for futurecollaboration, to widen the scope of applications of activemagnetic bearings into other GE Oil & Gas turbomachinery, suchas steam and gas turbines.
Victoria van Camp, President, Business and ProductDevelopment at SKF, says: “SKF’s active magnetic bearing technologyhas already enabled a number of breakthroughs within the oil andgas sector. Through this agreement, we are strengthening ourtechnology leadership and enhancing our relationship with GE Oil& Gas. We are also implementing a new business model, whichwill ensure that we widen the scope of applications for thesetechnologies.”
Luca Maria Rossi, General Manager for TurbomachinerySolutions Product Management, GE Oil & Gas, says: “Activemagnetic bearings bring relevant benefits in terms of reliability,maintenance needs and performance in our compressor technology.Through this strategic agreement, we will be able to provide ourcustomers more optimized solutions with GE as a unique point ofcontact for the entire machinery and auxiliaries. SKF will bringthe know-how and core expertise, while GE Oil & Gas brings thescale, process and service capabilities in order to better serveoil and gas operators.”
For further information about GE Oil & Gas,please visit: https://www.geoilandgas.com/
This is not to say that asset owners can scrimp on O&M expenses. Inadequate O&M can lead to minor faults or defects not being recognised. This not only impacts yield but can also result in major component failure, potentially leading to costly repairs and lengthy downtime.
O&M is a growing issue for the wind industry. Due to the increased probability of component failure and that defects will fall outside of the manufacturer’s warranty period, the importance and cost of O&M increases with the length of time from commissioning. Given that approximately 75 percent of all onshore wind turbines installed in Europe have been operating for less than ten years, this is an issue of growing relevance.
As a leading supplier to the wind energy sector, SKF manufactures numerous components including different bearings for the drive train, along with lubrication and sealing solutions. But our expertise does not end there. Ten years ago SKF developed a vibration monitoring system and opened a remote monitoring centre. Condition monitoring is the process of determining the condition of machinery while in operation. The key to a successful condition monitoring programme includes knowing what to listen for, how to interpret it and when to put this knowledge to use. Condition monitoring Systems (CMS) not only help wind farm operators reduce the possibility of catastrophic failure, but also allow them to order parts in advance, schedule manpower and machines, and plan other repairs during the downtime.
With our hosted software and monitoring services, implementing a world-class predictive maintenance programme for periodic and mainly continuous monitoring of wind turbines is just an Internet connection away. SKF Remote Monitoring Services use SKF condition monitoring tools such as the SKF IMx on-line system, dedicated to wind turbines, to collect data. Based on the results experts analyse data, and use the Internet to communicate management of machine health for informed decision-making.
However, times are changing for CMS, heralded by technology and communication enhancement. To achieve improved operations, the maintenance strategy of operators needs to be shifted from a scheduled model to a predictive model.
Several years ago with the number of wind assets to monitor increasing along with the amount of data collected growing, SKF had to find a way to improve the efficiency of the process. We had to invent new ways of treating the data and that is when we started utilising statistical techniques.
But the volume of data collected from a large wind farm is staggering. As a rule of thumb there are approximately eight sensors on a geared wind turbine with roughly three measurements for each of them, 24 indicators in total; one indicator is one spectrum and one overall value. This information is collected by the condition monitoring hardware and is sent over the Internet, either wired or wireless, to a CMS server, which can be located anywhere on the planet.
In one year with on average one download a day we have close to 9,000 spectra to analyse. If you imagine at the scale of a wind park, which could contain hundreds of turbines, it is completely impossible to analyse without using statistical modelling.
That volume of data means that we now have to use statistical data. This is used to compare the turbines between each other as much as that is possible given differences in location and models. First we compare what is comparable and then we use the historical data we have amassed over the ten years of monitoring windfarms of different models. Based on this history of the data, dependent on turbine type, we use this as background for the new machine that we start to monitor.
Even before we turned to statistical tools, the application of CMS to wind farms was unique, due to the limitations in applying traditional techniques from other industries. The wind turbine is a complicated machine, with a great many variables. Unlike other industries we cannot apply one model of alarm level to all machines; unfortunately, it does not work like that. So we have to develop individual alarm models that allow us to rapidly compare the machines, which can be compared. But to attempt to do this without being guided by the statistics, filter and selection would be impossible in a reasonable amount of time.
A further benefit comes from the growing pool of historical data. This historic data is extremely useful, especially if it contains the entire lifecycle of the unit from installation. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Even though an increasing number of turbines are factory fitted with monitoring technology, much of the existing fleet requires retrofitting; this traditionally occurs close to the end of the warranty period or when the operator or the service provider wants to renew the service contract.
It is, however, vital to select the right kinematic data to analyse to help increase the process accuracy. The system has some features that allows it to scan for potential theoretical defaults. To do this automatic scanning you need to rely on the actual information on the type of components in the system. Each gearing has its own theoretical frequency, so without having a certain level of certainty of the kinematics inside the turbine, you will need to rely on assumptions that will require more input by the analyst.
But today, given our extensive historical database, we have a good understanding and good background on the components inside the gearbox and inside the generator. Based on our experience not all the components in wind turbines need the same level of expertise to be analysed. Detecting a generator bearing issue is quite easy, but with planetary bearings and gears it is much more problematic. We have developed specific algorithms that are really focussed on the detection of the planetary gearings themselves with a specific algorithm.
The final goal is to quickly identify which turbine among the fleet needs to be analysed further. The statistical approach is a complement to the traditional diagnostic to highlight it quickly, to identify the turbines that potentially have an issue. And on those ones, the specialists need to spend some time looking at the vibration signals to determine the issues.
The aim now is to broaden the fleet analysis perspective within the global background that we have built up from among the more than 2000 turbines analysed within SKF. To achieve this a statistical model will be built of vibration comparison for each turbine model and their components over various locations and loading conditions.
This is done by improving the process, by adding regular workshops between the specialists, sharing the issues and sharing the ideas of improvement; creating a global network within the wind CMS community.
So what does this deliver to the operators? It will allow us to tailor the alarms so they only receive information about an issue that is likely to have a detrimental impact on performance, without bothering the operator with false alarms or needless levels of information.
As for the future, the accuracy and scope of CMS will continue to evolve and we continue to push the boundaries of the technology. One of the next steps will be to integrate all the relevant sources of information such as temperature, process parameters and add these to the diagnostics that vibration allows.
The other trends are to be able to hook that CMS data to another more holistic system again to allow better correlation. This is a major driver from the turbine manufacturers, but as always it comes down to cost. Given the high volume of wind turbines there is a lot of pressure to decrease the cost. Our goal is to make the technology more affordable.
After ten years using vibration monitoring we can improve the availability of the wind assets by one percent while at the same time reducing operating and maintenance costs by two percent. By utilising SKF’s statistical-based CMS, operators can save as much as €5,000 per year per wind turbine. But one fact is certain, as margins for wind farm operators continue to be squeezed every last bit of efficiency is vital to maintain profitability; and a vital tool to help achieve that is the improved prediction capabilities of statistical CMS.
Gothenburg, Sweden, 13 October 2016: The SKF Groupwill publish its results for the third quarter on 26 October 2016and welcomes investors, analysts and members of the media to takepart in a conference call, which will be held in English, at 14:00(CEST).
To join the conference call, please dial-in using thefollowing details at least 10 minutes before the start of thecall:
SE: +46 8 5065 3937
UK: +44 20 3427 1912
US: +1 646 254 3360
Please inform the operator that you wish to take partin the SKF conference call.
The Group's results for the third quarter of 2016will be published around 13:00 (CEST). All information regardingthe results will be made available on the Group’s website:http://investors.skf.com/quarterlyreporting.
Media: To pre-book interviews withAlrik Danielson and Christian Johansson after the conference call,please contact Theo Kjellberg on email@example.com.
“SKF is a world leader in spherical roller bearings, manufacturing bearings of all sizes and series – from the smallest, with a 20 mm bore size, to this large size bearing that weighs close to eight tonnes” says Petra Öberg Gustafsson, Product Line Manager for self-aligning rolling bearings at SKF.
The bearing is equipped with SKF SensorMount, a unique system that measures the actual mounting fit of the bearing onto the shaft. It helps avoid the risk of improper mounting, a major issue for large size bearings. The bearing weighs 7,780 kg. Each roller within it weighs 42 kg.
The bearing is of the upgraded SKF Explorer class with improved wear resistance, thanks to the patented material heat treatment process that nearly doubles service life in poor lubrication and contaminated conditions.
SKF was chosen to supply the bearing due to its Application Engineering expertise and support, and the knowledge and experience in manufacturing large size industrial bearings.
Daniel Ortega, Project Manager at the Gothenburg factory, says: “We have worked in close cooperation with the customer, in order to design an optimum 241/1250 bearing that is particularly suitable for applications in the mining industry. These applications have extreme operating conditions and are very demanding from a bearing service life perspective.”
Industry will play a massive role in transforming our carbon-based world – that is wasteful with energy – into one that generates energy without any greenhouse gases, while using it much more efficiently.
It will require investment, and commitment, with innovation driving the growth of both new and established technologies. It will encompass everything from system changes – such as renewable energy sources and electric vehicles – to lower level operational improvements, such as more efficient pumps and motors, and better maintenance and reliability. As engineers, we love a challenge – so will be leading from the front on this.
This is not to belittle the contribution of government. The Paris meeting was an important milestone, in that so many nations reached an agreement to restrict future temperature rises to less than 2 degrees C. Now, with an agreement in place, these governments must enact sensible and challenging legislation – with appropriate incentives and penalties – that underpins the effort to reduce carbon emissions.
Legislation is a crucial driver for sustainability. The European automotive industry, for example, has slashed carbon emissions – mainly because tough legislation demands this. In similar ways, the stimulus of feed-in tariffs for solar or wind energy, and increasingly stringent emissions legislation were also vital in moving the sustainability agenda forward.
While the Paris meeting was an overall success, they didn’t get everything right: the agreements could have been legally binding and they could have done much more to put a global carbon pricing market in place.
I think that a globally connected set of carbon markets is an absolute necessity for the future – and is a distinct possibility. For now, we have isolated and poorly functioning carbon pricing schemes in different regions. Fixing them and hooking them together would help ensure that there is a level playing field for everybody and accelerate the rate of change An effective and sufficient global carbon price could make many things possible – including carbon capture and storage, which could avoid carbon emissions from combustion by storing them deep underground where it cannot contribute to climate change.
In reality, there is no single solution to the problem of climate change – so we need to work on many fronts at the same time.
Agreeing to a massive cut in emissions, as was achieved in Paris, may seem to be a nightmare for industry. It is actually an opportunity – tempered by risk – that will require a fundamental shift in thinking.
Look at the hard savings that can be gained from introducing energy efficiency measures; or at the top-line growth of companies that understand this – such as Tesla.
There are generally four types of company when it comes to climate change: those who do and say nothing – though, among larger companies, this is fast disappearing; those who say something but do very little – which might work as PR in the short-term, but ends up being more costly in the long run; those that are genuinely committed to carbon saving and energy efficiency – but restrict this to their own operations; and those for whom sustainability stretches beyond their own organisation.
At SKF, we try as hard as we can to be in this fourth category with BeyondZero as the strategic framework with which we drive and communicate all the various initiatives needed to do this. BeyondZero addresses both the opportunity to reduce carbon and cost related to our own operations and those of our suppliers, logistics etc. At the same time bringing more and more innovative solutions to our customers that help them (and society) do the same. For example, we work with our suppliers to drive improved energy efficiency, in an attempt to shrink not only the footprint of our direct operations but also up the value chain.
Within our own operations we have had a relentless focus on energy efficiency: between 2006 and 2014, we slashed total energy use by 16%, while growing our business by more than 34%. Yes, it’s part of our BeyondZero pledge to reduce our footprint – but it has saved us the equivalent of SEK200m each year. That’s a real example to dispel the myth that sustainability always goes hand in hand with higher costs.
Of course, the endgame is a full-scale transition away from fossil fuels – especially coal – and towards a ‘low carbon’ economy that sees low carbon and renewable energy sources gradually take over. It will take time – 20 or 30 years at least – but we need to start that journey now, and deliver the reductions needed in the short-to-medium term. We can do this by rapidly increasing the efficiency with which we use energy in industry and society – and there are already many ways to do this.
Variable speed drives can reduce the energy consumption of a motor by around 30%. Fifteen or 20 years ago, VSDs were seen as a luxury. Now, they are widely used and are delivering lower energy bills for large swathes of the manufacturing sector. Companies that have bought VSDs are saving on their electricity bills – and are prepared for ever-tightening legislation, as they are working ahead of the curve on sustainability.
Another example would be to switch standard ball bearings to the E2 (energy efficient) equivalents. The reason is simple: friction. E2 bearings have been redesigned to reduce friction while maintaining life and can cut bearing losses by 30%. Multiply this across the industry and you have lower electricity bills. When lots of apparently small actions like this combined it can have a very large effect.
The manufacturing industry will be at the forefront of making and enabling these kinds of practical changes. If the transformation is to take place with sufficient scale and speed, industry must see a value to making these changes, and recognise the risk of standing still. If companies want to be part of the transformation - and profit from it, rather than suffer by it - they need to act now.
* To be included in the BeyondZero portfolio, SKF products, services and solutions must be demonstrated to deliver significant environmental benefits to the customer, without significant environmental trade-offs elsewhere in the product life cycle.
“By working with universities, we get access to their competence and knowledge, which we would otherwise have to spend lots of time acquiring,” says Martin Friis, project manager at SKF, with a special assignment to forge links with external partners through funded R&D projects.
While a university’s mission is to produce knowledge that is relevant to society, industry’s mission is to be competitive in its business. To create a rewarding collaboration, it is crucial to understand both worlds. Any collaboration must provide a win-win situation, or it will cease to exist.
SKF carries out R&D collaborations with universities around the world. These range from individual MSc and PhD projects through to larger projects involving more than one researcher. Some of the larger engagements address a programme or subject matter with larger resources.
Examples are the SKF University Technology Centers, where SKF has identified specific collaboration partners for specific core technologies. These include tribology (with Imperial College), steel (Cambridge University) and condition monitoring (Luleå University).
At the frontier
Production systems and products are getting ever more complex, and the pace at which knowledge and information are created makes it difficult to keep up with the latest developments. Universities work “at the frontier” of their subjects, says Friis, and tapping into this is a huge benefit to industrial companies.
However, useful information also flows in the reverse direction. While industry can access the fundamental research from universities, it can also provide feedback regarding its ongoing and future needs. This helps academia to target its research more precisely – and to design courses that more accurately fit industry’s needs by producing graduates who have the correct skills for modern industry.
This brings up the practical issue of recruitment. A large industrial company such as SKF employs many engineering graduates every year, and close academic links can help to ‘brand’ SKF in the minds of students. “They then know who we are – and that we would be an interesting company to work for,” says Friis.
The idea of branding – and identity – goes beyond that of direct recruitment into the SKF fold. Many engineering graduates will end up working for other industrial companies. But, being familiar with SKF and its products will help the company when these students – as full-time engineers – are in a position to specify components such as bearings or seals.
At the same time, SKF employees may take on the role of visiting professors – spending part of their time lecturing at the universities, and supervising PhD and MSc students. SKF can also influence educational development by giving guest lectures, providing case assignments to students or by participating in student union workshops and activities.
Many governments are keen to foster links between industry and academia, and it’s no different in Sweden. “The government funds research programmes that strengthen academia while focusing on the needs of industry,” says Friis. “It needs to be done in the right areas, so they choose the projects carefully.”
On one level, government provides direct funding for education and basic research. On top of this, a funding system will promote industrial collaboration – in which research is further developed, such as by customising it for a real environment. This funding bridges the gap between academic research and industrial evaluation, and usually covers Technology Readiness Levels 3-7. Government funding typically covers the academic resources, while companies cover their own expenses.
For industry to work efficiently in this area, it is vital to participate in trade associations and organisations, in order to emphasise the future needs of industry. These organisations try to influence factors such as which areas are a priority, and how the research funding is to be distributed.
This lobbying helps to get the companies’ needs on the agenda, and facilitates the building of a network with academics, other potential industrial research partners and funding agencies. It is an efficient way to pinpoint relevant research areas, potential academic and industrial research partners and matching funding calls.
Friis successfully proposed a project to Vinnova (part of Sweden’s Ministry of Enterprise) around the hot topic of ‘Industry 4.0’ – the futuristic vision to interconnect all parts of the modern factory. The two-year project, called 5GEM (5G Enabled Manufacturing), is a collaboration between SKF, Chalmers University and telecoms giant Ericsson. Combining Ericsson’s expertise in wireless technology, SKF’s knowledge of production systems and Chalmers’ scientific approach could help to lay the foundations of Industry 4.0.
“In the connected factory of the future, Wi-Fi will not live up to the new requirements on reliability, latency and data volumes,” says Friis. “The system will need to be ‘up’ all the time.”
The emerging 5G standard – including technologies such as infrastructure, cloud solutions and analytics – could be part of the practical solution that ‘enables’ Industry 4.0. “So far, Industry 4.0 has been talked about as a concept – but it’s this type of technology that will make it happen,” he says.
The advent of 5G will allow the use of higher frequencies, allowing large amounts of data to be transferred quickly and reliably. “Reliability and security are crucial,” says Friis. “Connectivity must be guaranteed at all time – otherwise the production will fail.”
Together, the project partners will develop a series of ‘demonstrators’ based on 5G, which will then be tested in SKF factories. These will be judged on four main criteria: production efficiency; production flexibility; traceability; and sustainability. The team is already close to deciding which demonstrators it will work on. The project will demonstrate how connectivity can enhance the production system performance.
The aim of the project is to use enhanced connectivity and analytics to give access to the correct data – exactly when and where it is needed. Tailoring this to the needs of a human (or a machine) will allow decisions to be taken – either manual, or automated – that will create value in the production system.
Delivering Industry 4.0
Interconnected data already plays an important role in industry, such as in predictive maintenance systems. Industry 4.0, if realised, would take this to a whole new level.
Johan Stahre, Chair of Production Systems at Chalmers University – who is also the Project Manager for 5GEM – says: “The project’s vision is to create a world-class manufacturing system that demonstrates enhanced performance – through improved efficiency, increased flexibility and traceability. A key component of the project is ensuring these technologies are easily transferable to other manufacturing industries.”
And he warns that industry needs to get it right this time – as the concept of universal interconnectivity has been tried once before. “Back in the 1990s we had something called Computer Integrated Manufacturing, which tried to connect everything together,” he says. “But the interoperability failed and we had ‘islands of automation’. It’s taken another 20 years to get to where we are now.”
Industry 4.0 still faces some hurdles – notably around standardisation and interoperability – but projects like 5GEM could help to push it closer to reality.
The new mill is the largest ever single investment in the nation’s forest industry at approximately €1.2 billion and it is a major step forward in the development of sustainable production processes as it will produce significantly more electricity than it will need. It is expected to process 6.5 million cubic metres of wood into 1.3 million tonnes of pulp, with the remaining biomass and side streams being used to make high value bioproducts, including tall oil, turpentine, bioelectricity, process steam, district heat and wood fuel.
SKF was selected to supply lubrication systems – mainly dual-line grease lubrication devices – for about 3,000 lubrication points on the bioproduct mill. It is also providing specially developed, new generation lubrication control centres with mobile access to ensure maximum efficiency and reliability when the mill goes into operation in the third quarter of 2017.
Ossi Puromäki, Project Services Director at Metsä Fibre, said: “The new bioproduct mill is a step towards a world that is no longer dependent on fossil resources. Thanks to innovative technologies and support from trusted partners like SKF, we have been able to realise that ambition and satisfy the growing global demand for softwood pulp through sustainable means.”
Erkki Kemppainen, OEM Sales Manager at SKF’s Lubrication Business Unit, said: “Building on a relationship that already spans decades, we are proud to see our proven lubrication technologies in this state-of-the-art bioproduct mill that is transforming the face of the pulp, paper and wood production industry. Getting involved early in the process has allowed us to deliver a high performance, user friendly system that will support the mill as it manufactures products and produces energy.”
Seal failures have a lot of undesirable consequences, including increased operating and maintenance costs, lost productivity due to unplanned downtime, environmental pollution and safety risks for personnel. Moreover, these systems ask a lot of their seals. Their basic job is hard enough: containing oil at pressures of up to 400 bar (5,800psi) and sometimes higher as well as temperatures that may exceed 110 °C (230 °F). And the task is furthermore combined with the challenges of the working environment, which can include dust and chemical contamination and loads that can distort components, creating gaps that are hard to keep sealed.
The rod seal is a frontline soldier in the battle to keep hydraulic equipment running properly (image 1). These seals face some of the toughest demands in any part of the system, thanks to their location – often right at the working end of equipment, where they are most likely to experience side loads – and the role they have to perform, which involves allowing the rod to move in and out with minimum friction while keeping the oil inside the cylinder.
When SKF set out to design a new rod seal as part of its comprehensive range of sealing solutions for fluid power applications, the company’s engineers knew that creating a best-in-class product would require an intensive R&D and testing effort.
That effort began with the choice of material. “Polyurethanes are used in many thousands of engineering applications, but seals make up just a tiny percentage of that total,” explains Wolfgang Swete, Head of Fluid System Seals Product Line Development at SKF. “That means that standard compositions from materials suppliers don’t necessarily have the right balance of performance characteristics for that role.”
Rather than settling for an off-the-shelf option that might compromise performance, SKF was able to make use of its own tailor-made material. The company’s ECOPUR polyurethane was developed specifically as a premium grade material for sealing applications. Decades of experience in other products have shown it to have the right combination of strength and flexibility to offer superior sealing performance, and the abrasion-resistance and durability ensure a long operating life.
The material characteristics were also important in permitting SKF to define an optimum geometry for the new seal. Single lip seals such as the SKF S1S actually have several working parts, and they operate and interact in subtle ways. “While the primary purpose of any seal is stop leaks, a rod seal actually has to release a small amount of oil through the sealing edge,” says Swete. “This oil creates a lubricating film less than 1µm thick that allows the rod to move smoothly.” Precise control of that lubricant film affects the performance of the cylinder, and the life of the seal (image 2). SKF used advanced finite element analysis, combined with its extensive knowledge of lubrication technology to understand how best to control the lubricant film. The investigation revealed that a smaller radius at the lip of the seal produced a thinner film, allowing smooth performance without excessive loss of fluid. But without a suitably hardwearing material, such a small radius would lead to compromise the durability of the seal.
It isn’t just the lip of the seal that affects the lubricant film, Swete explains. “As the rod retracts into the cylinder, the rear heel of the seal controls the back-pumping effect, drawing lubricant back inside. By optimising the shape of the seal here to maximise that effect, we reduce the overall loss of fluid and maintain lubrication performance.”
The U-cup groove in the front of the seal permits the sealing edge to move relative to the cylinder, accommodating surface imperfections or distortion during operation. The size and shape of this groove also affects the friction characteristics of the seal against the moving rod. Improperly designed seals can exhibit stick-slip phenomena, leading to erratic motion and noise. Worse, SKF’s analysis showed that excessive stress in the contact area would significantly affect the service life of the seal. It took repeated cycles of design, FEA and prototype testing to achieve a groove geometry that delivered the right balance of friction and sealing performance.
“In a development process like this, you will always need a combination of simulation and testing,” explains Swete. “With the right FEA techniques and a proper material model, you can reduce the amount of physical testing you need to do, but you will never eliminate that requirement altogether.” In practice, he says, simulation and physical testing support each other, with the results of tests allowing engineers to refine and improve their modelling techniques.
During the development of the S1S, SKF put its seals through an extremely demanding test regime, with prototypes travelling up and down for hundreds of kilometres on a specially manufactured test rig containing 110 °C (230 °F) oil at pressures of up to 315 bar. The rig measured friction force and leakage during the tests and after every test each seal was carefully measured to see how much it had deformed. “Unlike bearings, there is no formula you can use to predict the lifetime of a seal,” explains Swete. “But we know that the amount of set and distortion a seal experiences is an important indicator of long term performance.” Pleasingly for Swete and his team, the S1S achieved best-in-class performance across all three measures in comparative tests against premium seals from other manufacturers (image 3).
Manufacturing matters too. The seal edges and U-cup groove need to be accurately made to perform as designed while the rod is in motion, and the seal’s ability to contain pressure while static depends on a precise interference fit between the outer edges of the seal and the groove in the cylinder into which it is installed. Here SKF could take advantage of its advanced in-house manufacturing capabilities. These allow it to produce polyurethane components to extremely tight tolerances using a variety of processes, from machining for prototypes and low volume production to moulding for higher volumes and standard parts.
The SKF S1S hydraulic rod seal is now in production in a wide range of standard sizes with outside diameters from 18 to 240 mm. More sizes are being added to the range all the time. For customers with unusual needs, the company can also offer machined versions of the seal in special sizes, while the same advanced manufacturing capabilities permit a seamless transfer to moulded production where volumes permit.
Among the technologies on show will be SKF’s tapered roller thrust bearings (TRTB), which feature an optimised internal geometry and provide low friction operation to boost the reliability and service life of top drive systems. Other bearings on display include SKF’s magnetic bearings, which rotate without friction to significantly extend service intervals and cut maintenance costs. These contact-free bearings can be actively monitored by an integrated control system for exceptional precision and stability even at extreme speeds.
Furthermore, SKF will use ADIPEC 2016 to present its innovative wellhead seals that have been specially designed for simple installation. The Locking T-seal – a patented product, unique to SKF – features a backup ring that mechanically locks in place to enable easier, damage-free installation. These seals have the ability to handle higher pressures and temperatures and reduced damage to metal components.
Also on show will be SKF’s solution for increasing the reliability and safety of jack-up gearboxes. This combination of CARB torodial roller bearings, SKF Explorer Spherical Roller Bearings, high performance seals and automatic lubrication systems ensures optimum operation even in the most challenging offshore environments. For example, the CARB bearings enable improved gear to gear contact during severe load conditions, while the lubrication technology precisely delivers the exact quantity of grease to save costs and eliminate downtime.
See SKF at ADIPEC 2016 on stand 12330.
Beyond improved reliability, drivers will benefit from improved ride and handling, especially in corners, thanks to the high stiffness imparted by SKF’s HBU3 raceway geometry.
Stephane Le Mounier, President, SKF Automotive Market, says, “FCA is a strategic partner for SKF and we are proud to be a supplier for their new Giorgio platform, to which Alfa Romeo now will launch a series of car models. The SKF wheel bearings have been designed to support the offered driving pleasure with the new Giulia. Our long and close cooperation has a strong foundation to where we build value together for the car owners. We do it with a focus to reduce friction and weight for minimizing the impact on the environment. Sustainability is a strong driver for both our companies.”
SKF’s standard spherical roller bearings are already the most used bearing type in wind turbine main shaft arrangements, with more than 100,000 installations worldwide. However, these newly developed bearings work even harder than their existing counterparts as they have been tailored specifically for the application. Features not needed in this sector, such as the ability to handle speeds up to 600 r/min, have been eliminated to focus on those that are, including improved radial and axial robustness, for best in class operation.
The adapted design of the heavy duty bearings includes a significant weight reduction, an optimised internal geometry and improved lubrication capabilities to ensure lower contact pressures and enhanced load carrying capacity. Ultimately, the SKF wind turbine main shaft spherical roller bearings offer remarkable performance under wind operating conditions and reduce the levelized cost of energy (LCOE).
Jens Bode, Head of Business Development at SKF’s Renewable Energy Business Unit, said: “Building on our extensive proven experience in the wind industry we have created our first symmetrical spherical roller bearing designed explicitly to provide unparalleled performance in turbine main shafts. This unique, sector specific solution improves the features that are critical to the application for ultra robust and reliable main shaft arrangements that reduce the levelized cost of energy through extended service life.”
See SKF at WindEnergy Hamburg 2016: Hall B6, booth 374.
Pure electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid vehicles are reaching the automotive mainstream. By 2020, higher production volumes and technological advances will mean electric vehicles are likely to be cost-competitive with their gasoline equivalents. By 2040, electric vehicles may account for 35 per cent of new car sales1.
For the industry, the electrification of automotive powertrains represents the biggest technological shift for a generation. Expertise from SKF is helping leading automotive OEMs and suppliers tackle many of the challenges they are encountering along the way.
SKF eDrive ball bearings, for example, have been developed specifically to address the need for consistently low friction, high speed and high power density in EV and hybrid vehicle electric machines. The bearings use the SKF-patented energy efficient E2 polymer cage, optimized raceway geometry, and a validated long life, wide temperature grease. Combined, these advanced design features help enable longer drive system service life and extend battery range.
Hybrid bearings, which combine steel rings with rolling elements made of bearing grade silicon nitride, have a number of advantages in EV applications. In addition to a longer service life and improved resistance to vibration, these bearings also have excellent electrical insulation characteristics, protecting drivetrain components from damage caused by stray electrical currents.
SKF has also developed a range of bearing units with integrated sensors that simplify assembly and improve reliability in electric powertrain applications. SKF Rotor Positioning Sensor-Bearing Units, for example, use a patented design that allows very precise management of the sensor-bearing unit air gap. As a result, the units are insensitive to severe magnetic field disturbances, and can withstand application vibration and continuous temperatures up to 150°C.
SKF EV and hybrid vehicle solutions can be fully customized to suit the needs of specific customer vehicle and powertrain programs, and SKF’s experienced application engineers are able to offer intensive support from initial development through to series production.
The spring insulating suspension bearing takes SKF’s robust, proven main suspension bearing unit (MSBU) technology and incorporates a polymer spring that is mechanically and chemically bonded to the lower bearing washer.
The spring insulator plays a critical role in automotive suspension systems, damping road vibrations that pass from the spring, through the bearing and into the passenger compartment. Conventional spring insulators are installed separately from the MBSU.
This approach creates a potential failure point in the vehicle suspension, since the insulator is susceptible to damage due to the ingress of dirt and contamination between it and the bearing.
The new spring insulating suspension bearing eliminates this point of weakness by building the bearing and spring insulator as a single component, with high strength chemical bonding used to connect the spring to the bearing. Additional optimisation of the bearing geometry ensures a secure mechanical connection between the two elements.
For manufacturers, the spring insulating suspension bearing offers further advantages, reducing the number of components required in the suspension system and simplifying assembly to reduce total suspension cost. The material selected for the spring element can be adapted to suit the precise requirements of the application, and SKF can offer a wide range of material options, all optimised for high volume manufacturing using injection moulding.
SKF has applied for no less than three patents covering innovative features of the new design, including the spring material, insulator design and fixation technology. Prototype units are already undergoing evaluation by leading Automotive OEMS.
High levels of reliability are a key priority in this application, which will involve extended operation in extremely challenging conditions: the hot, dusty environment of the Algerian desert. While the axleboxes used on the project are a standard design, each unit will be customized to suit the customer’s specific requirements, including a special paint finish and markings.
The axlebox sets will be the SKF Y25 design, which has been specially developed to cope with high axle loads and demanding operating conditions. The Y25 units are equipped with cylindrical roller journal bearings. This design offers opportunities to achieve lower life-cycle cost through longer maintenance intervals, simplified maintenance operations and improvements in performance and safety. Two types of SKF cylindrical roller journal bearings will be used in the bogie units: NJ 130x240 TN/VA820 and BC1-2008.
“For this contract, our customer faced very demanding lead times, both to prepare a competitive tender and to commence to delivery of the wagons themselves,” says Jan Vlasak Railway Segment Manager – Czech Republic at SKF. “SKF was able to provide support by developing a customized solution in real time, while our flexible manufacturing facilities we were also able to meet the customer’s delivery criteria. And of course, our rail industry components have an unparalleled reputation for reliability and long service life in the most demanding conditions.”
The SKF components used in the project has been manufactured at the company’s plants in Saint-Cyr-Sur-Loire, France and Poznan, Poland. Delivery has already been completed during summer 2016.
The fact that the designers of this special rail solution “looked to the heavens” for inspiration was due to the cramped space conditions on the ground. Already by the end of the 19th century, Wuppertal’s city centre was very densely built-up. Therefore, the only place which could accommodate public transport was above the river that gave the city its name. The enthusiasm for technology prevalent at that time, along with the spirit of optimism in the steel construction sector finally resulted in this ambitious project being carried out. Nowadays, the railway runs along a 13.3-kilometre route, 10 of which are directly above the river. During rush hour, 22 cars run, with three vehicles every 10 minutes. The support framework comprises 468 angled pillars, with the bridge sections supporting the track integrated into them.
The city’s favourite “old lady” is currently right in the midst of a “facelift”. “We have extensively renovated the framework during the last 20 years. We are now gradually modernising the entire vehicle range,” explains Thomas Kaulfuss, the suspension railway’s technical operations manager. State-of-the-art cars are being used, along with an innovative radio-controlled train safety system, like the one used on the TGVs in France. But the technical specifications also mention the use of an efficient wheel flange lubrication system. “We operate in a very confined area of the city. Our aim is to use a green solution that will be environmentally-friendly and keep the level of noise disturbing residents to a minimum,” adds Kaulfuss.
It didn’t take the railway specialist long to find a suitable partner. An older car had an SKF wheel flange lubrication system operating in it already for seven years. It was initially used, on a trial basis, to replace an old system powered by compressed air. A control unit with a sensor was introduced to replace a mercury switch which produced inaccurate doses. “This was a huge leap forward in our view. The system responded to speed and travelling around bends. With the new vehicles, we could program them so that the wheel flange is lubricated at any position along the route,” remarks Rolf Barnat enthusiastically, a supervisor in the suspension railway vehicle workshop.
This paved the way for the updated version of the SKF solution also to be deployed in the new cars. At the moment, the solution is already fitted in two vehicles, with test runs already carried out successfully, aimed at fine-tuning the settings. By the end of the year, the new cars will then be permanently running through Wuppertal.
Electromagnetic instead of pneumatic operation
The SKF EasyRail Airless wheel flange lubrication system is designed so that the lubricant is supplied from a container pump to the electromagnetic dosing pump via a loop. The electromagnetic pump applies a predefined quantity of lubricant on the wheel flange without using compressed air. This “pump-nozzle unit” is equipped with a heating system, which helps ensure the reliable delivery of lubricant even when it is extremely cold.
“In Wuppertal we use PER electromagnetic pumps with two nozzles and a KFG container pump with a 2-kg capacity. The PER pump applies the grease to the wheel flange in doses of 40 cubic millimetres per nozzle and stroke in less than 0.5 seconds,” explains Tobias Weber, Account Manager Railway in the SKF Lubrication Business Unit. Weber is still in constant touch with WSW mobil, providing support in making those last fine adjustments.
The control unit of SKF's solution - a system of the LCG2 type - is equipped with a curve sensor. It supports an economical, environmentally-friendly use of lubricant. On the Wuppertal suspension railway the SKF system is fitted, to save space, on the first bogie. As compressed air is no longer used, there is no point in having a compressor, as the old models did. This saves not only space but also costs, reducing the amount of cabling required. “The system’s sensitivity is controlled electronically. Users can set the curve sensor to their individual requirements and determine exactly when it will spray,” adds Tobias Weber.
The practice runs using the new cars built by Vossloh-Kiepe have produced totally positive results. “We’ve had good experiences. The system is doing a completely reliable job,” says Thomas Kaulfuss. The system used in the existing rolling stock has already produced good lubrication results. Compared to the pneumatic version, the SKF system ensures far less noise is generated when travelling around bends. “This gave SKF a crucial edge. The experts have already come to see us and we’ve seen that this version works. This has made our job considerably easier when looking for a suitable solution for the new cars,” says Kaulfuss, explaining the decision-making process.
Less produces more
Kaulfuss also sees advantages in the system’s technical design. “As we’ve stopped using compressed air and a compressor is no longer required, we don’t have so many components on the vehicle. This reduces the weight. Another benefit is that it makes installation easier because we have less cables and pipes to lay,” he adds. One important issue has been dose adjustment. The control unit with a sensor resolves this task without any problem. It responds precisely to speed and travelling around bends. “The control facility via the operating system gives us the chance to respond at any time to conditions which are changing all the time,” says Kaulfuss.
Kaulfuss describes the cooperation with SKF’s experts as excellent. The wheel flange lubrication system had to be adapted to the special requirements of the Wuppertal suspension railway. “SKF was already there on site, integrated the components, and performed the adjustments. It was a great team effort,” says the operations manager. From a technical perspective, EasyRail Airless offers a load of features “that we’re still gradually getting to grips with”. Kaulfuss is confident that the project will be a success. “We’ll achieve our objective of keeping road noise to a minimum.”
SKF will be presenting further efficiency-enhancing solutions for the railway sector in September at the InnoTrans trade fair held in Berlin (20 to 23 September). Visitors to InnoTrans will find SKF in Hall 22, stand 606.
Failures of AC traction motors in freight rail systems are a major component behind breakdowns. Despite this, testing regimes for AC traction motors are often incomplete, and do not verify the entire motor. At the same time, testing is often technician-specific: there is often no clear method to ensure that all tests are performed, or that all results are accurately recorded.
BNSF, a major rail freight company in the US, was faced with these types of problems. It wanted to improve uptime and reliability of its trains, as it was seeing a lot of motor failures while the trains were on the rails. This made for expensive repairs, of the traction motor itself and often also of the drives for the motor.
This is where SKF Baker stepped in to help. It supplied 24 of its Baker AWA-IV automated motor test rigs to BNSF, which allowed the company’s technicians to perform more extensive testing of its AC traction motors. In addition, the devices were fitted with a custom-designed user interface that helped the technicians perform the tests more consistently – by guiding them through each test procedure. The interface was built specifically for BNSF, but can easily be adapted to the requirements of other rail companies.
BNSF had been using a different test rig for its motors, but the equipment was coming up short: it only verified groundwall insulation and could not give critical information about the windings, for example, the turn-to-turn insulation – which is the most prevalent cause of electrical motor faults. The Baker AWA-IV offered more complete fault coverage, which was crucial for improved motor reliability. AC traction motors for diesel electric trains are driven by variable speed drives (VSDs), which put a great stress on the motor windings due to fast voltage transients. Identifying winding failures in this case is therefore critical.
However, using the right piece of test kit was only part of the answer. Trains are complicated pieces of equipment. When they are tested, they must be tested properly – and consistently. It was vital to ensure that every technician in the organisation carried out exactly the same test – in terms of the order in which the tests were done, and with the same parameters and limits.
So, SKF Baker developed a customised user interface for the device to guide the technician through the entire test and troubleshooting process.
Introducing a consistent test regime across the organisation meant introducing a centralised ‘master’ test sequence. It is accessed from a central location – and can be adjusted if necessary. So, if test conditions need to be changed, by altering a test voltage or duration, for instance – these can be made centrally, then automatically updated on each AWA test device.
Consistency of testing is always important, but it has a special relevance here. Ordinarily, a repair shop within an organisation will handle a wide variation of motors and is unlikely to see two identical motors in a six-month timeframe. In this case, however, the same locomotives and motors are coming in every day, so it makes perfect sense to introduce as much automation and consistency as possible.
The test sequences are centralised, but so are the test results. This allows the company to run effective reports by analysing multiple test results. Data might reveal how a motor should be shielded, for example, or a systemic weakness in the feeder cables that are connected to it.
BNSF also asked specifically that test results be displayed as a ‘pass/fail’, rather than a specific value. This means that technicians are not tempted to re-test a motor if the result is ‘close’. The full detailed test results are centrally stored, allowing for statistical control of the tests. Again, this takes another level of variability out of the test procedure.
The custom interface was designed specifically for BNSF, but can be modified quite easily for other rail companies: every company has different job safety requirements, test regimes and different specific test parameters, and each new interface can take account of that. For instance, BNSF incorporated a test procedure to allow for ‘rain conditions’. In a repair shop, a train is sheltered – but out on the rails will frequently be subject to extreme weather. The SKF Baker interface implemented a test procedure whereby, after the ‘standard’ test, the motor leads were sprayed with water and the motor was re-tested. This is the kind of ‘test logic’ that is beyond the capability of standard test rigs.
The interface certainly worked for BNSF: after switching to the SKF Baker AWA-IV test rigs, the enhanced testing capability – and greater consistency – resulted in a 5 per cent reduction in motor failures per year, and 40 per cent reduction in phase module removals.
And, with a return on investment within one year, it was money well spent for the company.
The SKF Baker AWA-IV, with custom interface, will be seen at the Innotrans exhibition in Berlin, on 20-23 September 2016.
Now, working with academics from two leading Italian institutions1, a team of engineers from SKF has shown how a network of sensors can operate using low power wireless communications, greatly simplifying design, installation and maintenance.
Making a wireless network suitable for rail condition monitoring applications is difficult for several reasons. First, the sensors must be able to operate for long periods without being recharged or replaced. The axleboxes on some modern passenger trains may be expected to travel more than a million kilometres between overhauls, for example, and operators have ambitions to double that figure. The need to generate and store their own power means the sensors must be extremely energy efficient, greatly limiting the power available for the transmission of wireless signals.
Set against this need for low power is the large size of rail vehicles. A sensor mounted at the axlebox might have to transmit to a receiver almost 20m away in the centre of the vehicle, for example. Rail carriages are difficult environments for wireless transmission too. Large quantities of conductive material in the bogies, chassis and body of the vehicle can all block or interfere with signals.
To build a wireless network capable of meeting these requirements, the SKF team first had to choose a suitable working frequency for their proposed system. This choice was affected by numerous factors, including the regional regulations governing the use of the electromagnetic spectrum, the likelihood of interference from other equipment on or near the train, and the trade-off between the amount of data that can be carried on each frequency and the size of the hardware needed.
The team initially looked at three potential frequencies: 434MHz, 868MHz and 2.4GHz. They then set about examining the characteristics of the railway system using advanced simulation tools that model the reflection and diffraction of radio waves through and around the structure of a railway carriage.
This simulation explored a number of possible network configurations. This included a system where sensors on each bogie transmit to receivers mounted under the roof of the train, and an alternative approach in which sensors are equipped with both transmitter (Tx) and receiver (Rx) antennae, with each sensor communicating with its neighbors, then sending data along the train to a final receiver in the driver’s cab. The 2.4GHz frequency showed propagation issues, and the potential for interference from on-board Wi-Fi signals, but both 434MHz and 868MHz demonstrated good propagation values. After rejecting 434MHz since it would require large and complex antennae, the team eventually settled on 868MHz as the best compromise for the task. Physical tests using prototype equipment mounted on a real train confirmed the findings of the simulations.
The next essential element of the new approach was a new antenna design, optimised for the unique challenges of the rail environment. To allow sensors to be installed right where they are needed - on the axle-box of a bogie, for example - the overall size of the sensor, control electronics and antenna must be kept very small. And to survive for long periods under a train, any antenna design must be protected from dust and moisture ingress, and able to survive wide temperature swings and high levels of vibration.
To build an antenna that would meet these needs, the team selected a configuration called a Planar Inverted-F Antenna (PIFA). In this design, antenna elements are “built” over a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) which is covered in a conductive material to act as ground plane. A dielectric substrate with metallic layer is added to the other side of the PCB. This configuration is physically robust and transmits in any direction – another important characteristic for components that may have to be squeezed into difficult spaces.
By using a dielectric material with a very high relative permittivity (εr=10.9), the team was able to shrink the antenna to a size small enough to be suitable for a standard railway axlebox. Tests of the new antenna mounted inside an axlebox have shown that it exhibits excellent performance, and is less affected by the proximity of other large metal objects than current commercially available designs. These research results are proving invaluable as SKF develops the next generation of Internet of Things enabled products for the Railway market.
1 The team behind the work included Franco Lambertino and Mario Rossi from SKF’s Railway Segment; Gianluca Dassano, Francesca Vipiana and Mario Orefice from Antenna and EMC Lab (LACE), Dept. of Electronics and Telecommunications, Politecnico di Torino; and Sergio Arianos from the Antenna and EMC Lab (LACE), Istituto Superiore Mario Boella (ISMB), Torino. The group presented its research work at the 11th World Congress on Railway Research in Milan earlier this year.
Looking back more than a decade the wheels were one of the main limiting factors to extend the time between maintenance intervals. Nowadays the use of computer controlled under-floor lathes to remove flat spots and compensate for wear means that a set of wheels can last for more than 1.5 million km before replacement is required.
Until now the bearings upon which those wheels rotate have not been able to meet the longer wheel life. The service life of most components in the bearing, e.g., rings, rollers and seals can even with conservative life calculations outlast a set of wheels by a factor of two, but only if there is enough lubrication. This leads to the critical point. Grease life of railway wheel bearings has long been a weak link in extending bogie maintenance intervals.
Grease is a vital component in railway wheel bearings – it separates the metal surfaces inside the bearing to prevent wear and protects those surfaces against corrosion. The properties of grease change over time, however the base oil component within the grease – which provides lubrication and protection – gradually bleeds out of the thickener that holds it in place. Eventually, the grease is exhausted and must be replaced.
Standard rail bearing units typically require overhaul and re-lubrication every million km, a process that requires the vehicle to be taken out of service and the bearings removed. As the wheel life is getting longer the bearing becomes the limiting component. For operators, these periodic bearing overhauls are a costly and inconvenient maintenance requirement that they would avoid if they could. In an ideal world, bearing overhaul intervals would match the life of the wheel set, so that both jobs could be completed in a single operation.
That situation has become a reality, thanks to an intensive R&D project by engineers at SKF. The company’s latest railway wheel bearing has been designed to operate for 1.7 million km between overhauls, allowing bearing overhaul schedules to match replacement of even the most durable wheels. The SKF team achieved this reduction in maintenance requirements, by focussing on the factors that affect the life of the lubricant within the bearing.
That process began with the lubricant itself. “To maximise the performance and service life of grease, you have to balance the rate at which the base oil bleeds from the thickener,” explains Jan Babka, Senior Application Engineer in SKF’s rail division. “If the grease bleeds too fast, it will quickly become exhausted, but if it bleeds too slowly, it will not release sufficient oil to separate the metal surfaces.“ To find a grease with the best possible combination of characteristics for the wheel bearing application, SKF worked closely with leading rail industry lubricant suppliers.
Having achieved a good starting point, the team then addressed the other characteristics that affect grease life. “Grease life is influenced by a large number of factors, including temperature, rotational speed, bearing size, cleanliness, mechanical churning and other things like the presence of electric currents.” explains Babka. In a railway wheel bearing, most of those characteristics are determined already by the application, but three where we could have a lot of influence are smoother surfaces, cooler running and higher robustness”
Even if a rolling surface in a bearing feels smooth when you touch it – it is still not perfectly flat. The surface roughness plays an important role in how much wear and friction is generated. It is important to limit wear since any lose metallic particles can accelerate oxidisation of the grease and shorten grease life. It is also important to reduce friction due to surface roughness since it heats up the grease which in turns reduces grease life. For this reason SKF has refined the surface finishing process of our wheel bearings.
Controlling the temperature of the grease required SKF to draw upon its extensive experience of rolling bearing design. “As a rule of thumb, a 15°C increase in operating temperature will halve the life of the grease in a bearing,” explains Babka. “And the main cause of a rise in temperature is friction within the bearing.” The challenge for the SKF engineers, therefore, was to find a way of reducing friction without negatively affecting the strength or operating life of the bearing itself.
Their solution was subtle changes to bearing geometry to optimise the length of the contact between roller and raceway. A long contact gives a high carrying capacity of the bearing but you have to pay for that by increased friction and shorter grease life. The key is to find the right geometry for the right bearing and its operating conditions.. On a typical 130x240 size TBU, SKF’s testing revealed a 30 % reduction in rolling friction, resulting in a drop in temperature of 10°C under normal operating conditions.
To ensure that the bearing would not fail even when approaching the service life of the grease when wear can become a problem SKF make use of its patented Xbite heat treatment technology for the bearing rings. Xbite delivers an extra tough "bainite" steel with the same hardness as conventional "martensite" but with higher toughness and longer fatigue life. It also has a higher resistance to wear and a slower crack propagation.
The new SKF TBU is now in production in a range of common sizes. The unit, which is suitable for trains operating between 160 and 250kph, is already in service with one major European rail operator. So is this the last stop for technology development in railway wheel bearings? Babka doesn’t think so. “1.7 million km is what this industry is asking for today, but there is no doubt that it will always be looking for ways to extend component life and reduce maintenance requirements. In other rail applications, like traction motors, we already make use of other methods to provide even longer grease life, for example through the use of hybrid ceramic bearings. That technology it is too expensive today for large bearings, but it shows that in the long term, it should be quite possible to create a bearing that will run for 3 million km between overhauls.”
An industry trend for improved availability and performance of rolling stock has forced train manufacturers to find long life integrated products – as defined by the RAMS (Reliability, Availability, Maintainability, Safety) process. One important area of consideration is to extend service intervals – which boosts the availability of rolling stock while minimising the time spent maintaining and repairing it over its lifespan.
A carefully planned condition monitoring strategy is an essential requirement if service intervals and component operating life are to be extended. On-line condition monitoring systems and dedicated software programs have been developed to monitor bogies, wheelsets, axle boxes, propulsion systems and rail tracks.
An example is SKF’s IMx-R bogie condition monitoring system, which can be used to efficiently plan the bogie maintenance activities based on real component condition. The system includes sensors to detect running instability and bearing temperatures according to the requirements of the European Technical Specification for Interoperability, TSI Directive 96/48 EC. It provides a reliable performance overview that identifies potential damage before functional failure and the associated train service disruption, enabling operators to consolidate maintenance activities and perform necessary inspection and repair work during planned stops.
All this can extend maintenance intervals by reducing downtime and improving reliability. The collected data also supports root cause failure analysis, which helps to eliminate recurring problems and failures through equipment improvements, redesign and upgrade.
Service intervals can also be extended through approved lubrication techniques and by utilising automated lubrication systems. These can be fitted to critical equipment to dispense an exact amount of lubricant to bearings and other moving parts at predetermined intervals. It reduces the risk of under- and over-greasing and ensures consistent machinery performance. Determining the correct lubrication interval and quantity for the various bogie components was traditionally a matter of guesswork. These systems can also be linked to condition monitoring devices so that application of lubricants is based on actual operating conditions.
Railway vehicle bearings must be dependable under extreme conditions. Wheelset bearings are among the most safety-critical components on rail vehicles, withstanding heavy loads with minimal maintenance and constant exposure to the elements, possible contamination and extremes of climate.
Products such as compact tapered roller bearing units (CTBUs) are designed for use in all types of wheelsets, offering high load-carrying capacity in a small space. Low friction labyrinth seals ride on a special inner ring shoulder, which improves protection against contaminant ingress. The bearing also features a polyamide cage that minimises friction, roller slip and wear, while eliminating the risk of seizure. The CTBU can incorporate a sensor system to monitor wheelset conditions, such as: rotational speed for use in wheel slip/slide protection (WSP or WSSP), direction of movement for ATP systems as well as bearing temperature for the on-board monitoring system and traction control unit (TCU) systems. These Sensor signals are integrated on-board, for effective management of train movement and safety critical systems.
Value added services
Over the 30-year life of a train, services such as bearing refurbishment, bearing on site exchange and condition assessment can help to cut the time and cost of maintenance.
Refurbishing bearings usually involves a thorough cleaning, with all parts visually and dimensionally inspected using purpose-made fixtures and measuring gauges. Customer bearings can be upgraded to allow the use of better greases and seals, amongst other component improvements to support reliability. OEM Refurbishment often exceeds the stringent Railway Industry standards for rolling bearings.
On-site bearing replacement can cut costs, as it means an entire wheelset does not have to be replaced if a single component is defective. It involves the bearing supplier visiting the customer’s maintenance location with the equipment needed to exchange bearings on site. Typically, a complete bearing unit can be changed while the wheelset is still in the bogie at the depot under a train. Both bearings per wheelset can be changed in a few hours, so rolling stock can return to service as quickly as possible. Costs are a fraction of that for a complete replacement wheelset.
To further extend maintenance intervals, experts can assess the condition of bearings and produce documented evidence of bearing condition, along with recommendations to achieve better value. When the condition of the bearings from a train are studied, and the grease is analysed, comparison with the application details can reveal ways to improve bearing performance – such as upgrading bearing seals during refurbishment.
No component lasts forever, especially in the rail industry, but smart monitoring – and timely replacement – can ensure that any potential failures have a minimal effect on availability.
The sophisticated seal allows for an optimised friction pattern throughout the operation cycle of high speed trains. It incorporates a lip that is closed when the vehicle is travelling at low start and stop speeds to effectively exclude contamination from the bearing. When the speed is increased and the centrifugal force reaches a certain limit the lip opens and it becomes an almost zero friction seal, while the same centrifugal force prevents the ingress of pollution.
This intelligent two-seals-in-one design balances the trade-off between sealing function and friction torque, eliminating the need for a compromise on either. As a result, the unit can operate at a low temperature and extended maintenance intervals can be realised to cut the cost of servicing and improve the reliability of the application through cleaner grease. The significantly enhanced efficiency and energy savings can also lead to a reduction in the environmental impact of high speed rail.
“The SKF Centrifugal Lip Seal has been developed specifically to overcome the traditional sealing quandary manufacturers face with high speed train wheel set bearing units,” Maurizio Martinetti, Senior Project Manager at SKF Product Development, said. “No lip contact at low speeds meant there was a risk of contamination, while contact at high speeds led to energy-consuming friction and its other associated problems, such as excessive operating temperatures and the need for frequent maintenance. However, this new seal eliminates all of these issues for consistently efficient and high performance operation.”
See SKF at InnoTrans 2016: Hall 22, booth 606
For more information about SKF’s solutions for the railway industry, please visit: http://www.skf.com/group/industry-solutions/railways/index.html
Being shown in Europe for the first time at the expo will be SKF’s newly developed spherical roller bearings for wind turbine main shafts. These heavy duty bearings provide exceptional radial and axial robustness and outstanding reliability for sustainable energy production. Their adapted design means they can offer up to twice the fatigue life of conventional bearing types and can meet service life needs of more than 25 years for significant cost savings.
Also on show will be the Lincoln P623-S and P623-M electrically operated pumps with lightning protection for use in single-line and progressive automatic lubrication systems, respectively. Designed to withstand electromagnetic pulses caused by lightening strikes, these IP 67-rated models increase safety and meet the latest Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) requirements to bring lubrication systems into compliance.
SKF experts will be available in the booth at WindEnergy Hamburg to give full information and advice on its wide range of sector-specific solutions.
See SKF at WindEnergy Hamburg 2016: Hall B6, booth 374.
Gothenburg, Sweden, 16 September2016: In accordance with a resolution taken at the Annual GeneralMeeting of AB SKF on 31 March 2016, this is to announce therepresentatives of the four largest shareholders by number ofvotes, who, together with the Chairman of the Board, constitute theNomination Committee in preparation of the Annual General Meeting2017.
Marcus Wallenberg, FAM
Ramsay Brufer, Alecta
Anders Algotsson, AFA Försäkring
Anders Jonsson, Skandia
The Annual General Meeting of AB SKF will be held in Gothenburg onWednesday, 29 March, 2017.
Shareholders who wish to submit proposals on members of the AB SKFBoard, Board Chairman, Board fees, auditor, audit fees, Chairman ofthe Annual General Meeting, or Nomination Committee in preparationof the Annual General Meeting 2018, can, at the latest two monthsbefore the Annual General Meeting 2017, contact the Chairman of theBoard of AB SKF on e-mail:
or to one of the representatives at the following e-mail addresses:
For further information,please contact:
Press Relations: Theo Kjellberg, +46 31 3376576; +46 725 776 576; firstname.lastname@example.org
Investor Relations: Patrik Stenberg, +46 31337 2104; +46 705 472 104; email@example.com
SKF is a leading global supplierof bearings, seals, mechatronics, lubrication systems, and serviceswhich include technical support, maintenance and reliabilityservices, engineering consulting and training. SKF is representedin more than 130 countries and has around 17,000 distributorlocations worldwide. Annual sales in 2015 were SEK 75 997 millionand the number of employees was 46 635. www.skf.com
® SKF is a registered trademark of the SKF Group.
Gothenburg, 15 September 2016: For the 17th year in arow, SKF has been listed as one of the most sustainable companiesby the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI).
The Group’s performance within supply chainmanagement and overall environmental management programme onceagain ranked highly in the survey.
Rob Jenkinson, Director, Corporate Sustainability,says, “Our long-running inclusion in the DJSI is something that weare all very proud of within SKF. Sustainability issues forbusinesses have evolved during this period, with an ever increasingfocus on reducing negative environmental impacts and doing more forsociety as a whole. We maintain our focus on understanding theseissues and the role we can play to help address them – now, and inthe future.”
“Doing so is good for society, the environment andmakes long term business sense for SKF, our customers andsuppliers.”
The Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes were launched in1999 and are the longest-running and most prestigious globalsustainability benchmarks worldwide. In addition, SKF is alsoa member of the FTSE4Good Index and Ethibel Sustainability Index(ESI) Excellence Europe.
The 12-volt PowerLuber features a lithium-ion battery for maximum power and efficiency and delivers grease at up to 8,000 psi (551 bar). Its three-point base keeps the tool upright for user convenience and helps prevent dirt and debris from entering the motor. Its ergonomic, lighter-weight construction reduces operator fatigue and allows easy access to tight areas.
The tool’s new dual-lip follower enables bulk or cartridge delivery and eliminates grease bypass. The 12-volt PowerLuber has a bright, built-in light emitting diode to illuminate the work area. Also, the grease gun has an integrated hose holder and tube guide for secure hose storage and easy threading of the grease barrel.
Find SKF’s new Lincoln PowerLuber grease gun at Automechanika: Hall 9.1., booth E79.
Product safety is the top priority for food and drink manufacturers, consumers and regulators alike. The latest industry requirements, like the US Food Safety Modernization Act and ISO 22000, require companies to place increased emphasis on equipment and processes designed to prevent product contamination during manufacture.
Bearings used in food production machinery present multiple challenges in this context. The wide temperature variations, high humidity and chemically aggressive environments found in food production can lead to accelerated corrosion and wear. That challenge is compounded by wash-down protocols involving pressurized water jets and chemical cleaning agents. Even maintenance and bearing replacement procedures create risks of contamination from dropped parts or spilled lubricants.
The foundation of SKF’s offering is the Food Line range of deep groove ball bearings, which feature industry standard stainless steel rings, rolling elements, cages and seal backing plates. For the most demanding environments, meanwhile, the MRC Ultra corrosion resistant range uses proprietary high nitrogen corrosion resistant (HNCR) stainless steel rings and ceramic rolling elements for dramatically improved fatigue life.
As standard the bearings in both ranges are pre-lubricated with NSF in category H1 grease suitable for incidental contact in food production environments. In accordance with FDA recommendations, the synthetic rubber seals used in the bearings are coloured blue for optical detectability. In addition the SKF Food Line stainless steel deep groove ball bearing seals have EC approval.
An alternative to conventional grease lubrication is SKF’s Solid Oil technology, a polymer matrix saturated with food grade lubrication oil that keeps contaminants out and resists wash-down chemicals and water without emulsifying. Solid Oil completely fills the internal space within the bearing, encapsulating the cage and rolling elements. The resulting lack of internal voids eliminates “breathing”, where temperature changes between operation and cleaning cycles can allow conventional bearings to draw in moisture, causing corrosion. The Solid Oil matrix also contains two to four times more oil than conventional greased bearings, meaning lubricant life is extended, reducing routine maintenance requirements and a particular benefit in hard to reach areas.
SKF can use its extensive experience of the food and beverage production environment to develop custom solutions for the most demanding applications. One major ice cream producer, for example was suffering premature bearing failures in its hardening tunnels, as a result of corrosion due to moisture ingress in the bearings. The problem was exacerbated by breathing during cleaning cycles when bearing temperate rises rapidly from -45°C to +25°C.
SKF replaced the conventional bearings use in the machine’s 32 hubs with MRC HNCR units, lubricated with food grade Solid Oil and further protected by a custom machined, FDA approved optically detectable secondary seal. The new design has extended expected bearing life for the customer from one year to six1 , and eliminated the need for periodic relubrication with traditional grease, significantly reducing the risk of product contamination and also providing further productivity benefits.
Find more information on SKF's corrosion resistant bearings for the food and beverage industry on http://www.skf.com/group/industry-solutions/food-and-beverage/product-news.
1 based on analysis following the first year of operation.
To help customers and people interested in the maritime industry to stay up to speed with the latest industry news and provide technical insights and advice, SKF has launched Engineering at Sea, a brand new online magazine and interactive platform. Topics are focused on innovations, safety, green technology, engineering practice and industry news.
It delivers regular news articles, interviews, opinion columns, videos, blogs, and more, that can help shipbuilders and shipping companies tackle the operational challenges of minimizing operating costs, improving energy efficiency, and increasing availability, all while complying with ever stricter regulations.
Readers can actively participate with comments and ideas, join conversations and have direct contact with the experts on the discussed topics.
Whether the readers are engineers, ship owners, crew members, or simply someone with an interest in the marine industry, the interactive online magazine Engineering at Sea should offer value insights.
The full news site can be viewed at engineeringatsea.skf.com
The robust WRL is helping the Athens-based firm to ensure optimum lubrication in all of its wire rope applications, while supporting the business’ key objectives, such as zero incidents and zero harm to the environment. For example, the lubrication system eliminates the need for manual lubrication by hand, which can be extremely time consuming and dangerous, and the precise application of lubricants reduces consumption by up to 25 percent to not only cut costs but also to reduce waste and the impact it has on the planet.
“We have been using the wire rope lubricator solution for two years and it has been proving to be highly reliable, with no issues during time in operations,” says Konstantinos Giannoulis, Purchasing, Pantheon Tankers Management.
In addition, maintenance can now be carried out up to 90 percent quicker than before as the system can lubricate between 30 and 35 metres of rope per minute. The WRL, which supports all lubricants typically used with wire rope, is attached to the equipment periodically and works by forcing only the right amount of grease into the rope core. It distributes the lubrication evenly and adheres it to each wire for long lasting protection against friction and heat generation, while also reducing the risk of corrosion.
On top of the benefits being delivered by the WRL, Pantheon Tankers Management also praised the customer and after sales service that it has received from SKF over the last two years since implementing the solution.
See SKF and the WRL at SMM 2016: Hall A1, stand 210
Each complete kit comprises all the components needed for one resilient mount, including SKF Vibracon chocks, an adaptor plate, SKF spherical washers, an adjustment tool, foundation bolts, nuts, jack bolts and locking bolts. It is delivered as a one-box solution for trouble-free implementation, and allows for alterations and height adjustments during the installation process to achieve accurate alignment and even load distribution for optimum application support.
The new Vibracon kit also ensures compliance with resilient mount manufacturers’ installation requirements, and offers slope and angular compensation without the need for time-consuming traditional chocking methods, such as the welding of machined steel plates and the use of epoxy resins. Furthermore, as it eliminates the problems and waste associated with high temperatures, welding fumes and resins it is far cleaner than conventional chocking processes and can reduce the environmental impact of the application.
SKF experts will be available on the stand at the leading international maritime trade fair to give more information and visitors will be able to see a demonstration of Vibracon kits for resilient mounts.
The solution is available for immediate delivery.
See SKF at SMM 2016: Hall A1, stand 210
The use of fin stabilizers to control rolling motions has resulted in significant improvements to passenger comfort and safety in a wide range of vessels, from yachts to cruise ships, ferries as well as commercial vessels. Retractable designs, such as the SKF retractable fin stabilizer type S and type Z, reduce the flow resistance significantly. Now SKF engineers have found a smart way to further reduce the flow resistance associated with this design, while retaining all its other benefits.
When a vessel is in motion, the fin box opening in the side of the hull creates turbulence, increasing drag on the vessel. With operating efficiency posing a high priority for customers, SKF wanted to find a way to minimise the resistance even more and thereby decrease fuel consumption.
The solution is a deceptively simple, pneumatically operated design. The new SKF Dynamic Stabilizer Cover (DSC) uses two specially shaped air cushions, fitted to the top and bottom of the fin box with small steel rails. In normal operation, the cushions are inflated using compressed air from the vessel’s existing pneumatic systems. Inflated, the cushions form a smooth, streamlined cover over the fin box opening, a shape that has been shown by computer modelling as well as real life tests to reduce drag by around 90 percent.
When the stabilizer fin is to be extended or retracted, air is released from the cushions by opening the valve. The cushions are then deflated by the water pressure outside the hull, creating room for the fin’s movement. When deployment or housing is complete, the cushions can be re-inflated. Control of the cover is fully integrated into the stabilizer fin control systems, requiring no additional action by the crew.
The DSC is constructed from a highly durable Kevlar mesh coated with neoprene rubber which provides extra protection from barnacles and other marine life that may accumulate on the fin.
The DSC cover will be available as an option for new vessels using all sizes of SKF retractable fin stabilizers and it is also possible to retrofit the system on existing fin installations.
See SKF at SMM 2016: Hall A1, stand 210
While emissions from engine exhausts, bilge water separators, sewage systems, and incinerators have been methodically checked for decades, previously this has been a decentralised process, with values being measured separately - often by crew members with insufficient training for the job. One solution is to implement a central system that takes measurements from various sources of onboard emissions, adding a time stamp and GPS coordinates. This would create a geo-referenced logbook of emissions, helping ship owners to provide authorities with more detailed information, even years after the data was captured.
One such system is SKF's BlueMon, however this solution goes one step further by fully automating the measurement and logging process, taking into account the ship's location and adjusting emissions limits compliant with those of the maritime zone in which the ship is moving. BlueMon senses when a maritime boundary is being crossed (at which point, different regulations may apply) alerting the captain if the current emissions exceed the limits for that zone.
While manual intervention is possible at this point, BlueMon can independently check the current emission values provided by onboard sensors. If necessary, to meet differing emission limits, additional treatment can be initiated. BlueMon can control, for example, the discharge of bilge water through the system’s own overboard valve in accordance to the limits programmed by the crew. The system will also sound a warning when the ship is approaching the shore, meaning that it must shift to a cleaner fuel, for example, or must not discharge bilge water overboard.
BlueMon is of modular design and can be individually configured as needed. In its standard form, the system comprises a central data logger connected to a PC running a software engine relevant to each of the Annexes to the MARPOL regulations, which will monitor the respective emissions. All data is displayed on the BlueMon Information System for at-a-glance viewing. The user can switch between views that show geographical maps with the ship’s current position and emission zones, and a clearly laid out overview of the current emission values. This view displays the emission values set forth in MARPOL Annex 1 (Regulations for the Prevention of Oil Pollution) – together with a graphical representation of the bilge water system – all on a single screen. The emission values set forth in Annexes 2-6 are also available and summarised on a further screen.
At the moment, the BlueMon system is self-contained, being restricted to the ship itself. The technical possibility of ship-to-shore transmission is likely to be introduced in the next 18 months, similar in many ways to current onboard condition-based monitoring (CBM) systems which are able to transmit CBM data back to shore for remote, expert analysis, and allowing appropriate remedial actions to be relayed back to the ship’s crew.
BlueMon is an attractive option that reduces the crew’s workload and provides greater certainty for ship owners who have assurance that their vessels comply with the regulations - something that is becoming increasingly difficult for crews to maintain manually. With some maritime zones now likely to be monitored by sensor-equipped drones, many shipping experts around the world conclude that, today, you absolutely cannot afford to break the MARPOL convention.
Those improvements begin at the housing. The revised design is stiffer and around 50kg lighter (in the case of a mid-sized 550 unit) than its predecessor. The redesign of the seal enables an easier installation or replacement by vessel crews, as does a new dowel pin design that can be pushed through the housing. The bearing shell is now solely made of steel rather than cast iron and is secured with a new positive locking mechanism.
Further weight savings and installation improvements have been achieved with a new chock liner design. The revised steel chock liners are around 30 percent lighter and identical liners are used in every location, with their position clearly indicated on the bearing unit. The bearing can be mounted on conventional steel chocks or in a tripod configuration using easily re-adjustable and re-usable SKF Vibracon chocks, which are surface treated to resist corrosion and enhance the durability of the mounting system. Casting with epoxy resin is also possible.
Other changes to facilitate assembly and maintenance include a simplified seal design and a new top-mounted transparent oil scraper cover that allows easy inspection and straightforward access. A new, larger 6mm temperature sensor comes with cables attached to a terminal strip and an IP67 rated junction box. A 2x3 wire dual sensor is available as an option. The integrated cooling coil uses robust, simplified connections protected against damage by overtightening or external impacts.
Overall, the new SKF Simplex intermediate shaft bearing offers significant payback time and total lifecycle cost benefits, from fast installation at the shipyard, to a long operating life and easy maintenance.
Gothenburg, 8 September 2016: SKF is supplying arange of bearings, seals and linear actuation technologies forScania’s new generation of trucks. The result of over 10 years ofdevelopment, during which time SKF has worked in conjunction withScania on developing tailored solutions, these trucks lower fuelconsumption and significantly improve driver comfort.
SKF technologies can be found throughout Scania’s newgeneration of trucks. These include gearbox bearings, prop-shaftbearings and engine bearings and seals. The tailor-made winddeflector, which uses linear actuation technology to allow for easeof adjustment, is also being supplied by SKF.
SKF is also supplying updated front- and rear-wheeltruck hub units, which reduce friction by up to 30%, compared tostandard wheel bearing sets.
Stéphane Le Mounier, President, Automotive andAerospace, says: “Scania and SKF have a long history ofcollaboration and putting the drivers’ needs in focus. This is onceagain being manifested in their new generation of trucks, whichcreate a comfortable and safe workplace for drivers, whilstoffering haulage firms greater reliability and improved fuelefficiency.”
Deliveries to Scania have already commenced.
In many instances, bearing designs are highly specialised to meet demanding conditions; for example, operation in areas such as suction rolls where there is constant exposure to moisture, or in dryer sections with high levels of humidity and heat. Installed and maintained correctly, and protected by appropriate lubrication systems, bearings should provide a long and trouble free operating life.
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to maintain bearings under ideal conditions, as bearings expert and SKF Business Unit Manager, Rudolf Groissmayr, explains. “Bearings can wear prematurely and fail unexpectedly for many different reasons. The most common causes include poor or incorrect lubrication, failed seals, misalignment of shafts, and changes in machine operating conditions. These often arise if attempts are made to increase line speeds or steam temperatures in dryers as a means of improving output; this can, however, move the bearing performance envelope outside its original specification”.
Although it’s unusual for a bearing to fail unexpectedly – the latest condition monitoring and oil analysis systems should provide sufficient advance warning to prevent such an occurrence – it is common to find bearings suffering from indentations and micro-fissures in rolling surfaces and raceways that, over time, affect the performance and efficiency of the bearings and thus of the shafts or cylinders that they support.
Ultimately, regardless of how carefully engineered, installed and maintained they are, bearings that are in constant use will eventually reach a point where they require either repair or replacement. Although there are arguments in favour of each approach, in the current economic climate, where mills face a combination of intense global competition, rising input prices, there is a strong impetus wherever possible to repair rather than replace bearings.
Rudolf Groissmayr manages one of SKF’s Industrial Service Centres, specialising in the remanufacture of bearings for the pulp and paper sector. He notes that, “One of the biggest challenges for production or maintenance engineers is minimising machine downtime. The problem with bearing replacement is that it’s often impossible to determine how damaged a bearing has become until it’s dismounted and removed from the machine, by which time of course the line has stopped. If a new bearing is required then this can be costly and, as few suppliers keep such specialised or expensive components in stock, may require a special factory order, which can take weeks or in some cases months to fulfil. The alternative is to remanufacture the bearing.”
“Remanufacture is possible in over fifty percent of applications and can normally be carried out within days and at a considerably lower cost than purchasing a new product. It is also possible to remanufacture a bearing – especially older bearings – to a higher standard of quality and performance than the original part.”
Besides productivity gains, Rudolf Groissmayr sees some real environmental benefits of remanufacturing bearings. “Not only are there real commercial and technical benefits for mill operators, there is also a powerful argument in favour of environmental sustainability, as remanufacturing uses up to 90 percent less energy than that required to produce a new component.”
The purpose of remanufacturing, however, is not generally to produce a bearing better than the original but to increase its service life.
It should be recognised that remanufacturing is an extremely demanding process that requires specialised knowledge and equipment to ensure that the bearing properties are maintained and guarantee continued reliability once the product is back in operation. “Working with a specialised supplier is essential”, says Rudolf Groissmayr. “Not only will they have the capabilities to carry out the work quickly to the highest standards, they will also be able to help a customer understand why the bearing was damaged in the first place and to assist with subsequent machine optimisation to minimise the risk of subsequent failures.”
Not all bearings are suitable for remanufacture. Those with heavy damage or fractures are generally only fit for recycling. The remanufacturing process therefore begins with an expert assessment of bearing condition, to determine both suitability for remanufacture and the type and extent of work required. An important aspect that is often overlooked is to assess bearing condition in the context of its application, taking into account the bearing load, lubrication conditions and time in operation; this enables the nature of the problem that has caused the damage to be fully understood.
A clear distinction has to be made between problems of subsurface-initiated fatigue and surface-initiated fatigue. The former describes the shear stresses that appear cyclically immediately below the load carrying surface of the rings and rolling elements. These stresses cause microscopic fissures that gradually extend to the surface and, as the rolling elements pass over these fissures, fragments of the surface material spalls or breaks away. Bearing raceways with damage caused by subsurface-initiated fatigue are not normally suitable for remanufacture, while those suffering from surface initiated fatigue can generally be restored by honing or grinding.
When a bearing arrives at an SKF remanufacturing centre, it is visually inspected and parameters such as residual magnetism and clearance are checked. The bearing is then disassembled and cleaned before the component parts are carefully inspected and their dimensions measured. This includes standard measurement of ring wall thickness and ovality, with the option of ultrasonic testing to detect subsurface micro-cracks. Additionally, measurement of hardness, roller diameter set variation and outer dimensions can be added depending on the condition of the bearing and the criticality of the application.
This initial assessment phase is then followed by the submission of a customer report and a recommendation for further actions. The subsequent remanufacturing process is undertaken in a dedicated production facility, combining advanced automation and control systems with the engineering knowledge of experienced technicians.
The remanufacturing process is effectively divided into four categories: service level 1 (SL1) covers inspection and analysis of failures; service level 2 (SL2) covers the process of restoring bearings that have not been used but may have degraded due to lengthy or incorrect storage; service level 3 (SL3) covers the remanufacture of bearings, primarily by polishing processes, with the reuse of existing components; service level 4 (SL4) is for the extensive remanufacture of bearings requiring the replacement of components and grinding of raceways. In each case, remanufactured bearings are reassembled, quality inspected and marked for traceability before being packed and returned to the customer.
Rudolf Groissmayr believes that bearing remanufacture offers considerable advantages. “Our experience has shown that remanufacturing can help paper mills reduce their annual bearing replacement costs. This can vary, depending on the business model, but can typically be between ten and twelve percent. Just as importantly, the relatively short lead times mean that, with careful planning, bearings can be remanufactured during normal line shutdown, thereby minimising any loss of productivity. Finally, the potential energy savings also make remanufacturing an attractive option from an environmental perspective”.
A good example is the development of a new class of wheel tapered roller bearing units (TBUs) that are the first in the world to offer a period between overhauls that matches wheel replacement intervals, allowing the combination of wheelset and bearing overhaul in a single maintenance operation.
While standard rail bearings typically require overhaul and re-lubrication well before one million km, the new TBUs are designed to run for 1.7 million km between overhauls, matching the maintenance interval of the wheelset. This has been achieved by focusing on the factors that affect lubricant life within the bearing - most significantly cleanliness and operating temperature - and considered use of SKF's proprietary X-bite® heat treatment technology on the inner and outer bearing races.
Also showing will be the new SKF Centrifugal Lip Seal that dynamically switches between contacting and non-contacting sealing modes in wheelset bearing units. This novel design balances the trade-off between sealing function and friction torque, enabling lower temperature operation and supports extended maintenance intervals.
Other offers on show include a the SKF Baker AWA-IV traction motor test rig with customisable user interface and specialised wheel flange lubrication systems to reduce track squeal and wear.
Visitors to the InnoTrans fair (Berlin, 20th-23rd September) will find SKF in Hall 22, booth 606.
Among the market leading technologies to feature at the trade show will be SKF’s S2M magnetic bearings and E300V2control cabinet that allows monitoring and servicing in demanding environments, such as in gas compressors, high-speed electric motor drives and ethylene turboexpanders. Also on display will be SKF’s MBScope service software package, which offers in-depth, autonomous monitoring of critical parameters to further optimise magnetic bearing applications.
Meanwhile, SKF’s state of the art Multilog On-Line System IMx-M will be on show to demonstrate its reliability enhancing capabilities for critical offshore machinery. When used with the SKF @ptitude Monitoring Suite software, this powerful yet cost effective condition monitoring system enables end users to maximise the availability of assets and prevent downtime through early fault detection and diagnosis.
SKF will also present a range of sealing solutions from Kaydon Ring and Seal at the trade fair. These include dry gas seals, circumferential barrier seals, oil buffered seals and seal control systems that are proven to boost the resilience of turbomachinery, while minimising downtime in oil and gas applications.
SKF experts will be available in the booth at the Turbomachinery and Pump Symposia, which will take place at the George R Brown Convention Center in Houston, to give comprehensive information and advice on its wide range of solutions.
See SKF at Turbomachinery and Pump Symposia: Booth 1510
This is done at the operator’s peril, because when these components break down – or run below optimum efficiency – the whole process suffers. Manufacturing and process companies are under huge cost pressures at the moment, making it vital to maximise assets and maintain uptime.
Only recently, a processing giant was forced to run its Finnish refinery at 70% utilisation following a malfunction in one of its cooling systems. The problem is expected to cause production losses of several tens of millions of euros – which drives home the importance of the humble fan to overall profitability.
The specific refinery problem was caused by a new air cooler, which was installed during a recent maintenance turnaround – showing that even brand new components can cause problems.
If a component is malfunctioning, the temptation is simply to replace it. However, an upgrade – by relubricating, or changing a bearing set, for example – often makes more sense. Replacing a part can mean huge upheaval, as the old machine is removed and a new one installed. People underestimate how much is involved in this process. Upgrading can avoid all that – and is likely to cost less.
In fact, upgrades are a necessary part of building plant efficiency over time. When commissioning a new plant, there is rarely enough money upfront to buy the best equipment across the board. However, it can actually be better – both economically and technically – to upgrade equipment over time. It helps operators focus on equipment with reliability issues and avoids ‘design overkill’ on the original plant.
A word of warning: safety must never be compromised. Plants that are specified with too much emphasis on cost reduction run the risk of being ‘under designed’ – and that can be dangerous.
Reliability and efficiency
In most cases, pumps and fans are upgraded to improve two things: reliability or efficiency.
A good example of a pump reliability upgrade is changing the lubrication system. In hot, humid regions – or a humid environment like a pulp and paper mill – there’s always a danger of bearings corroding through water ingress. Atmospheric moisture gets into the oil sump and condense, and is transferred to the bearing by the oil rings. Just 200ppm of water in oil is enough to degrade bearings fast.
A common solution is to fit an oil mist lubrication system e.g. the SKF Alemite ones, which sprays micro-sized droplets of oil at the exact lubrication point. It guarantees fresh oil in the system and cures water ingress. This type of system is becoming more common: around half of all refineries in the US are now using oil mist systems in their pumps.
One of the most effective efficiency upgrades is to introduce a variable speed drive (VSD) to the pump or fan. Done properly, this can slash energy consumption by a huge 30%. However, the electrical output of the drive can cause arcing – which can destroy the bearing in a very short time. In extreme cases, this can happen inside three days.
The answer is to upgrade the system, most notably by fitting insulating bearings such as SKF’s Insocoat bearings (ceramic coated) or using hybrid bearings (ceramic rolling elements), which withstand electrical arcing. This is particularly important for smaller motors. Other measures – such as brushes, earthing, insulating couplings and special condition monitoring – can also help to alleviate the problem.
On the surface, it appears that introducing VSDs is adding a problem. However, the huge saving in electricity far exceeds the extra cost of fitting the VSD and upgrading the bearing system.
Fans have many similarities with pumps – but it’s true to say that fans often start with worse original design conditions. At SKF we have a portfolio of upgrades such as self-aligning bearing systems, fan oil lubrication systems etc. that can help to boost their efficiency and reliability. For certain types of fan, the scope for upgrade is even larger than it is for pumps.
As with pumps, VSDs can help to boost the energy efficiency of fans. Again, insulated bearings help to extend component lifetime. Another problem – far more common on fans than pumps – is misalignment. This is even more prevalent for large fans, which are commonly used in industries including pulp and paper, cement and metals processing.
An effective solution is to specify a self-aligning and axial free bearing, such as SKF CARB toroidal roller bearings. This corrects angular and axial displacement, while a standard spherical roller bearing takes the thrust loading. When upgrading, it is common to replace both standard roller bearings with the new arrangement – rather than simply inserting one self-aligning bearing.
With or without an upgrade, it’s possible to further extend the lifetime of pumps and fans by keeping a close eye on them through online asset monitoring. This technique is commonly used to monitor expensive, process-critical equipment by spotting problems as they happen. For example, it can detect the tiniest changes in bearing vibration – giving an early indication of impending failure, and allowing remedial action to be taken before the problem escalates into inefficiency or even catastrophic failure.
It is usually applied to expensive machinery, but the emergence of reliable, affordable sensors – and the ability to process large amounts of data – means it can also be used with smaller equipment such as pumps and fans.
Equipping each pump or fan with sensors, including a transmitter, as done in SKF Wireless Machine Condition Sensor, allows the creation of a sensor network. Output data can regularly be analysed and acted upon. For example, sensors can identify whether cavitation is developing in a pump – allowing operators to respond to the problem by adjusting its running speed, or switching to a back-up pump. There are often hundreds of pumps in a process plant or refinery. The challenge, as always, is to process the vast amounts of data generated by the sensors.
Online monitoring can be used to nurse a ‘problem’ machine back to health – by monitoring it more frequently than similar machines. It also allows machines in hazardous areas to be monitored without endangering staff – or, at least, by minimising the number of times they have to check the machine.
That said, there are some things – such as a leaking seal, yet is a sign of impending failure – that a sensor cannot spot. In these instances, it is vital that operators make visual assessments of components and supply this information alongside the automated online data. This operator-driven reliability (ODR) is another vital factor in keeping pumps and fans running for as long as possible. Skilled operators get to know their equipment – and will spot things that even a sophisticated sensor will miss.
ODR has become popular in applications such as pump farms in refineries, and can make a huge difference in performance: at SKF, we have seen that ODR has helped increase mean time between failures (MTBF) by 15%, while decreasing maintenance costs by more than 10% in this area.
These two approaches – online monitoring and ODR – are complementary to one another, and are best used side by side. In each case, a skilled operator – one at the machine side, the other analysing process data – is using their experience to help squeeze more performance and longevity from a pump or fan.
There are many technologies available in relation to lubricants and lubrication that ensure the right amount & type of lubrication applied at the right time. However, identification of potential negative impacts on HACCP have led to the emergence of a different approach in managing lubrication proactively.
Lubrication practices are not always effective. And costs can be daunting.
As good lubrication practices are widely accepted to be fundamental to plant reliability, the question is not about re-lubricating, but about the choices made to achieve the right outcome.
How effective are your current lubrication practices?
If you are manually lubricating – do you know how much, with what and how often?
Some typical answers throughout the industry are: “I relubricate when I feel it is the right time”, “how much – depends on the size of the man using the grease gun”, “ what with – depends on what grease cartridge is in the stores”. In other words, in the food and beverage industry relubrication can be still an ad-hoc activity and not scientifically applied.
Why you should be concerned
The consequences of ineffective lubrication can be excessive downtime, high spares consumption, food and operator safety risks and ultimately an expensive toll on the maintenance budget. In other words, lubrication actions can often cause as many problems as they solve:
- Frequent re-lubrication implies grease and labour costs, re-lubrication to purge bearing positions
- Contamination risk: food safety can often be compromised by over-lubricating
- Operator safety: re-lubricating in hazardous working area with difficult access. Additionally - leaking seals can cause slips and trips. The cost of absenteeism due to injuries is high
- Resources & skills: challenge of skill level in the industry to perform the correct re-lubrication and retaining that knowledge
The industry is sending warning signs
Ever tightening industry regulations to ensure food safety are demanding different ways of managing lubrication. Very often lubrication management review is part of the HACCP certification and is checked by third party regulators, which can be employed by the producer or imposed on them by their customers, often retailers. The new Food Safety Modernisation Act (2011) for example is designed to prevent contamination in the food chain, rather than define reactive procedures for dealing with problems, once they arise.
You certainly would not wish to be one of those companies faced with a recall due to food safety issues.
As a result of safety or health recall of food product:
- 55% would switch brands at least temporarily
- 16% would never purchase the product again
- 17% would avoid any product with the recalled brand (Harris Poll, 2014)
Furthermore, companies are pressured to set targets for environment and sustainability, which can be impacted by the way lubrication and relubrication is executed. Zero landfill is one of the common KPIs to follow and the trend is to change from a disposal oriented to an avoidance focused environmental strategy. (The Zero Landfill Initiative)
For example, it is common practice to re-lubricate bearings after each washdown. During this process, excess grease is dis-charged past the bearing seals (purged). This can compromise food safety, people safety and of course asset reliability. At the next wash down cycle, the grease is washed away and into the plant’s waste water.
Managing lubrication as a strategy instead of lubrication management as a practice
It is now time the food and beverage industry should reconsider the way lubrication is practiced on sites and look into alternative technologies that provide food & operator safety, optimized costs and environmental benefits in the same time.
Among the dedicated technologies available to support management of the lubrication of food and beverage processing machinery, relubrication-free bearings and advanced sealing systems have emerged as potential solutions that can mitigate against risk of food and operator safety, also avoiding excess lubricants being washed into the waste water stream or disposing of grease cleaning wipes.
Start with pro-actively assessing costs, risks, opportunities and benefits of managing lubrication
At SKF, we have found that a Technical Assessment of a production process provides the structure to readily identify potential issues, risks, opportunities and benefits in moving from current approaches. And the good news is that it does not require much of your time and from this it should be easy to plan short, medium and long term activities.
Challenge the “always done it this way”
Identification of potential negative impacts on HACCP can lead to areas for improvement where SKF offers a range of technology and service offerings dedicated to helping you manage lubrication. These cover for example
- Re-lubrication free bearing technologies
- High efficiency seals that keep lubricants in and contaminants out
- Lubrication management: we can review and optimize lubrication strategy and lubrication routines in order to:
- Apply the right amount of lubricant at the right intervals manually or through automatic systems
- Use the right tools following the correct methods
- Set up an appropriate training program for maintenance technicians and operators
- SKF can also provide a smart way to detect poor lubrication condition by analyzing vibration data through ‘vibration parameters’.
There are different ways to meet this challenge - at SKF we can do more than traditional lubrication management looking only at lubricants and the way to apply them; we can bring technologies that take away the need to re-lubricate, adding value from a food safety, cost , reliability or environmental perspective. What makes the difference is our deep knowledge of rotating equipment, industry experience and commitment to reduce your cost of ownership.
Fact box 1:
“15-25% of maintenance budget is lost due to poor lubrication management” – food and beverage industry estimation
Fact box 2:
Unscheduled absenteeism costs roughly $3,600 per year for each hourly worker and $2,650 each year for salaried employees. (http://www.workforceinstitute.org/)
CMPC is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of pulp, tissue, forestry and paper and packaging products. The company operates in eight countries in Latin America, employs over 17,000 people and exports to customers around the globe.
CMPC’s facilities in Latin America include extensive and sustainably managed forestry plantations, plus a range of saw, pulp, containerboard, corrugated, plywood and tissue mills. The company also has plants for moulded products and recycling, plus a paper distribution business unit.
Throughout, the focus is on quality and efficiency, with the reliability of every production system being critical. Francisco Javier Morales, Assistant Manager for Procurement at CMPC, explains, “We operate a lean business model, with all our production lines being optimised to maximise output as safely, efficiently and sustainably as possible. We therefore work closely with our suppliers to ensure that this philosophy is reflected across the supply chain and build strong relationships with strategic partners such as SKF.”
The new agreement between CMPC and SKF means that SKF will become a supplier of bearings, housings and accessories, for all of CMPC’s plants in Chile. The list of specified SKF products includes: Spherical Roller Bearings, Deep Groove Ball Bearings, Cylindrical Roller Bearings, Self-Aligning Ball Bearings and CARB Toroidal Roller Bearings, plus a variety of linear motion and sealing products.
Oscar Olivares Reyes, Key Account Manager for Pulp & Paper at SKF, highlights the fact that, “many of these products are used in extremely demanding applications, with extremes of temperature and humidity, and are installed in areas that are difficult to access. Our reputation for product quality and reliability, plus our long track record of supplying bearings to the pulp and paper sector, therefore played an important role in helping us secure the new contract.”
Francisco Javier Morales adds, “Our decision to be partner with SKF was also based on their ability to provide a range of training, technical support and consultancy services, which will help us optimise plant efficiency and reliability still further.”
Gothenburg, 21 July 2016:
Alrik Danielson, President and CEO:
“Net sales in the second quarter was SEK 18.4billion. Organic sales development was in-line with ourexpectations, 4% higher than the previous quarter and 4% loweryear-over-year.
Although markets remain challenging, our costreduction initiatives, including the profit improvement programmewithin Automotive, are materializing according to plan. Thiscontributed to an 11% operating margin excluding one-time items.Cash flow generation was a solid SEK 1.2 billion (excludingdivestments and acquisitions), around SEK 500 million higher thanlast year. This continued resilient performance is a sign that weare on the right track in our effort to shape SKF into beingleaner, more customer-focused and competitive.
The consolidation of three factories in NorthAmerica was announced on 9 June, including an investment of SEK 150million in manufacturing upgrades. This is the latest activity inour ongoing programme of investments in making our manufacturingmore flexible, competitive and better suited to serve ourcustomers.
The divestments of our Kaydon velocity controland fly-by-wire businesses were completed on 30 June. As a result,we received SEK 3 125 million, which contributed positively to cashflow in the quarter. The effect on net profit was SEK -380 million,mainly related to taxes that we expect to pay in the comingquarters. In total, over SEK 4 billion has now been raised throughthe divestments of non-core businesses during the last 12months.
As we look ahead, we see signs of the marketstabilizing. Entering the third quarter of 2016, demand for SKF’sproducts and services is expected to be relatively unchangedcompared to the same period last year. Sequentially, demand isexpected to be weaker, in-line with normal seasonality.”
|Key figures, SEKm||Q2 2016||Q2 2015||YTD 2016||YTD 2015|
|Net sales||18 370||19 961||36 090||39 415|
|Operating profit excl. one-time items||2 020||2 577||3 992||4 953|
|Operating margin excl. one-time items, %||11.0||12.9||11.1||12.6|
|One-time items in operating profit||-145||-194||-242||-849|
|Operating profit||1 875||2 383||3 750||4 104|
|Operating margin, %||10.2||11.9||10.4||10.4|
|Profit before taxes, excl. operating and financialone-time items||1 801||2 435||3 556||4 602|
|Profit before taxes||1 656||2 241||3 314||3 833|
|Net cash flow after investments beforefinancing||4 225||1 654||4 735||2 642|
|Net sales change y-o-y, %:||Organic||Structure||Currency||Total|
|Organic sales change in local currencies, perregion y-o-y, %:||Europe||North America||Latin America||Asia||Middle East &Africa|
Outlook for the third quarter2016
Demand compared to the third quarter2015
The demand for SKF’s products and services isexpected to be relatively unchanged for the Group, including bothAutomotive and Industrial. Demand is expected to be slightly higherin Europe, relatively unchanged in Latin America, slightly lower inAsia and significantly lower in North America.
Demand compared to the second quarter2016
The demand for SKF’s products and services isexpected to be lower for the Group. Demand for Industrial isexpected to be slightly lower and demand for Automotive is expectedto be lower. Demand is expected to be relatively unchanged in LatinAmerica, slightly lower in Asia and North America and lower inEurope.
A teleconference will be held on 21July at 9:00(CEST):
SE: +46 8 5065 3936
UK: +44 20 3427 1914
US: +1 212 444 0895
You will find all information regardingthe SKF Half-year report 2016 on the Group’s IRwebsite.
The information in this press release is informationwhich AB SKF is required to disclose under the EU Market AbuseRegulation (EU) No 596/2014 and pursuant to the Securities MarketsAct. The information was provided by the above contact persons forpublication on 21 July 2016 at 8:00 CEST
SKF was selected to receive the award for its outstanding quality products, technology leadership, customer service and cost competitiveness. It currently supports AAM globally with multiple types of seals and bearings included in driveline and drivetrain systems for multiple product families.
Jake Stiteler, executive director, Global Procurement for AAM, who presented the award to SKF, said: “AAM's supplier community plays a critical role in our mission to provide our customers with high-quality, highly advanced products. SKF played a key part in AAM's success over the last year and we will continue to look to them and our other suppliers to help us exceed our customers' expectations in the future.”
Stiteler added that SKF had differentiated itself from the rest of the suppliers and highlighted as an example its prompt yet effective delivery of a unitized seal for a power transfer unit, developed by SKF China in just three months, meeting the requirements of a challenging application.
Gregg Rasmussen, President Automotive Sealing Solutions at SKF, said: “We are honoured to receive this global award for the first time and it is an excellent testament to the hard work we have put into making the partnership with AAM an extremely successful one. We look forward to continuing to build on that relationship to further support AAM in serving its customers and meeting its business objectives.”
Gothenburg, 6 July 2016: The SKF Group will publishits results for the second quarter on 21 July 2016 and welcomesinvestors, analysts and members of the media to take part in aconference call, which will be held in English, at 09:00 (CET),08:00 (UK time).
As previously announced, SKF’s segment reporting willchange as of the second quarter 2016. The Group’s segment reportingwill be specified into Automotive and Industrial. Restated figuresfor 2014, 2015 and Q1 2016 are available on: www.skf.com/group/investors.
To join the conference call, please dial-in using thefollowing details at least 10 minutes
before the start of the call:
SE: +46 8 5065 3936
UK: +44 20 3427 1914
US: +1 212 444 0895
Please inform the operator that you wish to take partin the SKF conference call.
The SKF Group's results for the second quarter 2016will be published around 08:00 (CET).
All information regarding the results will be madeavailable on the Group’s website:http://investors.skf.com/quarterlyreporting
Media: To book interviews with Alrik Danielson andChristian Johansson after the conference call, please contact TheoKjellberg on firstname.lastname@example.org / +46 725 77 65 76.
Gothenburg, 30 June 2016: SKF has completed thepreviously announced divestments of its fly-by-wire business toLORD Corporation and its Kaydon velocity control business toStabilus.
The total consideration of the fly-by-wire divestmentis EUR 39 million. The total consideration of the Kaydon velocitycontrol divestment is USD 339 million. Both transactions are on acash- and debt-free basis. The cash flow impact from thesetwo divestments, net after tax payment, is estimated at around SEK2 800 million. The net income effect is estimated at around SEK-350 million, which refer primarily to tax costs. These will beaccounted for during Q2 2016.
The fly-by-wire business, which manufactures cockpitcontrol systems, sensors, dampers and electromechanical actuatorshad annual sales in 2015 of EUR 37 million, and 150 employees.
The Kaydon velocity control business, which includesthe ACE, Hahn Gasfedern, Fabreeka and TechProducts brands, hadsales in 2015 of approximately USD 120 million and 550employees.
Add the increasing pressures of a globalised market – productivity, efficiency, competition – and the buyers of bearings for electrospindles are eager for ways to improve quality without increasing costs.
SKF is a major supplier of bearings for HSD, one of the world’s leading producers of electrospindles for woodworking applications. As such, SKF decided to work with its long-time customer to develop a new series of bearings that would meet the needs of its client and the industry as a whole. HSD (the name stands for “high speed development”), located in Pesaro, Italy, represents 60 per cent of the world market for electrospindles for light applications, and, as such, is the industry’s point of reference.
HSD and SKF have been collaborating since 1992, when the former was founded. SKF provides a bearing not only for HSD’s spindles but across the customer’s product range, including boring heads, 5-axis heads, and aggregates. From the outset, the Italian company was drawn by SKF’s reputation for quality and its technical support, as well as the breadth and depth of SKF’s assortment of super-precision bearings.
So in 2012, Mario Mattia, SKF Sales Manager Machine tools Italy, and Massimo Sandri, SKF Account Manager Machine tools Italy, sat down with the managers of HSD to define the requisites for a new competitive bearing specifically for woodworking sector spindles. “Our challenge was to develop a standardised product that would satisfy the requirements of different clients. We realised it was a demanding task,” says Mattia. SKF also talked with the technical offices of other clients to define the main requirements of spindles dedicated to this application. The next six months were devoted to internal development and testing.
By 2013, SKF was ready to supply prototypes to HSD. “We got it right the first time because HSD was fully convinced after testing the prototypes,” reports Mattia with satisfaction. By mid 2014, SKF was supplying a series range of bearings and at the end of the year it signed an 18-month contract with HSD.
SKF had developed what is now the S70 .. W series -- sealed super-precision hybrid angular contact ball bearings for woodworking applications.
“Listening our customers’ needs, we found that an18° contact angle was the optimized solution,” notes Sandri.
The bearing was also designed to deliver accurate preload, prior to mounting, equal to zero and is available in a range from 25 to 55 mm shaft diameter.
Furthermore, the solution has an optimised PEEK cage with patented design that reduces noise and vibration, especially at low to medium speeds. It combines very high stability at low/medium speeds with the ability to accommodate very high speeds (speed factor A = 1.6 million n dm ).
“As a result, the client perceives a better-running product,” Mattia points out.
The rolling elements are made of bearing grade silicon nitride Si3N4 and rings of bearing steel. These hybrid bearings offer higher speed capability, more rigidity, less energy consumption, reduced frictional heat, reduced centrifugal and inertial forces within the bearing. They are also less prone to damage in situations of rapid starts and stops.
The bearings have non-contact seals fitted on both sides and are filled with premium grease. These sealed bearings have been filled with the appropriate amount of high-quality grease under exacting conditions at the SKF factory. The seals hold the lubricant inside so the client can use the bearings directly without having to lubricate. Therefore mounting time for the client is faster. This feature also avoids possible contamination or introduction of impurities and has been so well received that, according to Mattia, other clients who had not previously considered sealed bearings are now using them. special packaging with 15 bearings per box. The result is less handling and materials disposal for the client, and easier logistics for both supplier and customer.
Reactions of the market launch of the SKF S 70 .. W series have been very positive, with clients enthusiastic about the performance of the bearings. “At SKF, we are aware of the ever-increasing demands on spindle applications in the workplace. With that in mind, we developed this new cost-effective bearing series that offers high-speed capabilities together with lower sound and vibration levels ” notes Sandri.
Meanwhile, both speed and precision continue as change agents in the partnership between SKF and HSD. The two companies have begun discussions on bringing intelligence into HSD spindles through SKF bearings.
The latest “Let’s Talk” event focuses on Smart Robotics and how it will affect the factory of the future. Speakers are Danica Kragic, Professor for Computer Science, Royal Institute of Technology, KTH; Daniel Wäppling, Head of Product Architecture, ABB Robotics and Roberto Napione, Head of Machine Centre of Excellence, SKF.
“Pushing innovation with smart robots, which are able to assemble bearings in different sequences will improve the industry’s operational efficiency and reduce maintenance times, says Roberto Napione, SKF. “However, the robot itself will not be enough. It needs to be integrated into a smart, Big Data environment within the factory. In this regard, smart robots will not necessarily reduce jobs, but rather transform them. In the future, we will see factories with people who are collaborating with robots, building environments, conditions and software between them.
The recorded symposiums are available on SKF’s YouTube channel. Further information can also be found on our website: www.skf.com or by following the hashtag #LetsTalkSmartRobotics across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.
More “Let’s Talk” videos will be published in the upcoming months.
Gothenburg, 21 June 2016: SKF has signed contracts worth over SEK 1 billion with Rolls-Royce to supply main shaft bearings for their new gas turbine engine programmes.
SKF’s main shaft bearings will be used in a number of Rolls-Royce engines, including the Trent XWB gas turbine engine. The Trent XWB is the sixth generation of the Trent family of engines, designed specifically for the Airbus A350 XWB family of aircraft.
Rutger Barrdahl, head of SKF’s aerospace business, says: “We are able to provide Rolls-Royce with the long-term capacity, security of supply and commitment to invest in product development that meet their needs and match our own ambitions within world-class manufacturing.”
Deliveries for the new engine programmes have commenced and are expected to reach their full rate by 2018.
John Schmidt, President, Industrial Sales, Americas, says: “For mine operators, many of which are located in remote areas, critical equipment failure can be very costly. By applying our knowledge within the fields of tribology, vibrational analysis and thermography, we are able to support Antamina in reducing the risk of reoccurring failures, contributing to improved machine efficiency.”
SKF’s Proactive Reliability Maintenance services will apply best practice predictive maintenance activities, including non-destructive testing of critical mining and plant equipment, to diagnose the root causes of failures at the Antamina mine. Together with Antamina’s own maintenance teams, SKF will then take the necessary steps to help eliminate reoccurrences by, for example, adjusting lubrication use, shaft alignment and seals or bearing selection.
SKF Enlight is a data collection, analysis and support system that will help energy companies move their paper-based maintenance processes online. Available as a mobile device app, it simplifies inspection by connecting to a wide variety of sensors. Once collected, process data – along with photos and video – can be wirelessly uploaded directly to the SKF cloud and analysed.
On show at ONS will be an innovative design of tapered roller thrust bearing (TRThB), designed to significantly improve the reliability of top drive systems. The TRThB has been developed using a new generation of advanced simulation technology, which has enabled SKF to optimise the internal geometry of the bearing. Combined with a new type of cage, modified roller design and the use of specially machined bearing surfaces, this has reduced friction to a minimum, helped to extend lubrication life, even under extreme temperatures, and increased the load rating and shock resistance. SKF anticipates that the new TRThB will help to extend the operating life of top drives, while reducing operating costs.
SKF has also developed a special seal that can be more easily installed in wellheads. The Locking T-seal – patented by SKF,– has a small ‘notch’ that ensures correct installation and reduces the chance of it being damaged. The product is now being validated for full use in the oil and gas industry. Other seals from the SKF range being shown at ONS 2016 include a new range of S and FS seals, which are fully validated to the API 6A-17D standards necessary for use in wellheads.
Other highlights at ONS include SKF’s latest S2M active magnetic bearings using the same technology as in the first ever subsea compressor project. These contact-free devices are powered by advanced electromagnets, which generate radial and axial forces to levitate a central shaft and allow it to rotate without friction. An integrated control system actively monitors and continuously adjusts the current to maintain shaft position. This creates a device that offers exceptionally high levels of precision and stability, even at extreme speeds, making it ideal for demanding offshore applications (offshore, subsea, onshore). Thanks to SKF’s experience with over 1000 units installed, Statoil confidently specified SKF S2M active magnetic bearings for their Åsgard subsea gas compression system, which is now operating 300m below the surface of the North Sea.
Also on show will be SKF slewing bearings, (including Kaydon) and a new sensor bearing unit.
The SKF MTE-324T slewing ring bearings are used in top drives and other applications, from cranes to riser connections, and feature a 4-point contact design. This adjusts for radial, axial and moment loads and features integral seals to resist contamination and extend service life.
The new sensor bearing unit is designed to cut downtime by improving the monitoring and control of electric motors, which work in extreme conditions. The new unit uses rugged speed sensor technology, incorporated into a simple unitised assembly, to enable it to easily retrofitted in the field to top drives or drawworks machines.
ONS 2016 takes place at the Stavanger Forum in Stavanger, Norway on 29 August – 1 September 2016. Visitors to the event will find SKF at Booth 960.
The first new launch is a redesigned Simplex Intermediate shaft bearing, which can be mounted on SKF Vibracon chocks – self-leveling, height-adjustable and reusable chocks that are used for mounting all types of rotating or critically aligned machinery.
Simplex Intermediate shaft bearings have a short shell length, and can be aligned precisely in order to avoid edge loading. They were specifically developed for shaft line of ship propulsion systems. This latest version has a new housing design which features reduced weight and compactness for easy installation and maintenance.
The second launch is the Dynamic Stabilizer Cover (DSC), which closes the hull of the SKF retractable fin stabilizers. The DSC comprises of two inflatable cushions fixed to the stabilizer fin box. If the stabilizer is not in use, the cushions are inflated by high-pressure air in order to close the hull. This improves flow profile and reduces fuel consumption. To bring the stabilizers into use, the cushions are deflated – allowing the fin stabilizer to move past – and then re-inflated, to re-close the hull.
Other new products that SKF has launched during the year and that will be on show at SMM include the Turbulo Sludge Buoy – a mechanical device that separates oil and water, eliminating manual drainage. Also on show is the SKF Marine Condition Monitoring Route Kit– a sophisticated condition monitoring and condition-based maintenance solution that has cloud connectivity to cut downtime and boost fleet reliability. Furthermore, the company will present its environmental monitoring system that ensures compliance to environmental regulations by storing and mapping the ships emission data - SKF BlueMon.
Many of these and other exhibits will be backed by case studies, to better illustrate how they can help fulfil customer needs.
See SKF at SMM 2016: Hall A1, stand 210
Gothenburg, 9 June 2016: SKF today announces theconsolidation of its manufacturing facilities in North America,including the closure of its sites in San Diego, California andBaltimore, Maryland.
Restructuring costs are expected to amount to aroundSEK 300 million, of which around SEK 100 million will be accountedfor during Q2 2016 and the remainder as they occur. Theconsolidation is expected to generate full year cost savings ofaround SEK 220 million from 2019, whereof around SEK 70 million isexpected to be achieved in 2018.
Luc Graux, President, Bearing Operations, says:“These activities will strengthen our position in North America,making us more competitive and better able to support ourcustomers, by improving the utilisation of our manufacturingassets. They also provide the foundation for investments inthe further development of our manufacturing processes andtechnologies.”
Production will be transferred from the Group’s sitein Hanover, Pennsylvania, to Flowery Branch, Georgia. Takingcustomer commitments into account, the move will consolidateproduction of spherical roller bearings and large size rollerbearings into our existing bearing manufacturing operations inFlowery Branch. With a stronger, more efficient manufacturing base,the Group will be better able to serve its North Americancustomers.
Production of rings and seals for the aerospaceindustry will be relocated to Hanover from SKF’s existing factoryin Baltimore, Maryland, which will be closed. Discussionsover the effects this will have on employees in Hanover andBaltimore will occur with their respective employeerepresentatives.
Investments totalling SEK 150 million will be made inupgrading machinery and manufacturing processes in Hanover andFlowery Branch, part of the Group’s strategy to implementworld-class manufacturing technologies.
Manufacturing and development of condition monitoringsolutions will be moved from SKF’s existing site in San Diego,California, to other sites in Europe. This will enable the Group tooffer customers better condition monitoring solutions, faster, asthe development team will be centralised in the same region, closeto the rest of SKF’s technical competence centres across Europe. Atechnical support team will remain in San Diego, but in a separatefacility.
The Y-Bearing and Units production channels inPuebla, Mexico, which serve North American customers within theagriculture segment, will be closed, with production transferred toother SKF sites.
Consolidation of the sites in Hanover, FloweryBranch, Baltimore and San Diego is expected to take approximately18-24 months. The closure of the Y-Bearing and Units productionchannels in Puebla, Mexico is expected to be completed during thesummer of 2016.