It has often been said that knowledge is power. This is especially true in the design and servicing of power transmission systems. Utilizing the knowledge of recent advances in bearing design and manufacturing technology provides a cost-effective ability to increase power handling capability or product life in both original equipment and service replacement applications.
The term "power density" is commonly used to describe this concept of applying technology enhancements to maximize performance (life and power thruput) within a minimum space or within an existing system. For example, one manufacturer recently optimized his pinion bearing and shaft design to increase system life by 39 percent, reduce weight by 8 percent and reduce costs by 20 percent. Power density has also enabled service replacement bearings to increase life and improve system performance without modification to the existing bearing envelope or support design.
It should be understood that to effectively decrease equipment downtime, reduce regular service/replacement intervals and increase overall system life requires one to first identify the weak link of the given system's performance chain of core components, namely bearings, gears, shafts, seals, lubrication, etc. Here the design and application of "enhanced" or customized tapered roller bearings, as well as CBN ground gears, profiled gear teeth, light weight (aluminum) or high strength housings, and synthetic lubricants, can typically have a significant effect on maximizing the performance potential and power density of a power transmission system.
One major objective of higher power density is to improve service life. Achieving this objective for bearings requires minimizing fatigue damage in its three primary modes:
Minimizing Bearing Damage
* Inclusion-A fatigue crack starts just below the raceway surface at a nonmetallic inclusion (micro impurity) and propagates to the surface.
* Geometric Stress Concentration-Damage occurs in a localized region of high stress at the raceway edges due to high rolling loads and misalignment.
* Point Surface Origin-Damage originates at a localized, high-stress point on the raceway surface, typically caused by insufficient lubricant film thickness separating the bearing surfaces.
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