Soaring demand for specialised bearings is driving fast-paced changes in mass production techniques aimed at quality and price. By Robi Nudelman, bearing industry manager, and Yair Feraro, application engineer at Iscar.
Bearings are necessary for almost any mechanical system and many other elements that require rotational motion. If something, turns, twists or moves, it most likely has a bearing in it. Today, the most popular bearing type in the market is the ball bearing, but roller bearings, needle, tapered, spherical and thrust bearings are also quite common. The sizes of bearings variously range from very small diameters such as 2 mm for electronic systems up to diameters of 6,000 mm mostly for wind power turbines. Linear bearings and bearing housings are also part of the industry, but with different geometrical characteristics.
Key For Automotive Industry
When talking about bearings, one of the most demanding industries today is the automotive industry. Every car has an average of 100-150 bearings, while motorcycles have between 25-30. With an annual production rate of over 93 million cars and 140 million motorcycles a year, the demand for bearings is higher than ever and continues to rise.
The need for bearings is also increasing in other industrial sectors such as machine production, electrical appliances, construction and infrastructure machinery, and aviation, power generation. Along with the remarkable increase in bearing production, there is pressure on bearing producers to reduce costs. Because of the demands for lower prices, several leading companies are building new production plants in countries such as China, India and in Eastern Europe where manufacturing costs are less.
Faster Machining Cycles
In addition, many of bearing manufacturers are looking for faster machining cycles and more efficient processes to enable them to fulfill market requirements. They are also trying to find options to minimise raw material loss by optimising their machining methods and replacing old tech tools that can no longer withstand the high machining conditions and long tool life requirements.
In the world of bearing production, it is very important to stay well prepared with the most innovative tools as competition is aggressive and non-efficient machining processes may cause a loss of business.
Iscar’s experienced engineers are capable of supporting any bearing design with advanced machining solutions that can ensure maximum performance, efficiency and preciseness. Most of the small to medium size bearing diameters are mass produced on multi-spindle machines or on simple single-task machines that are only able to perform one or two operations on the machined rings, and a few machines of this type are needed to complete an entire part.
Knowledge And Experience
Knowledge and experience are needed to provide comprehensive solutions for a variety of these applications with very efficient tools for Parting, Trepanning, Grooving, Profiling and Turning operations.
Many Iscar inserts are designed as multi-corner inserts such as the Penta, and feature economic advantages due to their five cutting edges. These inserts are mostly used for parting-off operations; seal groove machining, and raceway grooving, among other areas.
The unique structure of the Penta inserts enable grinding unlimited numbers of different shapes and geometries with a very attractive cost per edge; thus assisting Iscar customers reduce production costs enabling them to easily compete with their products.
Penta inserts can also be used for Trepanning which is an axial operation for the separation of one thick forged ring to two separate outer and inner rings. For such operations, Iscar also offers other types of inserts such as BGR and BGMR for wider rings that dictate deep separation operations.
Developed multi-parting systems for customers that feature an assembled set of parting blades or adapters designed for parting a few rings at a time are now offered. Such sets are provided with the very popular Tang-Grip and Do-Grip insert, and also with the Penta inserts. Such parting systems dramatically shorten one of the most common operations in bearings production.
Iscar’s unique parting-off products are provided in very narrow sizes that enable manufacturers to significantly reduce the width of inserts, down to 0.7 and 1.0mm, and therefore save on raw materials. Such savings help produce up to 15 percent more rings out of existing steel tubes. Iscar’s Turning division provides a large variety of latest geometries and carbide grades as well as Ceramic and CBN inserts for finish turning operations of harden bearing rings up to 64 HRc. CBN inserts with chipformers are Iscar’s solution for such operations and can easily replace expensive grinding processes.
For wide profiling operations on multi-spindle machines, Iscar has the V-Lock and FTB inserts that can provide a solution for wide profiles of 10 up to 51mm width.
For large bearing rings, Iscar has developed unique drills based on the popular Sumo-Cham drills and the unique FCP inserts that provide outstanding performance and superior surface quality in such heavy duty drilling operations.
Most bearing manufacturers (excluding specials) require mass production and exact preciseness when meeting deadlines and quality. Iscar has the knowledge and experience to provide comprehensive solutions for a variety of applications in parting, grooving and profiling, turning, drilling and milling.