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Schaeffler supplies its largest ever spherical plain bearing

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The spherical plain bearing has an outside diameter of almost two metres. The whole process, from order placement through to punctual delivery to the customer, took Schaeffler just three months.

2019-09-09 | Sutton Coldfield

  • The special bearing for a cutter suction dredger application has an outside diameter of almost two metres.
  • The asymmetrical design saves installation space and weight.
  • Production of the single-piece inner and outer rings was made possible by Schaeffler’s expertise.

SUTTON COLDFIELD, UK, September 09, 2019. Schaeffler has produced the largest spherical plain bearing in the company’s history to date. This special bearing weighs in at around 4.7 tonnes and has an outside diameter of 1,900mm, a bore diameter of 1,500mm, and a height of 600mm. The bearing will be used on a cutter suction dredger that was designed and built by Royal IHC, a Dutch company that specialises in equipment, vessels and services for the offshore, dredging and wet mining markets.

Special operating conditions

A cutter suction dredger is a working ship either with or without its own drive that removes solid material from the bottom of the body of water. A vacuum is used to lift stones and transport them to shore, e.g. using floating pipelines. Particular strain is placed here on the connection between the pipeline and the ship, which is implemented via a spherical plain bearing that is mounted on the hull and supports the rotary motion that takes place between the hull and the pipeline. On the basis of these requirements, a special bearing was designed specifically for the application.

Expertise and everything from a single source

Due to Schaeffler’s high level of expertise in application engineering, design and production, combined with a close collaboration with Royal IHC, it was possible to produce the bearing according to the customer’s requirements in a record time of just three months.

Designing the special bearing was not the only major challenge faced by Schaeffler’s experts here – producing the bearing was also highly demanding. The shock loads that occur in the application meant that the inner and outer rings had to be implemented in a single-piece design.

High operational reliability and low maintenance

The bearing must eliminate the edge stresses that occur and support large forces according to its dimensions. As the forces only act unilaterally on the spherical plain bearing, it was designed asymmetrically, enabling important savings in terms of space and weight.

To ensure a long operating life and low levels of wear, Schaeffler created a special system of lubrication grooves, which are designed in such a way that the grease is evenly distributed, even during small swivelling movements of around 20 degrees, thus ensuring optimum lubrication.

Because the operating conditions found in offshore applications also require special protection against corrosion, the sliding surfaces of the bearing were coated with a proven lubricating varnish, which ensures that no metallic contact occurs between the inner and outer rings, even in the event of insufficient lubrication. Lubrication with grease also means that the bearing is protected against corrosion. This ensures a combination of high operational reliability and low maintenance outlay for the customer.

For more information on spherical plain bearings, please contact Schaeffler UK’s Communications & Branding Department on info.uk@schaeffler.com

About Schaeffler

The Schaeffler Group is a global automotive and industrial supplier. By delivering high-precision components and systems in engine, transmission, and chassis applications, as well as rolling and plain bearing solutions for a large number of industrial applications, the Schaeffler Group is already shaping “Mobility for tomorrow” to a significant degree. The technology company generated sales of approximately 14.2 billion Euros in 2018. With around 92,500 employees, Schaeffler is one of the world’s largest family companies and, with approximately 170 locations in over 50 countries, has a worldwide network of manufacturing locations, research and development facilities, and sales companies. With more than 2,400 patent registrations in 2018, Schaeffler is Germany’s second most innovative company according to the DPMA (German Patent and Trademark Office).

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Publisher: Schaeffler (UK) Ltd
Country: United Kingdom

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