SKF boosts wheelset bearing service life for enhanced passenger rail efficiency
23 September 2014 • Author: SKF
SKF has launched a new tapered roller bearing unit (TBU) for passenger railway applications that will boost bearing service life by up to 40% compared to existing solutions. It can also help reduce fatigue failures, helping OEMs and end users to increase safety and maximise profit.
This next generation bearing unit, for maximum speeds of 160-250km/h, meets the needs of railway operators who are looking for ways to cut maintenance costs and time without impacting safety. The new bearing enables OEMs to offer extended bearing service intervals to match those of wheelsets; this means that rail operators can align maintenance intervals to avoid service interruptions and keep as many trains as possible in operation. Enabling two maintenance operations in one stop with potentially fewer bearing replacements also means a significant reduction in overall maintenance costs.
“Bearing life calculations indicate up to 40% increased bearing life compared to the existing solutions,” says Milan Soukup, SKF Railway Business Development Manager. “In addition, SKF lab tests indicate a 30% friction moment decrease, while patented heat treatment “SKF Xbite” improves overall robustness and performance of the bearing.”
Operational features of the new TBU include higher resistance to hoop stress due to residual compressive stresses in the surface, higher wear resistance and slower crack propagation. The optimised contact geometry of the bearing unit decreases friction and maintains carrying capacity, reducing operating temperature for a longer grease life and extending the maintenance interval. Also, SKF has shown in testing that the specially enhanced central spacer included in the design contributes to less fretting corrosion and thus longer grease life.
The new TBU for railway will be a key product on display at the InnoTrans fair in Berlin, 23-26 September. The bearing will be exhibited among other innovative rail solutions, including the new class of compact tapered bearing units from SKF for heavy haul freight, the SKF Microlog Analyzer and the SKF Multilog On-line System IMx-B for bogie subsystem condition monitoring.
Visitors will find SKF in Hall 22a, booth 606.