A new high-performance two-piece polymer cage pushes SKF’s Hybrid deep groove ball bearing into new limits and gives more flexibility in the design choices. By allowing higher rotational speeds, it operates more quietly and efficiently than bearings with common cages. Furthermore, it enables higher power density, leading to more power output from the same size electric motor.

SKF has developed a new hybrid deep groove ball bearing for high-speed applications. The new bearing is aimed at applications such as rail industry traction motors, as well as electric machines and drives. SKF already has three pilot customers, all of them OEMs.

A new lightweight cage helps to boost the limiting speed by at least 60% compared with traditional designs. Additionally, the polymeric cage helps to reduce friction, leading to quieter operation and allowing higher power density in the application.

“Our new cage design helps our customers to get more power from electric motors, which enables downsizing,” says Andreas Pichler, Business and Project Engineer at SKF.

By improving the efficiency of electric machines and drives, the new bearing can cut energy consumption, increase reliability and reduce the total cost of ownership.

Lighter than brass

Its two-piece cage is made from PEEK and PA66, making it 80% lighter than a brass cage. As well as running more quietly, the bearing operates at a lower temperature, which prolongs grease life and extends relubrication intervals. This can give engineers more flexibility in their design choices.

In addition, its limiting speed is twice that of a single-piece polyamide cage, and 60% higher than a brass equivalent.

Rigidly-connected cage bars ensure robustness, which helps to lengthen service life in harsh conditions. The optimised geometry also eliminates radial deformation from high centrifugal forces, the ‘umbrella effect’, that typically occurs on snap-type cages running at high speed.


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