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SKF and VBN to explore 3D printing of large-size bearings

SKF and VBN to explore 3D printing of large-size bearings
Photo courtesy of VBN Components

SKF and VBN Components, which have been working together for several years within additive manufacturing of hard and highly wear resistant steels with significantly enhanced fatigue properties, announced a joint project for the potential application of this technology on large-size bearings.

Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, is a transformative approach to industrial production that enables the creation of lighter, stronger parts and systems.

SKF is a bearing and seal manufacturing company based in Gothenburg, Sweden. VBN, based in Uppsala, Sweden, which develops heat- and wear-resistant metals, provides unique alloys for additive manufacturing, sold under the brand name Vibenite. The cooperation has mainly been focused within aerospace and racing where additive manufacturing has offered several advantages, including less complex and time-consuming manufacturing solutions, as well as environmental benefits.

SKF and VBN will next focus on the potential application of this technology on large size bearings. In these applications lighter weight components have the potential to improve performance under demanding conditions and will enable further weight optimization of machinery.

The use of the Vibenite materials in the components developed by VBN and SKF is a result of their cooperation, which is also expected to enable significant environmental benefits. Since additive manufacturing makes it easy to produce components from very hard materials, material consumption can in specific applications be reduced by 80โ€“90%.

The Vibenite materials also have the potential to enable improvements in the material for many applications. VBN has customers that have increased the lifetime of components by more than 10 times, resulting in a significantly reduced CO2 footprint. In collaboration with SKF, Vibenite materials have been shown to provide very good rolling fatigue resistance due to their purity, hardness, and fine microstructure.

โ€œAt SKF, we are constantly striving to improve the performance of our bearings and VBNโ€™s solutions and material are contributing to this. Our cooperation also brings large sustainability benefits. This means that our customers get better products with lower environmental impact,โ€ said Victoria Van Camp, president, SKF Technology Development.

โ€œSKF’s focus on continuously improving their products has given us the opportunity to test our Vibenite materials in very demanding applications. We are truly pleased to finally make this announcement after several years of successful cooperation,โ€ said Johan Bรคckstrรถm, CEO of VBN Components.