Always select the most appropriate bearing for a defined application
Product development

Always select the most appropriate bearing for a defined application

Vikas Damle

Sanjay Koul
Managing Director and Director of Manufacturing, Timken India
The bearing is one of the most critical components in any manufacturing unit. Performing silently (when in good condition), bearings literally bear the decay and weathering of important equipment. Sanjay Koul talks about Timken India´s offerings in bearing technology and shares insights on the importance of maintaining bearing performance with ICR. Excerpts from the interview.

Please tell us a bit about
your product range and services in India.
Timken is one of the leading global manufacturers of precision engineered bearings, alloy steels and related components and assemblies. Our primary operating segments include mobile industries, process industries, aerospace and defence. The company basically designs, manufactures, sells and services precision engineered anti-friction bearings and assemblies along-with mechanical power transmission systems across diverse manufacturing houses from automotive, heavy-duty, agriculture and motorcycle applications to medium duty, construction and marine products. In India, Timken has state-of-the-art facilities in Jamshedpur and Chennai. We also have a gear and bearings service centre at Raipur. Apart from that, we also extend friction management solutions that maximise performance, improve fuel-efficiency and the life of the equipment.

Timken is one of the top suppliers of bearings in the world. What is your success mantra?
There is no success mantra as such; still I would say that our company´s vision and mission is to deliver unparalleled value and continuously bringing out innovation in our offerings to our customers all around the world.

What are your latest offerings for the cement equipment industry?
We offer a full line of solutions for the cement industry, including bearings, lubricants, condition monitoring, remanufacture and repair, training and more. Our top line product ranges are our tapered roller bearings, cylindrical and spherical roller bearings. As the world changes so do the needs of our customers. With more than 100 years of technological and industrial experience, we are continuously expanding our capabilities in engineering, metallurgy and precision manufacturing to meet those needs.

In 2013, we launched our new range of industrial 6000 series ball bearings, split and solid block housed units, quick flex couplings and SNT plummer blocks. We are pleased to now announce the launch of ISO taper matched bearing assemblies, MV series ball bearings for machine tools and UC series ball bearing housed units in 2014.

Tell us about your R&D capabilities and about your design centre?
In India, we have our full-fledged global engineering and research centre in Bangalore, Karnataka. Set up with an investment of US $12 million, the centre is at the heart for Timken´s business activity in Asia-Pacific region. The centre primarily specialises in the areas of engineering and IT, which includes product development, testing, process engineering, CAD and web based tools.

How important is it to have bearing performing at its best?
A vital component in rotating industrial equipment, bearings represent an important capital investment. Manufacturers must always select the most appropriate bearing for a defined application and also apply the right lubricant that can minimise heat generation and avoid potential downtime. It is very critical for plants performance to maintain conditions that keep a bearing performing properly.

How does one diagnose/detect bearing performance issues?
There are various methods available to detect bearing performance or failure. The classical method includes observing lubricant condition, corrosion and deterioration. The condition of the grease can indicate improper relubrication intervals and/or contamination. Dark, cakey or milky grease are the visual signs that relubrication intervals and procedures may be improved.

Another common method of detecting is by listening. Odd noises are obvious signs of improper operation of the bearing. Noises indicate failure in the later stages. Bearings should run quietly and smoothly, and sort of grinding or banging noise should be investigated immediately.

The best and the most accurate form of detection is by touching and feeling the bearing. The touch method can be used to monitor temperature, vibration and lubrication parameters. If it starts producing loud noises, then it must be replaced promptly.

How grave is the problem of counterfeit components and what is Timken doing to tackle this challenge?
Counterfeiting is a growing menace these days. Fake bearings usually wear out quicker. This is very dangerous as bearings are used in automobiles and critical machineries and can cause life threatening situations. Many counterfeit bearings claiming our company´s name were seized from a location in Xingtai City, Hebei Province, China. We are on a constant lookout to make sure that such counterfeit products in our name are not sold to our customers.

Common causes behind bearing damage
Particle contamination
Particles as small as 0.005mm, once inside a bearing, can cause raceway scratches, abrasion and can decrease performance, shorten life, and generate acoustic noise and vibration.

Rust contamination
If a shaft is dirty on the surface, rust may gather between the shaft and the bearing after assembly.

Shock forces
Bearings are easily affected by shock forces, which could lead to brinelling. Improper mounting When bearings are mounted incorrectly, the balls will cause brinelling on the raceway. Inappropriate lubricant Chlorine gas, ozone and other chemicals will shorten bearing life, as the grease will become contaminated relatively quickly. It is critical to select the correct lubricant for the anticipated operating temperature.

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