Friday, 8 September 2017

EZO factory VIP visitors...

We were delighted & honoured to receive a VIP visit from Sapporo Precision Inc., makers of the magnificent EZO Bearings, this week.  What a wonderful way to mark the 30 years of association between our two companies!  We are proud to be their official UK distributor of precision miniature & thin section bearings - click HERE to see their catalogue & full range & view a feature on their product range below.

EZO representatives Mr Kobayashi (president) & Mr Aicha & 
at SMB with our very own MD Chris Johnson.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Season update from Ian Emery, RC Heli Pilot...

Another top update from our friend & F3C RC heli pilot Ian Emery - we are proud & delighted to announce that he managed to finish an extremely impressive 3rd place in the British Nationals 🏆 last week!  

He'll be competing very close to home this coming weekend - as the Euro Heli Series comes to Abingdon in Oxfordshire on the 9th-10th September.  We hope the weather gods are kind, as there's an impressive field of international competitors in attendance (of course, we hope Ian has a massive home advantage 😉). 

Why not go along & support Ian if you can?

He has promised more exciting news soon, so we'll update you as soon as we find out what it is, but in the meantime check out his latest season update below:

"Scottish Nationals -

When I got back from Austria, I noticed the was a slight wobble with the elevator, I wasn't sure if this was connected to the previous issues I had experienced or something new, either way it wasn't the best news.  

By time I got to Scotland with one thing or another, I still hadn't figured out what was going on.  I had reduced the effect by altering some of the settings in the Flybarless controller but that was just hiding an underlying problem.  I had my Urukay with me but just didn't feel as comfortable with it compared to the JR Helicopters so I stuck with them.  With a constant elevator wobble in the hover, it didn't present very well to the judges and I think it was always at the back of my mind that there was something not quite right.  After 3 rounds I finished 4th and felt along way behind my close rival and friend Roger Mayo.

Germany -

The following weekend 5 British pilots traveled to Kleinenbroich in Germany for the second Euro Heli Series competition of the year which was really well attended.  The clubs in Europe are just superb with excellent facilities.  

After a rather blustery practice session on Friday afternoon, we all went out together to a Greek restaurant in a local town.  The best part about the Euro Heli Series is all getting together at the end of the day to socialize and have a good catch-up with friends that you only see a handful of times each year.  

Saturday was much calmer and after 2 fairly steady rounds I was down in 14th place.  

The final round was a different story, still battling with the elevator wobble, somehow it all came together and managed to get a great score which meant I moved up a few places and secured a spot in the finals for the Sunday.  The Fly off (Finals) Schedule is something I need to spend more time practicing, but with the wind direction in my non-preferred direction, I managed to get through 2 rounds and finished in 10th place gaining valuable World Cup points".

Ian with his valuable 10th place in the German leg of the Euro Heli Series, gaining World Cup points...

We are keeping our fingers (& toes) crossed for Ian's continued success & will update you on his progress again soon.  


Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Bearings for those who aren't bulking up

Those looking to buy or relubricate just a few bearings with specialised grease will no longer need to meet minimum order requirements, which can often exceed 1000. This will support cost-sensitive applications and encourage wide-spread use of specialist grease to ensure bearing longevity.

This service will mean any number of standard or specialist bearings can now be sourced and relubricated with specialist grease in accordance with the customers' application. Bearing failure is commonly due to the wrong quantity or type of grease for the application. Bearings for high speed, high temperature or food grade applications are all assigned the appropriate oils and greases by the technical team at SMB Bearings, whether this be for one or 100 bearings.

"Customers may have previously faced minimum order quantities from manufacturers, resulting in them buying bearings in volumes that they don't require," said Chris Johnson, managing director at SMB Bearings. "The big manufacturers prefer to produce bearings in bulk. This presents a two-fold problem for those looking to buy non-standard bearings.”

"Bearings with non-standard lubricants supplied by many manufacturers are generally only available in large quantities with very long delivery times. The alternative is often to use bearings with a lubricant that is not best suited to the application. This is where we come in. Even if customers have purchased shielded bearings that are notoriously difficult to get into, we have bespoke equipment to remove the standard lubrication, and replace it with specialised grease, regardless of quantity."

If you are looking to buy or relubricate a small number of bearings, then you will no longer need to spend money on bearings you will never use. More information about SMB Bearings’ small batch relubrication service can be found on the company’s website. Alternatively, if you would like to speak to one of the technical experts at SMB Bearings, you can contact the company’s base in Oxfordshire on +44 (0) 1993 842 555.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Tiro Racing & the road to the F1 in Schools World Finals 2017...

We are proud & delighted to be supporting Tiro Racing on their road to the F1 in Schools World Finals 2017.
The Tiro Racing team meeting with quite a familiar face recently... 😄

They are such a dynamic group of young apprentices & it's been a real joy to share in their enthusiasm for their goals this year - check out this lovely vid of the team:

They've been doing lots of bearing testing recently & we hope it gives them the winning edge when they compete in Malaysia later this year...

We'll bring you loads of updates on their progress, but in the meantime you can follow them at: 

Friday, 18 August 2017

Ian Emery - RC Heli pilot season update...

We are excited to bring you a season update from the exceptionally busy Ian Emery today - check out all the happenings from the Euro Heli Series F3C season so far below:

Pre season and Austrian Competition

Ian's JR Sylphide
With one thing or another, it's been a bit of a funny year.  Pre-season I learnt that there was a significant chance that spare parts for my JR Sylphides were probably going to be an issue with the closure of JR. Although there was some light at the end of the tunnel with RC Depot in Japan stepping forward and taking on the World wide distribution of certain JR products which they would produce under licence.  Unfortunately it didn't look like the Sylphide parts would be among the supported items.  I was pretty confident going into the season as the Sylphides have proven to be so reliable, with the help and support of SMB Bearings of course!

some JR pre-competition servicing...
 I managed to get some flying in over the winter, although not as much as I would have hoped and the helicopters were performing well.  I did however decide that it might be good to get a helicopter that I could fly the F3C Schedules and be able to source parts if I needed them.  Having weighed up the various options, I decided on the SAB Urukay.  It had proven to be a good competition helicopter over the past few years and SAB had just released the latest version, the SAB Urukay Carbon. 

The SAB Urukay's 1st flight

I had some new and exciting venues to look forward to on the Euro Heli Series Calendar this year with F3C World Cup competitions in Austria, Germany, France and the final one at my club near Abingdon which will be in September.

I had been planning the Austria trip for some months, with 1100 miles each way I thought it would be a good opportunity for my Dad and I to have a bit of a road trip and stop off at some places along the way.  A week before we set off, I started having issues with my main helicopters rudder.  It had a really strange vibration. I stripped it down and had a look over it and couldn't see anything obvious.  I had run out of time, I had only had a handful of flights on the Urukay so decided I would take both Sylphide helicopters to Austria thinking that I could either use by backup machine or I could pinch parts off the backup to solve the issue that I was having with my preferred model. 

Snow-covered Alps...
 We set off early to catch the Eurotunnel, I had planned that we had to do 700 miles on day 1 which would allow me to stop off and take day 2 a little easier.  We stopped overnight in a lovely B&B near Ulm in Germany before heading to Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria the following morning.  

Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria.

The castle and surrounding area is absolutely  stunning, and if you ever get the opportunity to visit I would highly recommend it.  After a short stop we headed East towards Salzburg.  We had planned to go to a small town called Hallstatt on the edge of a lake but were running a little behind schedule so decided to head straight for the apartment we had booked into in Klopeiner see, about 10 minutes from the competition site.  Travelling through Bavaria and Austria I was lost for words, the scenery was breathtaking.

Because of the long drive we decided to get to the competition site a few days early which would give us a few days of much needed practice/maintenance before it got under way.  Annoyingly I was still having issues so I decided to swap tail units which solved the problem.  Expecting the backup model to now have the rudder issue, I lifted off into a hover and it was perfect. I had 2 serviceable helicopters which was a result but I still wasn't sure why I had the rudder issues in the first place. 

Saturday morning came round all too quickly and the competition began, it was great to see familiar faces and pilots I had not met before.  

All the pilots together 😄
Given the lack of practice pre-season, I was really pleased with how I was flying.  As always there was small things I would have liked to have to done differently, but on the whole I was pleased.  My fellow team mates Steve Roberts and Bruce Naylor were also flying really well.  Bruce used to fly F3C but was making a comeback in his first competition for several years.  It was like he had never been away but I think it was based on his secret Flight Mode 5 which I will explain another time.

Ian Emery (left) piloting & his pal Steve Roberts (right) calling for Ian...
 We were really looked after by everyone involved in organizing the event and members of the MFC Jauntal Club in St Stefan.  I managed to finish in a very respectable 8th place given the company I was in.  Most of the pilots there would be competing in the World Championships in Poland in July. 

Brilliant results - well done Ian!
Before I knew it, it was time to pack up the car and start the long journey back.  The Scottish Nationals was only 3 weeks away.

Thanks so much Ian - we can't wait to hear all about the Scottish Heli Nats!  It's great that the Euro-Heli Series is gaining some much deserved recognition in the press - see the feature below from an international magazine recently:

We are so proud & delighted that SMB Bearings continue to be a very small part (quite literally 😅) of Ian's RC Heli journey & we look forward to bringing more news (& stunning photos) as his season continues...

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Roxana's epic summer edit for Enuff Skateboards...

Summer's well & truly arrived folks & who better to put a spring in your summer step than 
Roxana Howlett! 

Well, what can we say apart from we LOVE this kid & her dedication to skating 💗

Check out her summer edit for sponsor Enuff Skateboards (& we get a little mention too! 😉)

Roxana is off to Nass Festival in Bristol in the next couple of weeks & is really looking forward to the experience of skating with some top female skaters at Girls Skate UK

you can expect to see  some of the best skaters in the UK including Josie Millard, Lucy Adams, Rianne Evans, Helena Long and many many more. This competition is not to be missed!  We are sure that Roxana will wow them with her skills!  

In the meantime you can see loads more of Roxana's edits at YouTube or on Instagram & trust us, Roxsk8girl is well worth following.  

We're so proud that our skate bearings help to keep her rolling in style! 💞 

Thursday, 18 May 2017

F1 in Schools team Tiro Racing, photo diary...

Ever wondered what it takes to win an F1 in Schools National Final?  🏆
Well, take a look at these photos from Tiro Racing team & wonder no more 😄

All hail the UK F1 in Schools England National Champions 2017!!  

We are delighted to sponsor Tiro Racing,  a team of six engineering apprentices from Kingston College, SouthWest London, competing in the 2017 F1 in Schools competition.

Meet the Tiro Racing team!

They first competed at the London and South East Regional Final, held at the CEME centre in Rainham, East London on the 8th February. Here, against 25 other teams from around the region, they emerged in 2nd place in the Professional Class as well as winning the award for the best team 
identity.  Due to this success, they then qualified to represent the area at the UK National Final.

The F1 in Schools UK National Final took place at the internationally acclaimed Silverstone GP Circuit on the 29th and 30th of March 2017. The National Final consisted of the best 30 teams from 11 different regions across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The level of competition over the two days was extremely high, with quite possibly the highest standard ever reached
for a UK National Final. The stakes were undoubtedly high with the top 3 placed teams overall, along with the Home Nation Champions, being able to progress further in the competition to the World Finals...
Tiro Racing showing off their trophies.

After the two days of competition, Tiro Racing were crowned English National Champions and were awarded with the prestigious Best Engineered Car, as well as being placed 2nd overall in the UK.

England Winners!!!

Tiro Racing's "Best Engineered Car" 2017...
Therefore, they go on to represent England at the forthcoming 2017 F1 in Schools World Finals in Kuala Lumpur in September, with the goal of becoming World Champions.  Additionally, they are the first ever apprentice team in the history of the 14-year competition to reach the World Finals!

Tiro Racing meeting with local MP meeting James Berry...

MP James Berry (centre) being presented with his very own Tiro Racing team top

Tiro Racing facing the judges panel at the F1 in Schools National Finals

Demonstrating the car to the judges...

Ready for launch...
Ready to race!!

The pit display, part of the branding & team image that Tiro Racing were judged on

Tiro Racing are such a dynamic team of young people & we'd like to wish them every success in this fantastic STEM event - we hope that we can help them to progress to the top in the forthcoming World Championships in September! 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆

To keep up to date with the latest news from the team you can visit the Tiro Racing website, 
or you can follow them on Twitter (@TiroRacing) or check them out on Facebook 💫

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Aaron Skippings, SMB's very own downhill skateboarding whizz...

Our technical whizz Aaron Skippings is also a downhill skateboarding whizz!  Last weekend saw the  tremendously successful downhill skate event "Rumble at the Peep", a British Regional event (which adds national BDSL ranking points to competitors' profiles) which was organised by Aaron himself!!

Aaron hard at work at SMB...

The event was attended by 30 national competitors, so there was a really strong challenge for the top spots, but Aaron managed to pip everyone else to the post & came first (boo-hiss to those that say it was rigged!! 👅).

Top of the event, Aaron (pictured left) celebrates & finishes top of the BDSL rankings too!

This small but dynamic sport is always looking for new starters to join the fray - if you're interested in getting into the sport you can start by visiting the BDSL FB page for more information, or just dive straight in & go to HogHill Event at Redbridge Cycling Centre in London (which is specifically designed for beginner riders).

A slight verge detour on the descent - Aaron cruising past on the right of the picture

Hitching a ride back uphill after the downhill! Credit to Kai Menneken for the photos...

Later on this year, Aaron is heading off to Canada to compete in the L'Ultime Descente - Top Speed Challenge - the aim of this crazy game is to skate down the one of the steepest descents in the world, without killing yourself, at around 75 miles per hour - easy, right?!  We'll nervously bring you all the news from this challenge in September...

Aaron in our technical suite at SMB...
Until then, you can see what Aaron's been up to in the last year or so in this little slideshow: