Friday, 30 May 2014

Bearing closures - types, uses & selection...

Have you ever wondered why some bearings have rubber seals in, others have metal shields & some have nothing at all?

Well, we'll try & explain for you now:

Bearing closures are available in two basic types - shields and seals. Both closure types are generally ordered as integral components of deep groove bearings.
Closures serve the same purposes with varying effectiveness - they exclude contamination, retain lubricants and protect the bearing from internal damage whilst being handled.  
Closures are attached to the outer ring of the bearing. Seals are defined as closures which contact the inner ring, while shields clear the inner ring. Both are designed so that the stringent precision tolerances are not affected by their use.
Determining the proper closure for an application involves a trade-off, usually balancing sealing efficiency against speed capability and bearing torque. Shields do not raise bearing torque or limit speeds, but they do have low sealing efficiency. Seals are more efficient, but they may restrict operating speed and increase torque and temperature.
Another consideration in closure selection is air flow through the bearing. This is detrimental because it carries contamination into the bearing and dries out the lubricant. It is preferable to use seals if an air flow is present.

A number of types of closures are available:
A metal shielded bearing
Metal Shields - Most sizes are available with metal shields. Shields are designed to prevent larger particles from entering the bearing and also to keep grease inside the bearing. They may be pressed into the bearing’s outer ring (non-removable) or retained by a circlip (removable). As the shields make no contact with the inner ring, they do not increase starting or running torque. Shields on stainless steel bearings are generally made from AISI 304 grade stainless steel.


• Prevent contamination by larger particles
• Reduce lubricant leakage
• Do not increase torque

Rubber contact seal bearings
Contact seals -  The standard bearing seal consists of nitrile/BUNA-N rubber bonded to a metal washer. High temperature teflon seals (up to 250°C) or Viton seals (up to 230°C) are available on some sizes. The inner lip of the seal rubs against the bearing inner ring to provide an effective seal against smaller particles such as dust and moisture while preventing lubricant leakage. Contact seals produce much higher frictional torque levels than shields and reduce the maximum speed of a bearing. Below -30°C nitrile rubber and viton will stiffen and provide a less effective seal so teflon seals or metal shields should be considered for very low temperatures.


• Good protection against contamination
• Greatly reduce lubricant leakage
• Reduce maximum speed by approx. 40%
• Greatly increase bearing torque

• Temp. range –40°C/+110°C (nitrile rubber) or up to 230°C (Viton) and 250°C (Teflon)

A viton seal 
Bearing with Teflon seals



Non-contact seals - These seals are also made of nitrile rubber bonded to a metal washer but do not rub against the bearing inner ring and therefore do not have the same effect on bearing torque and maximum speed as contact seals so can be used for low torque, high speed applications. They offer superior protection over metal shields but do not provide as effective a seal as the contact type.

• Good protection against contamination
• Reduced lubricant leakage
• No torque increase
• Do not affect maximum speed
• Temp. range –40°C/+110°C

An "open" bearing - no seals or shields

Alternatively, if a bearing needs to be extremely free-running, is naturally corrosion-resistant (because it is produced from a corrosion resistant material - stainless steel, plastic or ceramic for example), doesn't require any lubrication & is operating in a clean environment it can be supplied open - no closures used at all!

If you are in any doubt as to what would best suit your particular application, 
please contact us & we'll help you make the right decision.


Thursday, 22 May 2014

The awesome power of robotics & RC hex-copters...

... combined in one awesome video!!!


"KMel Robotics presents a team of flying robots that have taken up new instruments to play some fresh songs. The hexrotors create music in ways never seen before, like playing a custom single string guitar hooked up to an electric guitar amp. Drums are hit using a deconstructed piano action. And there are bells. Lots of bells".  
I bet the miniature bearings in the rotors had to work extra hard!

What's not to like?! 

Friday, 16 May 2014

Bearing Lubrication - the importance of lubricant selection for ball bearings

You may not have given it much thought, but what's inside your bearing can be crucial to it's future survival...


When a bearing must perform under demanding conditions, the lubricant selection becomes critical. Lubrication will affect life, torque, speed, noise, grease migration out gassing, temperature and rust prevention of the bearing.

Two basic types of lubricants available are oil and grease.

Applications that require extremely low torque or narrow range of torque variation are suited to use oil as a lubricant. Depending on the application, it is possible that an oil lubricant may not meet a specific requirement. Grease is an oil to which a thickener has been added.

A technician adds oil lubricant to a bearing

Oil

Oil is the basic lubricant for ball bearings. Previously most lubricating oil was refined from petroleum. Today, however, synthetic oils such as diesters, silicone polymers, and fluorinated compounds have found acceptance because of improvements in properties.
Compared to petroleum base oils, diesters in general have better low temperature properties, lower volatility, and better temperature/viscosity characteristics. Silicones and fluorinated compounds possess even lower volatility and wider temperature/viscosity properties.

Grease

Grease is an oil to which a thickener has been added to prevent oil migration from the lubrication site. It is used in situations where frequent replenishment of the lubricant is undesirable or impossible. All of the oil types mentioned here can be used as grease bases to which are added metallic soaps, synthetic fillers and thickeners.
The operative properties of grease depend almost wholly on the base oil. Other factors being equal, the use of grease rather than oil results in higher starting and running torque and can limit the bearing to lower speeds.
Grease additives include rust inhibitors, extreme pressure additives (EP), oxidation preventatives, etc. Because of the wide variety and complexity of additives, the characteristics of similar greases change considerably from one manufacturer to another.
Some of our grease lubricant

And just when you think you've got the hang of it, there are also:

Dry Lubricants 
Used primarily in vacuum applications or where standard lubricants are unsuitable. AT SMB we use graphite based dry lubricants and also molybdenum disulfide for their hardwearing and low friction properties and the fact that they insoluble in water and dilute acids. It is also effective within a wide temperature range of -180 to +300°C.   

Molybdenum disulfide powder - before it is applied
By burnishing the balls and raceways of a bearing, friction is reduced allowing higher speeds than with dry bearings. This also gives improved performance in vacuum applications.


At SMB we take lubricant selection very seriously & all our bearings come lubricated as standard with high quality lubrication. We can also assist with specialist lubrication requirements, using our on-site re-lubrication facilities - to handle everything from food safe applications to low torque conditions. We regularly supply our bearings or the customers' own bearings with:
  • dampening greases 
  • dry lubricants 
  • food safe greases 
  • high temperature lubricants 
  • low temperature lubricants 
  • low torque lubricants 
  • molybdenum disulphide coating 
  • perfluorinated lubricants 
  • radiation-resistant lubricants 
  • vacuum lubricants 
  • waterproof greases
Please contact us if you'd like any more information about the re-lubrication of your bearings.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Touch Bionics hitting the headlines again!

At SMB Bearings, we are always so thrilled to hear news of our customers products & progress - it's always a delight to see how our bearings are used at the end of the line.  Touch Bionics has been a valued customer for a number of years & we're thrilled to see them hitting the headlines again!


They've been featured in the press this week quite extensively - check this article from the Daily Mail out :

Need a hand (or an arm, or a leg)? Hi-tech app controlled and 3D printed prosthetics shown off

  • Bionic hand hand so advanced it can be controlled using an app
  • Include $140,000 exoskeleton that can let paraplegics walk unaided
From app-controlled hands to strap on exoskeletons that can give mobility to those unable to walk,  the most hi-tech medical innovations in the world went on show today.
The orthopedic world congress 'OTWorld' in Leipzig, Germany, kicked off today with over 5,000 exhibitors.
Everything from bandages to entire limbs was on display, with over 20,000 experts expected to visit.
Model Claudia Breidbach presents a smartphone controlled bionic hand (i-limb) manufactured by the company Touch Bionics of Britain.
Model Claudia Breidbach presents a smartphone controlled bionic hand (i-limb) manufactured by the company Touch Bionics of Britain.
The hand can be controlled using an app but it can also pick up on muscle signals
The hand can be controlled using an app but it can also pick up on muscle signals

HOW IT WORKS

The wearer of the hand can use an app to choose one of 24 different grips.
Alternatively, the hand can be controlled by muscle signals.
Electrodes in the wrist pick up electrical impulses created by contracting muscles and these are interpreted by a computer in the back of the hand.
The computer then moves the hand into any of a series of pre-set patterns.
The event is the biggest of its type in the world.
Klaus-J├╝rgen Lotz, President of the German Federation of Orthopaedic Technicians Guilds, said OTWorld offers an opportunity to take a look at a unique number of treatments in one place.
 
'This kind of interdisciplinary approach is unparalleled,' he said.
'Add to that the international atmosphere – and you have indeed a unique event.'

548 exhibitors from 37 countries will be showcasing their new products, with 260 of the exhibiting companies coming from outside Germany.
They include a British prosthetic technology company has created a hand which is so advanced it can be controlled using a smartphone app.
Model Claudia Breidbach uses a smartphone controlled bionic hand (i-limb) manufactured by the company Touch Bionics of Britain , which is controlled with a special app.
Model Claudia Breidbach uses a smartphone controlled bionic hand (i-limb) manufactured by the company Touch Bionics of Britain , which is controlled with a special app.
A woman walks with a smartphone controlled bionic hand (i-limb) manufactured by the company Touch Bionics of Great Britain, during the opening day at the trade show OT World 2014 in Leipzig, Germany, Tuesday, May 13, 2014. At the center of concerns are the product groups prosthetics, orthotics, orthopaedic footwear technology, compression therapy and rehabilitation. Over 500 exhibitors and more than 20,000 trade and professional visitors from all over the world are coming to the fair. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
A man demonstrate a lower limb prosthesis on a skateboard promoted by the Russian company Ortokosmos, Moscow.
Gadgets ranged from the iHand to 3D printed legs (right)
Touch Bionics’ i-limb ultra revolution prosthetic hand also features a rotating thumb, five individually powered fingers, a rotatable wrist and aluminium chassis.
The company claims that this is the most dextrous prosthetic hand ever made.
The wearer of the hand can use an app to choose one of 24 different grips.
Alternatively, the hand can be controlled by muscle signals.
Electrodes in the wrist pick up electrical impulses created by contracting muscles and these are interpreted by a computer in the back of the hand.
The computer then moves the hand into any of a series of pre-set patterns.
A man walks in front of a poster which showing a bionic hand during the opening day of the orthopedic world congress 'OTWorld' in Leipzig, Germany, Tuesday, May 13, 2014.
A man walks in front of a poster which showing a bionic hand during the opening day of the orthopedic world congress 'OTWorld' in Leipzig, Germany, Tuesday, May 13, 2014.
A man demonstrate a lower limb prosthesis on a skateboard promoted by the Russian company Ortokosmos, Moscow. Over 500 exhibitors and more than 20,000 trade and professional visitors from all over the world are coming to the fair.
A man demonstrate a lower limb prosthesis on a skateboard promoted by the Russian company Ortokosmos, Moscow. Over 500 exhibitors and more than 20,000 trade and professional visitors from all over the world are coming to the fair.
It is also the first upper limb prosthesis to be created which can be controlled using an app.
It comes with an iOS app that allows the user to control the hand’s grip using their smartphone.
The app means that the wearer can choose from 24 different grips at the touch of a button.
The app can also offers training on how to best use the device and can diagnose problems with it.
However, it is not only controllable using an app – it also uses muscle signals to shift into a series of pre-set patterns.
It achieves this by using electrodes in the wrist to pick up electrical impulses created by contracting muscles, which are interpreted by a computer in the back of the hand.
People walk under dummies with smart bandages at the trade show OT World 2014 in Leipzig, Germany.
People walk under dummies with smart bandages at the trade show OT World 2014 in Leipzig, Germany.
Visitors stand besides dummies with upper limb prosthetics during the opening day at the trade show.
Visitors stand besides dummies with upper limb prosthetics during the opening day at the trade show.
A dummy with different orthopedic  is on display  in one of the halls
A dummy with different orthopedic is on display in one of the halls
Paraplegic Peter Anziano walks besides his wife Melissa Ford in an 'exoskeleton' manufactured by the US company 'Parker Hannifin Corporation' of Cleveland
Paraplegic Peter Anziano walks besides his wife Melissa Ford in an 'exoskeleton' manufactured by the US company 'Parker Hannifin Corporation' of Cleveland


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2627412/Need-hand-arm-leg-Hi-tech-app-controlled-3D-printed-prosthetics-shown-off.html#ixzz31h4HDBME
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook


Well done to all the amazing folks developing these products at Touch Bionics, we continue to be thrilled & amazed at your products (& excited that our bearings can be a small part of that).

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

SMB Skate Crew welcomes Joe Baldwin...

We're delighted to introduce a new friend - a very warm SMB welcome goes out to downhill rider
 Joe Baldwin - although, given his brilliant results in the last couple of years, you probably know him already!
Joe Baldwin at Eat Concrete 2014
Check out these results & the man in action:


"My 2013-present results are here: 2014 – 1st Place Ride The Dragon Downhill (Wales)

2013 – Highest IDF Ranked Rider in the UK
2013 – 1st Place – Sheepy Outlaw (UK)
2013 – 1st Place – Hogtoberfest (UK)
2013 – 1st Place – Hog Hill – The Crackling (UK)
2013 – 5th Place – IDF WCQS – BoPeep Crash ‘n’ Burn (UK)
2013 – A’ Bracket Rider – IDF WC – Peyragudes Never Dies (FRA)
2013 – 1st Place Hogtoberfest Slide Competition (UK)
2013 – 1st Place Dangerous Decks Mini-Moto Challenge at Hogtoberfest "

Top notch results Joe - hopefully our ceramic bearings will only add to the speed-demon reputation you're already building!  We look forward to bringing you more news from Joe as the 2014 season progresses.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Aaron Skippings, downhill skater update...


Our friend & SMB skate-crew member Aaron Skipping has already had a hectic start to his downhill skating season.  Aaron is competing using our ceramic hybrid skate bearings this year & it sounds like he's getting pretty impressive results with them.

Aaron says:
"I am in love with the ceramic bearings! Sooooooooooo fast!  I've been really busy lately with my skating! Just been in Belgium for the championships and did really well - I had 7 qualifying races to determine a position and I never finished below a 3rd place.   Unfortunately, because of time pressures they cut it down to 16 people bracket for the semi-finals so i didn't qualify!! Bit lame but hey, I had fun and the UK kicked ass in Belgium! 


I also just booked my flight to California for September!!! Exciting! I will be doing the Angies Curves in California and the famous Pikes Peak in Colorado! 2 of the gnarliest races on the IDF World Cup tour!  Too excited!!!"








Thanks for the update Aaron, it sounds like you were robbed in Belgium, but we're sure you'll make up for it during your US invasion later this year!  We can't wait to bring you more updates from Aaron as the downhill skating season progresses...

Friday, 2 May 2014

SMB's EBAY Skate Store 2nd Anniversary today!

We're celebrating an a special anniversary today - SMB Bearings eBay Skate store is 2 years old!


We've been selling our skate bearings & lubricant via eBay for two whole years now - how time flies!  Thanks to all our lovely customers for helping to make the store a continued success, we very much appreciate your support.

SMB Bearings' eBay Skate Store
If you're not an eBay aficionado or you're interested in any other bearings from our extensive range of miniature bearings, stainless steel bearing, popular bearings, thin section bearings or plastic bearings please don't hesitate to contact us & we'll use our expert product knowledge to help find you the best bearings for your application.


Thursday, 1 May 2014

Ian Emery, RC Helicopter Pilot update...


We've had a great update from our friend Ian Emery - he has been instrumental in organising the new Euro Heli Series, whilst still competing himself, working full time & looking after his lovely family ...



"Well it’s a little over a week until the first F3C Competition of the 2014 Season so I thought I had better give you an update.  As previously mentioned there have been many changes for this year.   A new schedule is in place for this year, although as this is my first year in F3C I knew I would have to learn a new schedule anyway. 


I have been busy organising the Euro Heli Series competition, which will be a total of 4 F3C events in total to be held in Belgium, France, Holland and the final one here in the UK in September.  I’ve been making the most of the good weather and getting out flying as often as I could.  Moving up to F3C just seems like such a big jump from the Sportsman’s class I have been flying in over the past few years.  


There have also been changes in the rules on helicopter setup.  For the first time in F3C competition, flybarless helicopters are allowed.  This brings even more choices. Is a 2 rotor blade or 3 rotor blade setup best? What flybarless controller to choose? Would I be better keeping a flybar and paddle setup?  I have tried most options but think I now have the best setup.  

For me, I think the 3 bladed rotor head offers the best all-round feel and I am lucky enough to be flying the Spartan RC Vortex flybarless system which is superb.  As for the bearings supplied by SMB, I stripped both helicopters during the Winter to check for wear and tear.  These bearings are now over 2 years old and not a single one needed replacing which is fantastic.  


The rubber sealed bearings on the main mast bearing blocks are really holding up well as they are designed to keep dust and grit from entering the bearing.  I would like to say a big thank you to SMB Bearings for their continued support.  I travel to Belgium for the first competition next week to compete against some of the best F3C pilots in Europe, it’s going to a big challenge but I’ve got to start somewhere.  I will keep you updated".

Thanks Ian!  We very much appreciate the positive feedback on our precision EZO bearings & we hope that they continue to bring you good fortune.  We'd all like to wish you every success with your forthcoming competitions & with the Euro Heli Series.