Get Your Bearings Straight
- Apr 18, 2018 -
Ask most people about innovation in bearings and they will mention magnetic bearings. Certainly, they deserve the spotlight. It seems that every turbine OEM and major bearing supplier has been eager to augment its arsenal with mag bearings.
Examples include Dresser-Rand acquiring Synchrony, MAN Diesel & Turbo buying Mecos Traxler, SKF picking up S2M and Waukesha Bearings taking over Glacier Rotating Plant Bearings. The large number of mergers tells a tale of fast-paced development and rapidly maturing technology.
“Mag bearings are crossing the chasm between highly specialized applications into more of a mainstream adoption by other machine builders,” said Lars Kahlman, Senior Application Specialist, SKF Fluid Machinery.
Yet magnetic bearing breakthroughs may not even be regarded as being on the forefront of bearing technology. Indeed, recent work on air bearings and the incorporation of advanced materials, such as ceramics can possibly stake a claim as being on the cutting edge (Figure 1).