Schaeffler Strengthens Deep Groove Ball Bearings Business
Schaeffler is significantly expanding its standard rolling bearing business with FAG Generation C deep groove ball bearings through substantial investments in new production and logistics capacities as well as improved product characteristics.
In March, the first new high-volume production line was put into operation at the Schaeffler location in Yinchuan/China. Until the end of 2018, Schaeffler will gradually put new production lines into operation at this location and thereby double its capacity in the high-volume product series of FAG deep groove ball bearings.
Strengthening the standard production business is an important aspect of the CORE program, which was developed to realign Schaeffler's Industrial division. “Our investments will help us satisfy the high level of demand for standard deep groove ball bearings, especially from China and the Asia/Pacific region, and help us meet the specific requirements of this high-volume business in an optimum way. Our products meet the highest technical requirements and, at the same time, offer a cost-effective price-performance ratio,” explains Dr. Stefan Spindler, CEO Industrial at Schaeffler.
Electric motors, household appliances, pumps and fans, electric power tools, and two-wheel vehicles are the fields of application in which FAG Generation C deep groove ball bearings are most commonly used. More durable, less noise, low friction and cost-effective Ever since FAG Generation C deep groove ball bearings were successfully established on the market in 2008, their product characteristics have been subject to continuous improvement. “We looked at the product, production, and logistics, and developed solutions in all areas that fulfill the highest requirements in the market,” explains Thomas Kreis, project manager for the deep groove ball bearing high-volume business at Schaeffler. Schaeffler products continue to set benchmarks when it comes to relevant technical characteristics, such as minimizing friction or noise. Two new sealing concepts have also been developed. Less grease loss and better protection against contamination extend the grease operating life and, thus, the bearing's operating life.
The new Z-type dust shield with its innovative labyrinth seal helps to reduce the egress of grease by 20%, and prevents contamination by 30% in comparison with the previous design. The patented ELS lip seal, which is optionally available, provides maximum sealing action at low friction and is particularly suitable for alternating axial loads, such as in wheel bearings in motorcycles. The improved sealing action, without any additional friction loss, is due to the innovative lip shape that is perfectly matched to the ring recess. What is more, the recesses that have been shifted to the interior of the bearing significantly improve the bearing’s robustness during handling, for example during mounting.
Moreover, non-contact BRS lip seals and HRS lip seals, which start at the inner ring, are available with increased sealing action in the standard range. The high-quality of the balls and the noise-optimized cage mean that FAG Generation C deep groove ball bearings run significantly more quietly than conventional deep groove ball bearings. In addition, optimized osculation reduces friction. These characteristics can be attributed to the numerous optimizations to raceway parameters with regard to roundness, waviness, roughness, and tighter manufacturing tolerances. Reduced friction also means lower energy costs during operation. Production geared towards 100 percent quality at maximum output volume Schaeffler’s new production concept at the Yinchuan plant is entirely focused on the specific requirements of the high-volume business. The highly-automated production lines are optimally designed for these types of bearings and any variations, so that setup operations and downtimes can be reduced to a minimum. Schaeffler puts a special focus on cleanliness in the production process. For this reason, several automated washing stations that prevent even the slightest contamination of the products have been integrated into the production lines.
At the same time, highly-skilled employees and several automated 100% inspection facilities ensure that the highest quality standards are met. Just like the plants in Caldas (Portugal) and Savli (India), where deep groove ball bearing products have been produced for several years, the plant in Yinchuan has been certified according to the highest ISO quality standards for the industrial and automotive sectors. An optimized supply chain ensures prompt delivery A stockholding and logistics concept that is coordinated worldwide ensures prompt and reliable delivery to our customers from the plants in China, Portugal, and India. For Europe, setting up the new European Distribution Center (EDC) is of central importance.
Operations at the locations in Northern Europe (Sweden) and Southern Europe (Italy) have already started. The “Central” logistics center in Germany is currently under construction and will start supplying customers in Central, Western, and Eastern Europe as of next year.