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Hybrid bearings from NKE are suitable for tough industrial applications

Hybrid bearings from NKE are suitable for tough industrial applications

Industrial applications in challenging environmental conditions call for special bearing solutions. Bearing manufacturer NKE Austria has developed hybrid bearings for precisely these applications. NKE hybrid bearings consist of ultrapure steel bearing rings and ceramic rolling elements made of bearing grade silicon nitride Si3N4. “At first glance, this material pairing is highly unusual, but it offers many advantages in an enormous range of applications, which significantly increases the reliability of the overall system,” says Michael Rössl, application engineer at NKE in Steyr, Austria.

The silicon nitride rolling elements are 60 percent lighter than those made from steel and are suitable for very high rotating speeds. “Consequently, NKE hybrid bearings can reach limit speeds that are over 20 percent higher than conventional standard bearings,” says Rössl. “Even at these very high and demanding speeds, NKE hybrid bearings demonstrate excellent performance characteristics and minimal running noise. There are therefore particularly well suited for use in high-speed electric motors.”

 The ceramic rolling elements have high wear resistance and can achieve better results under extremely demanding conditions, such as poor lubrication, thereby extending service life significantly. “The very good dry-running properties of a hybrid bearing play an extremely critical part in substantially enhancing the reliability of an application,” adds the application engineer.

The tribological properties of a hybrid bearing are very good due to the special material pairing of ceramic and bearing steel. Very little frictional heat is generated, even at high speeds. “In turn, this also means that there is less power loss at the bearing and by extension in the application as a whole,” explains Rössl. “Moreover, a hybrid bearing has a low breakaway torque.”

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