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New Bearings Are Gateway To Digitalization and IIoT (Part 1)

In a recent presentation at this year’s Hannover Fair in Germany, Stefan Spindler, CEO of the Industrial Group at Schaeffler AG outlined the company’s vision for the future. Schaeffler has one of the broadest ranges of rolling bearings and power-transmission products in the industry, offers extensive engineering expertise for its customers and strives for the highest possible quality, efficiency and delivery performance, he said


In addition, noted Spindler, the company views Industry 4.0 and digitalization as key opportunities going forward. He spoke in detail about Schaeffler’s Smart EcoSystem, a digital infrastructure for integrating sensor-equipped components into cloud-based systems and specific business models based on digital service—and how it all ultimately benefits the user.

Smart EcoSystem is a comprehensive, cloud-based hardware and software infrastructure that takes into account every stage of digital added value—from components equipped with sensors through to digital services like tracking machine performance and predictive maintenance, he explained.

Components like rolling bearings equipped with sensors are the fundamental “enablers” for these digital services. Schaeffler’s aim is to continuously transform conventional mechanical products and integrate them into the digital world. While bearings and guidance systems equipped with sensors have been on the market for several years, Schaeffler has expanded such capabilities with the new FAG VarioSense rolling-bearing system—one key component of the Smart EcoSystem. It is based on standard products and can be configured in a modular fashion with several different sensors, which allows virtually every desired parameter to be monitored and permits easy access to digitalization and the Internet of Things.

FAG VarioSense bearings integrate several sensor elements into a ring-shaped housing with a section height of only 7 mm. The sensor cluster occupies approximately the same space as a rotary shaft seal, said company officials. For simple handling, the sensor housing is fixed to the outer ring and the sensor ring is fixed to the bearing inner ring, resulting in a compact overall unit.

Customers can set the number and combination of measured values for a specific application. Sensing parameters include:
• Temperature from -40° to 125°C.
• Speed up to 17,000 rpm.
• Rotation direction.
• Number of revolutions or position with 56 to 96 impulses/revolutions (depending on size).
• Vibration signals for long-term trending.
• Maximum radial shaft displacement to a resolution of 1 µm.

The original article can be found here

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