Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Small Revolutionary Change In Ball Bearing Design Could Save Billions Of Dollars A Year

A Japanese firm, Coo Space, has eliminated the need for a cage inside ball bearings with a small groove that keeps the balls separated and eliminates the sliding friction that cages have so that the bearings do not need grease anymore and spin freely with a reduction in friction reportedly up to 90%!.

Article Summary
The humble ball bearing is a key component of nearly every device with moving parts, taking advantage of the vastly reduced friction you can achieve when rolling a ball between two surfaces as opposed to sliding them across one another. Now, a Japanese company has come up with a simple design that removes a key component from a typical bearing – the cage that keeps the balls separated as they roll around. Coo Space's Autonomous Decentralised Bearings don't need to be greased, and according to their inventor, this fact alone can reduce their friction by up to 90 percent compared with standard bearings.

My bold.

This simple change could save Billions of dollars a year in automotive applications alone by reducing the rolling friction in wheel bearings that would result in better fuel mileage.

When I first started working out of High School I went to work in the construction industry working around heavy equipment and the majority of my job was walking around with a grease gun in my hand pumping grease into bearings all day.
I would literally be covered in grease by the end of the day so I am intimately familiar with several different types of bearings and bushings.

Anyone who has ever had a wheel bearing on their boat or travel trailer seize up and weld its self to the spindle should be rejoicing right about now too. I have had to cut a few of those off in my day.
The implications of this new bearing design and the reduced operating costs for just about anything with moving parts can not be overstated. The Big Oil companies will be gnashing their teeth though. Grease sales will plummet.

This video is a bit hard to understand as Japanese does not lend its self too well to translation into English but pay attention to the small groove they are talking about and watch how much longer this new bearing spins compared to the ones in use today.(2:45 mark)
( There is no sound for about a minute and a half)

Go read the rest at Gizmag.


Sixbears said...

Having lost a boat trailer bearing while crossing the Everglades on old rt. 41, I want these new bearings as soon as possible. I keep my bearings well greased, but sometimes even that's not enough. This innovation is huge. Bearings are used everywhere.

Robert the Biker said...

Well, maybe........ but wheel bearings are usually taper rollers, beause of side loads due to cornering etc. Maybe on motorcycles, but I would wonder about braking and acceleration as well as the cornering loads. These would be fine I guess in transmissions, but those are filled with oil due to the gears, so all in all an elegant solution to a non existant problem

Anonymous said...

Don't cry for the grease companies. There will still be plenty of the old type around for a long time to come. Plus lots of other things that will still need grease. Thses types of bearing won't work on a wobble fitting like a u-joint, for example since each ball only travels a short distance before reversing direction.

golden geese news said...

I think on boat trailers, you would still need grease to prevent corrosion, due to the fact that the wheels are often submerged in water.

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