For the last several years, Swedish companies VBN Components, based in Uppsala, and SKF, based in Göteborg, have been in collaboration to additively manufacture hard, wear-resistant steels with enhanced fatigue properties. Thus far, the cooperation has mainly been focused on aerospace and racing where Additive Manufacturing has offered several advantages, including less complex and time-consuming manufacturing solutions, as well as environmental benefits.
Building on this collaboration, SKF and VBN now intend to focus on the potential application of this technology on large size bearings. In these applications, lighter weight components have the potential to improve performance under demanding conditions and can enable further weight optimisation of machinery.
The use of the VBN’s Vibenite materials in the components developed by VBN and SKF is also expected to enable significant environmental benefits. Since Additive Manufacturing makes it easy to produce components from very hard materials, material consumption can, in specific applications, be reduced by 80–90%.
Victoria Van Camp, president, SKF Technology Development, stated, “At SKF, we are constantly striving to improve the performance of our bearings and VBN’s solutions and material are contributing to this. Our cooperation also brings large sustainability benefits. This means that our customers get better products with lower environmental impact.”
The Vibenite materials also have the potential to enable improvements in the material for many other applications; VBN has customers that are said to have increased the lifetime of components tenfold resulting in a reduced CO2 footprint. In collaboration with SKF, Vibenite materials have been shown to provide very good rolling fatigue resistance due to their purity, hardness, and fine microstructure.
“SKF’s focus on continuously improving their products has given us the opportunity to test our Vibenite materials in very demanding applications,” commented Johan Bäckström, CEO of VBN Components. “We are truly pleased to finally make this announcement after several years of successful cooperation.”