Samara State Technical UniversityTowards improving the future of rolling bearing manufacturing

Towards improving the future of rolling bearing manufacturing

In total, more than 100 billion rolling bearings are currently in operation worldwide. Rolling bearings are used in thousands of industrial, automotive, marine and aerospace applications. Statistics demonstrate that from 40% up to 50% of rotating mechanism failures are caused by the bearing failures. Presently, the processes and machines are so sophisticated that the risks of failure or disruption become too high or costly.Samara State Technical University (Samara Polytech) scientistsare developing an approach aimed at radical change of the situation; their approach is based on creation and implementation of digital twins in the design, production and lifecycle management of rolling bearings[1].

A group of researchers led by the head of the Mechanics Department Iakov Klebanov is developing virtual analogues of roller and ball bearings. The analogues consist of advancedmultidisciplinary mathematical models, which represent the dynamics of movement and interaction of bearing parts, the hydrodynamics of the lubricating medium in the bearing cavity, mechanical deformation, stiffness, strength and durability of parts, including the seal, and the bearing as a whole. While creating the bearing models, both original methods and software tools are used as well as universal software packages: CAE ANSYS and other.

“At first sight, a rolling bearing indeed appears to be asimple mechanical component consisting of a set of rolling elementsrolling between a stationary and rotating parts and separatedby a cage. Interaction between each of these elementsof the bearing also appears to be quite simple and, therefore, simulationof rolling bearing performance should be a straightforwardtask. However, it is the coupling between the simple interactionof bearing elements that makes modeling and simulationof real-time performance of a rolling bearing a difficult task”, says Professor Klebanov.

Oil concentration distribution in a roller bearing’s cavity

The current result of the project is the advanced design of 15 ball and roller bearings implemented into the production at the OJSC “EPK Samara”, which is the industrial partner of Samara State Technical University in this project. Besides increasing the reliability and durability of bearings, the experience of this implementation significantly reduces the time and cost of their design and manufacture.

Beyond computer-aided design and engineering, digital twins offer engineers virtual tools for managing technology, assets and resources while improving performance.The research will focus on formation of a multi-level matrix of targets and resource constraints: time, financial, technological, production, environmental and others, designed to agree on the target characteristics of both the bearing as a whole and its parts. The target matrix should provide the ability not only to track the mutual influence of the components, but also to make the necessary changes and clarificationspromptly.

The project work plan includes also the following stages:

  • development of highly adequate virtual analogues of stands for testing roller and ball bearings and their parts for durability, maximum rotation speed, allowable temperatures, noise level, accuracy and other tests;
  • development of digital models that solve the problem of determining the material embodiment of the electronic model of the bearing by generating control programs for computer-controlled equipment and technology and formation of digital twins of technological processes, combining computer-aided manufacturing models, accompanying virtual tests and stands;
  • combining digital twins of rolling bearings and digital twins of technological processes of their manufacture within a single digital model – a “smart” digital twin of the first level;
  • development of procedures for making changes in the “smart” digital twin based on the results of physical tests and operational data, increasing the level of its adequacy and allowing in the future to simulate various situations and operating modes with its help: assessing the level of possible damage andits accumulation, evaluating the residual life, planning and managing the maintenance and repairs of rolling bearings;
  • creation of a unified information and computing environment based on modern information technologies, combining various digital models into a common environment for the formation of digital twins.

The use of the technology of digital twins of rolling bearings will make it possible at the stage of designing to determine the optimal design solutions, to providea control over the quality of design solutions and to assess the impact of real production capabilities, the cost of mastering production and the production itselfon the implementation of the design idea.

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