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"For me, developing innovative solutions here at Schaeffler means being a pioneer, pushing the limits, exploring new avenues and making the technology that's impossible today possible for tomorrow."
Dr. Claus Müller, Project Manager Advance Development Modules
Can you provide a brief summary of the innovative approach taken with regard to media lubricated rolling bearings?
The innovation consists in making a rolling bearing that can "survive", in other words fulfill the relevant customer requirements, without the lubrication with oil and grease that has been common practice for decades, in other words designing it in such a way that it is capable of doing this with a "lubricating medium" such as water.
What sector do your customers come from that use this innovation?
They come from the water turbine construction sector, i.e. water turbines for use in rivers and the sea, and from the shipbuilding, pump manufacturing, and offshore technology areas.
What customer benefits does this solution provide?
It provides customer benefits in two ways: The first is that oil and grease are no longer needed, which of course is a major benefit in ecological terms. The other benefit is that conventional hermetic seals are superfluous. Because heavy seals that cause a lot of friction are not required, the machines can be operated in a much more energy-efficient manner.
What are the most important technical aspects?
We use rolling bearing rings made of special steel that is resistant to corrosion. We also employ ceramic rolling elements. Here you can see the cage that guides the rolling elements, which is made from special water-resistant plastic, and we use light, non-hermetic seals that allow water to enter the bearing but keep the particles away from the rolling contact.
What does innovation mean for you personally?
For me, developing innovative solutions here at Schaeffler means being a pioneer, pushing the limits, exploring new avenues and making the technology that's impossible today possible for tomorrow.