Bowman International appoints new business unit manager for their split roller bearing division

Leading innovator of bearings and sintered components, Bowman International has announced the appointment of Chris Ager, as the new Business Unit Manager for its rapidly growing Split Bearings division.

Having worked in the split bearings industry for 16 years, the last seven of which was for a leading competitor, Chris brings to his role a wealth of industry knowledge that will undoubtedly benefit Bowman’s increasing split bearing customer base, with the implementation of leaner ordering processes, increased distribution channels and the research and development of further split bearing innovations.

Paul Hancock CEO for Bowman International comments on the appointment:
“Chris joins Bowman’s team at the helm of our Split Bearings Division in Kingswinford. Charged with overseeing customer fulfillment, supplier relationships and the further growth of the division, Chris will draw upon his extensive and successful career in the industry to steer the manufacture and distribution of Bowman’s newest innovation – the Advanced Split Roller Bearing.”

Building on the success that Bowman has had to date, Chris will be responsible for further developing routes to market via quality distribution partners, consulting customers on bearing selection and the streamlining and general management of the Kingswinford site.

Chris concludes: “For a good while now I have admired Bowman’s passion for innovating products that solve real industrial challenges, and the Advanced Split Roller Bearing is the latest example of this ingenuity.  I believe my skillset and industry experience are an excellent fit for the future growth plans of the Bowman Split Bearing business, and together with the team at Kingswinford I aim to take a customer-centric approach to improving and implementing processes that will help us meet the needs of the industries we serve.”

For more information on Bowman Advanced Split Roller Bearings, click here. To connect with Chris Ager on LinkedIn click here, or contact him on: TBC

The forgotten criteria – Accommodating axial load in cement processing

In cement processing applications, increased production demands, longer running times and more corrosive environments are putting machinery under pressure. As crucial components in the operational efficiency of any machine, bearings must be able to withstand increasing forces and runtime. Chris Ager, Business Unit Manager at Bowman International, explores the increasing importance of load types in industrial applications and how innovation in bearing design can help to avoid system failure, unplanned downtime, and increased maintenance costs.

Understanding forces: axial and radial
When choosing the right bearing for the job, it is important to understand the load and application requirements. If the wrong bearing is used, it may not carry the required load effectively, leading to damage and potential failure. There are two main types of load – radial load refers to the loads acting at right angles to the shaft, and axial loads are applied parallel to the shaft in both directions. While many bearings are designed to handle either axial or radial loads, high-load applications in heavy side industrial applications often require a combination of the two – a requirement that, due to limitations in manufacturing, has been left largely unmet.

To best serve the needs of high-load applications that have both types of forces in play, many bearing manufacturers and OEMs will use a combination approach – using a pair of bearings to accommodate the load in each direction. The shortcomings of this method mean more space requirements within the machinery – increasing its overall footprint on the factory floor – as well as potential complications with both assembly and access for ongoing maintenance.

While there is an increasing number of bearings on the market that are designed to handle both radial and axial loads, they work by inclining the rolling elements to give some axial capacity. In doing so, they trade off radial capacity for axial – a solution that limits the axial load capacity, limiting application usage or putting the bearings at risk of failure.

Both radial and axial load specifications directly relate to the strength and rigidity of the bearings, shaft, and overall machinery. Exceeding these specifications in an application with a high axial load may result in damage to the bearing and have a different impact on efficiency. In fact, studies suggest that exceeding either radial or axial load specifications by 10% may reduce the lifespan of the components by about 1,000 hours – as well as running the very real risk of unplanned downtime. For applications with a high axial load, these solutions are far from ideal.

Innovations in bearing design
In a standard split bearing design, the rollers run against the outer race lips and clamp rings on the inner race assembly of the bearing, creating stress, friction, and a lower tolerance for axial loads. Using engineering-grade 3D-printed Nylon-11 and the latest additive manufacturing technology, Bowman has been able to create a bearing design that removes the axial locating lips from the bearing outer race. This means that the radial roller length, as well as the actual number of rollers, can be increased – giving both a higher load capacity and an approximate increase of x5 radial L10 life. 

Increased axial capacity
By adding axial roller and cage assemblies to their design, Bowman has overcome the issue of reductions in axial load by using three sets of rolling elements to allow independent handling of the radial and bi-directional axial loads. The design incorporates the usual benefits of a split bearing system such as faster removal and installation processes when compared to solid bearings, while increasing the radial capacity and significantly improving the axial capacity compared to standard solutions.

To find out more information about how advanced bearing design can benefit cement processing facilities, and the state-of-the-art innovations Bowman International has brought to market to solve these challenges, contact the team today.

Bearing the cost of failure in high-load applications

Bearing failures can be costly, disruptive and in some cases dangerous. Chris Ager, Business Unit Manager for Bowman International’s Split Bearing Division, considers three of the main reasons for bearing failure in high-load environments – and explores why it is so important to make the right decision first time.

There are three main reasons for bearing failure: bearing fatigue, poor maintenance practices and the incorrect selection bearing material. In high-load applications, these potential points of failure are amplified, but addressing them during the specification process could help designers and decision-making engineers to make the right decision first time. In doing so, many facilities can harness untapped performance, time and cost efficiencies that they were unaware of.

Across many sectors, machinery is working harder and longer than ever before, so when it comes to bearing selection, be it a standard catalogue item or a special order, customers are becoming more reliant on their suppliers to take responsibility for supporting the specification process. This partnership approach facilitates accurate product selection – and that is where it pays to partner with a manufacturer that has proven experience and expertise.

Bearing fatigue
First and foremost, it is vital to select the right bearing for the application in question to prevent premature bearing fatigue. There are many types of bearing to choose from, including plain, spherical, needle, ball and split roller bearings to name but a few. Each of these bearing categories has many variations within it, such as sintered, wrapped, composite or machined, and then there are sizes, seals, lubrication and performance enhancing extras to consider.

With so much to think about, it is fair to say that there is more to specifying the right bearing than just navigating the overarching product type. Each variable will affect the bearing performance depending on the application and working with a knowledgeable supply partner is the right way to ensure you have the precise bearing for your application.

The majority of customers know exactly what their bearing needs to do. They know the load, speed and environmental requirements that will reduce fatigue, but need advice on what type of bearing can deliver those capabilities most efficiently, and at the right cost.

Selecting the right bearing will influence not just the initial purchase cost, but potentially other factors including the cost of ongoing maintenance, lifespan of the bearing and even how efficiently the equipment works. Often, when working closely with a bearing manufacturer, customers realise there are clear benefits to switching to an alternative bearing type, from the one style they have been specifying to date.

The new Bowman Advanced Split Roller Bearing for example is specifically designed for high load applications and can improve performance and drive cost efficiencies compared to solid bearings for systems with high radial and axial load requirements. In fact, this bearing offers up to 75 percent higher radial load capacity and up to a 1000 percent increase in axial load capacity compared to other split bearings.

This is really where a whole-market manufacturer and supplier, not restricted to any single type of bearing, can add real value through independent advice.

Material selection
The choice of material is another important decision that can affect system performance, bearing life and OPEX costs. Bearings are manufactured in a range of materials to suit a range of purposes including sintered bronze, sintered copper, rolled bronze, cast bronze and various plastics. Composites, stainless steel and other alloys are also widely used to meet the needs of certain applications.

As material science evolves, so too can bearing design and now for the first time in bearing history, 3D printing is also being used by Bowman International to facilitate the use of complex geometries to radically improve bearing life, load and performance whilst keeping cost- and time-to-market low.

Ease of maintenance
Reducing downtime is an important driver in any industry, especially those with restricted system access, mission critical operational parameters or high levels of customer demand to meet.

It can be tempting to skip regular maintenance or cut corners to get equipment back up and running quickly, but this will only lead to further failures. Selecting bearings that offer easy installation and maintenance processes can keep downtime to a minimum and performance optimised.

Choosing split bearings over solid bearings for example can save time during installation and maintenance because they are assembled radially around the shaft. This eliminates the need to disconnect the coupling and move other equipment, such as motors, gearboxes or pumps out of the way to access the shaft – making installation up to ten times faster.

The Bowman Advanced Split Roller Bearing even uses the rollers to lock the two cage halves together, eradicating the use of small and easy to lose clips and other locking components. Further enhancing the performance of this revolutionary split roller bearing is a patented triple labyrinth seal which not only offers a tighter seal than other split bearings, but also reduces the need for costly removal, machining or replacement of worn shafts.

When a shaft becomes worn, engineers can simply fit a new extended seal covering the undamaged part of the shaft, without compromising performance and without the need for extended downtime.

When faced with bearing selection, the easiest way to make the right choice first time is to work with a supplier that can take a whole-of-market approach to bearing specification and can offer the latest state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques, has a proven track record of innovating products ahead of its competitors and can offer a whole-of-market view, so that you aren’t missing out on performance and cost benefits that you weren’t aware of.

For more information on Bowmans Advanced Split Roller Bearings, click here