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A ground-breaking gearbox - but you can`t buy it

01 May, 2004

A ground-breaking gearbox - but you can`t buy it

SKF has developed an industrial gearbox that it says is smaller and lighter than conventional designs, yet should last more than twice as long. But the box is not likely to go on sale. SKF does not make industrial gearboxes, and has no plans to put the box into production. It built the gearbox to demonstrate how different departments and companies can co-operate to achieve a common goal.

The 18K-SKF Concept Gearbox (shown above) crams the power of a 280 gearbox into a 250 frame. According to SKF, it will deliver a service life of 50,000 hours - 30,000 more than the industry average.

To develop the box, SKF worked with partners which could provide expertise that it did not itself possess. So, the Fiat Research Centre helped to create optimum gear profiles, while Mobil contributed its lubrication expertise. SKF used software to perform static and dynamic modelling of the gearbox as a "system", thus allowing it to optimise the performance of the components.

The box incorporates nine bearings from SKF`s Explorer range and gave the company the opportunity to test new industrial seal designs using a compound created especially for the application. The prototype gearbox includes a monitoring system with ten sensors to monitor acceleration, position, temperature, torque and speed.

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