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Bearing friction calculator maximises energy efficiency

21 July, 2011

Schaeffler has updated its free Bearinx rolling bearing calculation and simulation software to include new functions for calculating friction. The software will help designers to identify and maximise energy efficiency savings in machines or systems. For example, it can help to specify rolling bearings with reduced friction characteristics, or to downsize the bearings or other system components.

Until now, there were two methods for calculating rolling bearing friction – the catalogue method, and special, multi-body simulation programs. The former is quick, but imprecise; the latter offers high accuracy, but is more time-consuming.

The new method, based on physical bearing attributes, is said to offer both fast calculation times and high model accuracies. The software considers various influencing factors, such as stress distribution and the internal geometry of the bearing. As well as load distribution and rating life, it also allows users to calculate the frictional torque of rolling bearings and thus the power loss of entire shafts or power transmission systems. This allows bearings with optimised friction to be chosen early in product development.

The software can compare the efficiencies of different rolling bearing designs. The friction calculation theory has been confirmed by tests, and takes into account the internal load distribution of the bearing and contact pressures on the raceways and ribs, with the actual rolling element profiles.

The software takes into account both rolling and sliding friction, in solid body, mixed and fluid friction cases. It considers the formation of lubricant films at contact points of bodies under high loads, when rolling at high speeds. Because stress, sliding speed, viscosity and temperature can vary over a contact surface, the software analyses every contact in a bearing.

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