Research in this project led to the improvement of silicon nitride materials which are best suited to bearing applications. In addition, manufacturing methods for pressing ball blanks were re-examined and hot isostatic pressing using glass encapsulation was adapted to the special needs of ball blank densification. Methods for precision grinding of balls and races were developed.
SILICON NITRIDE HAS PROVED TO BE A VERY PROMISING MATERIAL FOR BALL AND ROLLER BEARING APPLICATIONS. UP TO NOW ONLY A FEW UNCRITICAL APPLICATIONS HAVE COME UP, DUE TO UNKNOWN RELIABILITY AND HIGH PRODUCTION COST. IT IS TO BE FEARED THAT JAPANESE AND AMERICAN COMPANIES WILL DEVELOP EXCLUSIVITIES IN THIS FIELD.
IN THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME THE MAIN AIM IS TO OPTIMIZE RELIABILITY PROPERTIES BY DEVELOPMENT OF SPECIFIC SILICON NITRIDE MATERIALS, THEIR PROCESSING AND DESIGN AND CALCULATION OF BALL BEARINGS. THE SUCCESS IN THIS MAIN AIM WILL OPEN THE TOTAL FIELD OF CRITICAL APPLICATIONS, WHICH CANNOT BE SOLVED BY CONVENTIONAL BEARINGS.
THE EXPECTED COST REDUCTION IN MATERIAL PROCESSING AND MACHINING WILL LEAD TO LARGE SCALE APPLICATIONS AND WILL BE THE KEY TO MAKE EUROPE COMPETITIVE TO MAJOR OVERSEAS PRODUCERS.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts