SKF names new Chief Technology Officer, unveils new hybrid deep groove ball bearing for high-speed applications

SWEDEN – Swedish bearing and seal manufacturing company SKF has injected new life to its technology department with the appointment of Annika Ölme as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Senior Vice President, Technology Development.

Annika will join SKF on 15 October from SAAB Radar Solutions and Arcam, a subsidiary of General Electric, where she is CTO and Head of Engineering and Managing Director respectively.

The seasoned engineer is not new to SKF having held various positions within Swedish bearing manufacturer Between 2002-2017.

She has a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Chalmers University of Technology and a Master of Business Administration from Waikato University.

Rickard Gustafson, President and CEO, says: “I’m happy to welcome Annika back to SKF and look forward to working with her as we continue to strengthen our technology development efforts for traditional and future applications around the rotating shaft.”

SKF has developed a new hybrid deep groove ball bearing for high-speed applications. The new bearing is aimed at applications such as rail industry traction motors, as well as electric machines and drives. SKF already has three pilot customers, all of them OEMs.

New SKF Hybrid deep groove ball bearing

Her appointment coincides with the unveiling of a a new hybrid deep groove ball bearing for high-speed applications by SKF.

The new bearing, which has already attracted three pilot customers, all of them OEMs, is aimed at applications such electric machines and drives as well as rail industry traction motors.

The bearing features a new lightweight cage helps to boost the limiting speed by at least 60% compared to traditional designs.

Additionally, the polymeric cage helps to reduce friction, leading to quieter operation and allowing higher power density in the application.

“Our new cage design helps our customers to get more power from electric motors, which enables downsizing,” says Andreas Pichler, Business and Project Engineer at SKF.

By improving the efficiency of electric machines and drives, the new bearing can cut energy consumption, increase reliability and reduce the total cost of ownership, SKF said.

Its two-piece cage is made from PEEK and PA66, making it 80% lighter than a brass cage.  Rigidly connected cage bars ensure robustness, which helps to lengthen service life in harsh conditions.

As well as running more quietly, the bearing operates at a lower temperature, which prolongs grease life and extends relubrication intervals. This can give engineers more flexibility in their design choices.

The bearing’s limiting speed is twice that of a single-piece polyamide cage, and 60% higher than a brass one. Additionally, optimised geometry also eliminates radial deformation from high centrifugal forces, the ‘umbrella effect’, that typically occurs on snap-type cages running at high speed.

SKF says that the new bearing is targeted at OEMs in rail, off-highway vehicles, E-mobility, and industrial/electrical applications.

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