SKF has upgraded, and expanded, its SKF Explorer self-aligning roller bearing range, thanks to an new method of processing bearing steel that offers an enhanced level of performance and longer life, even in applications where there are high levels of contamination. All SKF spherical roller bearings, CARB toroidal roller bearings and most spherical roller thrust bearings now carry the industry-leading SKF Explorer performance class designation.

The enhanced strength of SKF Explorer has been achieved via a new heat treatment process for the hardening of bearing steel, which includes a lower temperature processing stage that enhances material properties yet further without necessitating a commercially unviable process time. The SKF

next-generation bearing steel has a much finer microstructure than the traditional material, offering exceptional dimensional stability and structural strength even where there are high levels of contamination or where there is insufficient lubrication.

The new SKF Explorer bearings are said to deliver smoother, lower temperature operation under the most demanding conditions and are available in a full range of sizes and specifications, making them suitable for applications in mining and quarrying, materials handling, marine, offshore and manufacturing. The greater load carrying capacity of SKF Explorer offers customers the option to use smaller bearings in some applications and potentially cut costs. “Extending the range of SKF Explorer self-aligning roller bearings means that more customers can improve reliability and increase uptime for their particular application,” says Johan Ander, product manager at SKF.

The performance and reliability of the new bearings has been enhanced still further through a careful redesign of the rolling elements, cages and guide rings. Floating guide rings ensure that rolling elements are correctly aligned, with high load bearing strength, minimal friction and low temperature, while internal geometries and surface finishes are optimised to eliminate stress on moving parts and ensure efficient oil film build-up with long lubricant life.

The SKF Explorer performance class has been certified by classification socieites Det Norske Veritas and Germanischer Lloyd to last longer than standard bearings. With the introduction of the new bearing steel in 2011, SKF Explorer now claims to sets new standards for performance, reliability and operating life.

SKF UK & Ireland            
T: +44 (0)1582 496433