SKF is a world leader in rolling bearings and related technologies, constantly looking to optimize manufacturing processes. In the production of seals, a crucial step involves bonding a metallic insert and rubber. During the molding process, certain amount of rubber needs to become waste due to the way rubber flows inside the mold. Besides, some defects in the molded parts can also occur already during production, rendering the whole product unusable. The potential reuse of both the rubber and the pre-treated metallic inserts is complex and consequently, the entire product is often discarded. Now, we are looking for solutions to improve the reusability of the parts through efficient recycling methods and ways to separate the materials.

Opportunity overview

The reuse of rubber is complex due to its production chemistry, while reusing the metallic inserts after the pre-treatment process is impractical. This often leads to discarding the entire defect product even when the metallic insert still has value, leading to both economic and environmental inefficiency. The solution should be a process to de-bond or separate the molded rubber from the metallic insert, enabling the reuse of the insert without affecting its physical properties. Regarding the rubber compound, a technology that enables the reuse of the rubber scrap generated in different stages of the process is also under exploration. Solving the challenges would considerably reduce the amount of valuable materials going to scrap and the CO2 footprint. The circularity of the production process would be elevated, catering to the demands of the environment and customers.

Summary of the requested solution

The solution should address the separation of the moulded rubber from the metallic insert in defect parts during seal production, minimizing valuable materials going to scrap. Additionally, a technology facilitating the reuse of rubber attached, or not, to the insert is also of interest. The solution must consider the initial treatment of the insert and enable retreatment, allowing the insert to be reused in the production line. The solution would ultimately be implemented in SKFs internal seals production sites.

Your opportunity with SKF

SKF is the world’s largest bearing manufacturer, with 17,000 distributors in 130 countries. As a leader in our field, we can offer you a significant reference for your solution and a chance to make a real impact at a large scale. Collaborating with SKF on developing a solution to reuse materials from defect products allows your solution to contribute to a reduction in the Co2 footprint and an improvement in the circularity of the production process. We want to work together and provide you with valuable learnings from the manufacturing space, enabling your company further opportunities within the industry.

Examples we're looking for

Debonding technologies

Novel solutions for debonding or separating moulded rubber from metallic inserts, enabling the reuse of the metallic parts without compromising their physical properties are under exploration.

Rubber recycling

Innovative technologies facilitating the recycling of the rubber scrap generated throughout the process are also of interest, enabling the rubber reuse in the production line and reducing scrap.

SKF is a world-leading provider of innovative solutions that help industries become more competitive and sustainable. By making products lighter, more efficient, longer lasting, and repairable, they help their customers improve rotating equipment performance and reduce environmental impact. SKF's offering around the rotating shaft includes bearings, seals, lubrication management, condition monitoring, and services. Founded in 1907, SKF is represented in approximately 129 countries and has around 17,000 distributor locations worldwide.

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