SKF is a world leader in rolling bearings and related technologies. As a prominent industrial player, the work towards improving manufacturing processes is constant and ambitious. Now, SKF is looking for solutions to extract and analyze more data from the grinding spindle to optimize the metal grinding process further, reduce scrap loss and rework, and increase overall equipment efficiency.

Opportunity overview

Grinding is a widely used chip removal process for machining workpieces at high speeds to measure dimensions and surface texture accurately. However, the efficiency of the grinding process depends on various factors, such as the force applied to the abrasive grain and the contact area. The chip removal will also require energy to overcome the material’s friction and shearing, which can be monitored as torque or power drawn from the grinding spindle. There are opportunities to optimize the grinding process further further to increase efficiency.

Touch detection methods are currently used, but they have limitations and can waste time and energy. For example, without touch detection, about 15-20% of the grinding cycle is wasted before contact. Even with power-based touch sensing, which is only suitable for certain grinding operations, the waste can be reduced by only about 60%. Similarly, intermittent contact between the workpiece and the grinding wheel due to workpiece distortion or imperfect roundness also poses challenges in optimizing the grinding process. To optimize the grinding process, SKF is now looking for solutions that extract more accurate information from the sensors installed in the machines, such as acoustic emission and power from the spindle drives.

Summary of requested solution

A way to measure and analyze the torque would enable SKF to optimize the grinding process further while in operation. This solution involves measuring the torque on the spindle head and surveying the shaft position data to correct any uneven grinding process. The grinding process can be optimized for each ring by measuring the torque, resulting in reduced scrap loss and rework, increased overall equipment efficiency, higher speed and output, and reduced production costs and energy use. Although a similar solution exists for magnetic spindles, this approach is needed for the thousands of mechanical spindles used for grinding.

Your opportunity with SKF

SKF is the world’s largest bearing manufacturer, with 17,000 distributors in 130 countries. As an industry leader, their offering has outstanding global potential for scaling your company’s solution. SKF constantly looks for innovative solution providers who can help make their offerings even more effective and decrease their carbon footprint. This opportunity is an excellent chance to share industry knowledge and provide you with valuable learnings, opening up further opportunities within the industry.

Examples we're looking for

Acoustic emissions

Acoustic emission can quantify the degree of contact (circumference and width). It can be used to understand the input quality of the workpieces, leading to a reduction in grinding waste.

Signal processing & conditioning

A central objective should be signal conditioning, as the grinding machine has many noise sources. Still, as many small edges do the cutting, much of the process information can be misinterpreted as noise.

Data analytic algorithms

An algorithm that can make sense of the collected torque data and provide a helpful tool for optimizing the manufacturing process can be the solution for extracting maximum value from the operations.

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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