SKF: 'Intelligent' bearings monitor motion system status

Do you have a need for reliable monitoring and recording of the status of motion system components, for example: number of revolutions, speed, direction of rotation, relative position/counting, and acceleration or deceleration? If so, new Sensor-Bearing Units from SKF may be just what you’re seeking.

12/15/2004



Sensor-Bearing Units come in a wide range of dimensions and bore sizes. SKF can develop custom units for specific customer requirements.

Do you have a need for reliable monitoring and recording of the status of motion system components, for example: number of revolutions, speed, direction of rotation, relative position/counting, and acceleration or deceleration? If so, new Sensor-Bearing Units from SKF may be just what you’re seeking. These compact, patented "units" verify motion status of rotary or axial components running in open-loop or closed-loop motion control systems, and reportedly provide a cost-effective solution.

SKF Sensor-Bearing Units integrate one of the company’s Explorer class, single-row deep groove ball bearings with an SKF active sensor in a simple, lightweight but robust structure. The bearing performs all dynamic functions associated with ball bearings. The active sensor consists of three parts: a magnetized impulse ring attached to the bearing’s inner ring or race; sensor body with Hall-effect sensors carried by the outer ring; and connecting cable. Shielding is provided against external electromagnetic effects.

Operating principle of the bearing unit is the generation of a magnetic field of changing polarity as the impulse ring (and bearing inner race) rotates past the outer stationary sensor ring. Based on the number of polarity changes per second, an output pulse is produced by the sensor, which is transmitted via the connecting cable to generate the required application-specific information. Speeds down to zero can be recorded, says SKF.

Uniform, high signal quality; minimal electrical interference; and vibration and high temperature tolerance are among the unit’s other advantages. Typical Sensor-Bearing applications include electric motors, linear actuators, steering systems, conveying and handling systems, and automation equipment, among others. These bearing-based devices are said to be "viable alternatives to incremental encoders."

—Frank J. Bartos, executive editor, Control Engineering, fbartos@reedbusiness.com





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