Low friction has power

Globalization, increased competition, technology shifts, strict emission regulations – the traditional automotive industry is undergoing a rapid transformation. SKF is working closely with passenger carmakers to meet today’s wheel end performance demands, providing a wide range of technological innovations and products.

One of the key requirements for wheel bearings is the constant reduction in friction. This feature improves performance parameters and fuel economy, reduces energy absorption as well as emissions. Here’s how SKF is taking on this challenge.

Friction reduction has numerous benefits, both for vehicle performance as well as environmental impact:

Overall vehicle efficiency improvement:

– CO2 emission reduction

– Reduces fuel consumption

– Higher stiffness/friction ratio for better performance

– Increased bearing life

Low friction bearing features

Adjustments in ball set geometry and raceway positioning are just one of the low friction features applied to SKF bearings. These features are capable of reducing overall friction by 20% and more compared to traditional SKF modern bearing units.

According to the SKF Vehicle Environmental Performance Simulator (VEPS), based on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), a car with four SKF Low Friction Hub Bearing Units reduces CO2 by 0,3 g per km, that means nearly 100 kg of CO2 per year based on an annual mileage of 14 500 km.

High performance bearing seals

Seals are and will remain the main hub bearing unit performance differentiator.

The low friction solution is an SKF in-house developed cassette seal with an ABS encoder. It’s unique design and set-up can reduce friction by 22% compared to standard solutions:

– Optimized labyrinth design further reduces contamination entering the bearing;

– Radial lip optimizes interference and contact pressure distribution reducing friction.

This seal design can be found on the BMW 3-4-5-6-7 Series including 4WD (labyrinth seals and low friction seal grease) and the Daimler M-Class and G-Class (low friction flinger surface and low friction grease).

Low friction grease

This lubrication solution for hub bearing units (HBUs) reduces friction by as much as 9% compared to standard solutions, that means nearly 3 kg of CO2 per year.

It meets market needs to reduce friction in wheel bearing units, cutting both CO2 emissions, fuel consumption without compromising on bearing performance, service life, stiffness, sealing and false brinelling.

Currently used on applications such as the Volvo V40-XC40 – Geely C-Sedan and the Daimler M-Class and G-Class, the grease is tailored to meet hub bearing unit application needs, maximising the benefits of reduced friction and enhanced efficiency for all users.

Preload range reduction

SKF is continually looking for solutions to reduce CO2 out-put and improve vehicle efficiency. The recent preload range reduction applied to third generation bearings has resulted in a 10% reduction in friction.

These results have been achieved by reducing design tolerances as well as implementing production process adjustments without compromising the bearing life and performance.

For more information about the SKF low friction bearings, visit our website at www.vsm.skf.com or contact your local SKF representative.