Precision Ball Bearing Analysis Using Portable CMM

Kaydon Corporation Precision Bearings in Sumter, South Carolina, produces high quality, large-diameter, ball bearings. The plant shown at the left produces bearings for the GE Wind Turbine industry, providing alternate wind energy solutions.

Wind energy has become very popular in recent times due to the “green” energy efforts as a result of the rising cost of oil and petroleum based resources. Wind farms generate clean, renewable, energy which augment the power grid, thus reducing the amount of fossil fuel electric generation required.

In order for a wind turbine to run at optimum output the generator housing pod must pivot smoothly with a change in wind direction to achieve maximum wind effect.

The large propeller must turn with little-to-no friction in order to capture low wind velocities at around 3 mph.

In order to ensure maximum efficiency from their turbines, Kaydon and GE hired BC Engineering and Design (BCED) to measure the accuracy of the bearing assemblies. Brian Christiano, P.E., owner and chief engineer, used the FARO® Platinum 10’ arm to measure the parallelism of the mounting surface to the individual races and the flatness of the mounting ring. The ogival form of the race was mapped at 45 degree angles through the entire 360 degree circumference.

Heat Treat Machine Alignment Using Portable CMM

In order to produce high quality precision ball bearings, the ball race must be heat treated and hardened to a consistent depth throughout the entire bearing face.

Engineers at BCED have worked with the engineers and technicians at Kaydon to align the heat treat machine to provide consistent results when hardening the ball track race. A tolerance of less than 0.020” was established as a baseline value. The mount table and induction coil track has been measured and adjusted to maintain a consistent distance from the product when mounted on the platform table (shown above).

By providing recurrent checks and adjustments after maintenance is performed on the machine, BCED engineers have been able to provide Kaydon personnel valuable alignment information to assist them in achieving