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Application Engineering the AST Way

November 16, 2018 by Christine Berlly

At AST Bearings, one of the primary elements of our value proposition to customers is the ability to work on unique designs and applications. Our engineering group is a key factor behind the successful working relationships we’ve built with thousands of customers and we pride ourselves on an ability to provide cost-effective solutions to the most difficult engineering challenges.

We offer a wide range of bearings, so the first step is to conduct an analysis of the types of loads and speeds the bearings will encounter.  Types of load considerations include static, dynamic, radial, axial, moment, combined and others. This analysis will allow for selection of the proper bearing type that is most suitable for the application.

Next, we examine the available space, any size constraints that may exist and the method of assembling the mechanism or device, along with shaft and housing sizes. This analysis allows for the selection of one or more sizes that will fit in the defined envelope. The final size selection is based on performing a bearing life analysis for each part to determine the best choice yielding the required design life.

Gathering information about the design and performance requirements from the customer is critical to the success of the design. For example, in a corrosive environment, a stainless steel bearing would be selected. Or, if the bearings are run in a dirty or contaminated environment, we would specify seals for the bearing. We refer to this information as application inputs and these drive the selection of various bearing characteristics that enhance performance and or life.

Selecting the best product covers a range of possibilities. Our application engineering team evaluates a number of conditions to determine the optimal recommendation, such as:

  • Stack up tolerances
  • Material selections based upon the operating environment
  • Mating tolerances and materials
  • Proper bearing installation including appropriate tools
  • Expected life
  • Maintenance requirements
  • Need and impact of seals and shields on performance
  • Lubrication type selection
  • Lubrication quantity/fill amount
  • Re-lubrication method
  • Application of barrier film

We are especially adept at custom designs and we can move rapidly from prototypes to production. Our design philosophy involves a systematic and structured approach with emphasis on the initial validation and verification stages. These are carefully planned and executed, resulting in high reliability in the field.

AST’s design team is equipped with state-of-the-art tools and software, including a bearing analysis lab. Combined with our extensive industry experience, our technical team delivers innovative solutions with a can-do attitude. So, whether you are designing new equipment, re-designing or retrofitting existing equipment, or replacing old inefficient bearings in any application — AST has the engineering team to support you.

In addition to our dedicated engineering team, all of our salespeople have technical backgrounds in bearings and power transmission, and most have Engineering degrees. All of our people are trained to probe and ask questions about the application. The detailed information obtained is vital in determining the key design elements and choice of bearing. Completing an applications data sheet with the customer at the beginning of a project is a great way to get started in the right direction.

If you would like more applications about teaming up with AST for your application engineering needs, or would like to learn more about our value-added services, just click here to contact us for more information.


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