Technological and “tailor made” rolling BEARINGS

 

Author
Cinthya Piannell
RKB Bearing Industries – Department of Advanced Software Engineering

With a business model based on a vertically integrated organization, which goes from the provisioning of raw materials up to the after sales service, RKB Group intends to be a reference partner in the design, manufacture and supply of high added value bearings.

       RKB multiroll bearing for aluminum rolling mill, optimized for air-oil lubrication and automatic roll changing device

Over 70 years of history behind, more than 700 employees working in direct branches and in the various productive units, resulting in a diffused presence in more than 50 Countries in the world. These are the figures that identify RKB, important industrial Group headquartered in Balerna (Switzerland) and operating in the sector of the production of technological bearings with high added value, executions that find the widest application both in the original equipment market (OEM), and in spare part one (MRO).

«In our headquarters in Balerna – specifies Riccardo Dell’Aquila, business development manager – are concentrated all basic competences and the critical activities of our Group, from design to engineering, from research and development to quality control. A strategic choice that allows managing flexible procedures and protocols, targeted to the highest optimization of each job order, with great interdisciplinarity among all the technical roles involved in the product development process ».

An approach, this one, recognizable in the whole production and ascribable to the main families of rolling bearings (with balls or cylindrical tapered and spherical rollers), subdivided into the main segments of: miniature and small size precision ball bearings, up to 35 mm of inner diameter; standardized bearings up to an outer diameter of 1,925 mm; technological and optimized bearings for the specific application. «Even if there is a range of bearings defined “standard” – adds Dell’Aquila – our strong point undoubtedly resides in the constant technological upgrading accomplished, targeted to the full satisfaction of the qualitative and performance requisites coming from the market for specific “tailor made” applications». This is made possible not only by the significant R&D activity carried out (to whose department about 10% of the turnover is yearly destined), but also by the fact that RKB holds the complete control of the whole production chain, starting from the provisioning of raw materials, with a productive capacity that exceeds 350 tons of steel machined every month, able to face the various market demands. «Market that by 20% of our turnover – adds Dell’Aquila – is intended for Italy, while the remaining part can be subdivided among the Old Continent and key areas especially in USA, Brazil, Taiwan and South-East Asia Countries. Historical markets, then, with the addition of rising Countries where there are margins of further growth».

A constant growth, despite the not so favourable general period, confirmed also for the current year.

A double-figure positive trend completed also by the imminent inauguration of a new productive site in China.

Product efficiency and quality

«The new productive factory MS Plant – specifies Andrea Fiore, technical team unit coordinator – develops on 4 floors for a total of about 8,000 square metres of surface. The expected production amounts to about 40 million pieces per year, and is focused on small/size rigid radial ball bearings, both in open and sealed version». We are talking about a new factory where around fifty productive lines operate, covering different phases of the component implementation, besides, naturally, the metrological room, equipped with the most advanced and updated measuring machines. «We start from the warehouse of incoming semi-finished parts – goes on Fiore – to pass then to the roughing area, where 20 continuous lines provide for the first phases of the mechanical machining. After that operation, the components undergo the critical phase of grinding and lapping, which is carried out on as many fully automated lines. Anderon meter tests, necessary to verify dimensionally the quality of the machining operations carried out, are directly in-line executed, with minimal human interventions to increase repeatability and reliability on big volumes. Components are then washed and automatically conveyed to the assembly and laser marking area, controlled in terms of temperature and cleanliness».

Sealed four-row tapered roller bearing for work rolls of hot stripping mill for flat products, with optimized profile, contact seals for contamination exclusion and grease lubrication, and phosphating treatment to increase the resistance to corrosion in aggressive environments

The human contribution becomes instead essential in the packaging and labelling area, where bearings are visually controlled the last time before being packaged in several types of boxes, labelled and stored in the automated warehouse of finished products. Each machining phase, finally, is automatically registered on the server to have full traceability on 100% of the production, in favour of a total quality. «Uncompromising quality – ends Andrea Fiore – and compliant with all international reference ISO 9001 and 14001 standards also in the new factory». Productive efficiency, prompt answers and uncompromising product quality that allow the Group to approach the world as a reference partner in the design, manufacture and supply of high added value bearings.