Richard Childress Racing Looks to SKF for Reduced Bearing Friction
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Richard Childress Racing Looks to SKF for Reduced Bearing Friction

With the start of its sponsor and technical relationship with Richard Childress Racing (RCR) in 2005, SKF had one immediate goal – assist RCR in the development of technology to enhance on-track performance.

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With the start of its sponsor and technical relationship with Richard Childress Racing (RCR) in 2005, SKF had one immediate goal – assist RCR in the development of technology to enhance on-track performance. Not only has SKF been successful in accomplishing this goal, the company also continues to enhance its aftermarket products with knowledge gained in its work with RCR.

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RCR recently asked SKF engineers to develop ways to reduce the friction among bearings in the drive train of its racecars. SKF engineers from around the world and from its various divisions – Automotive, Heavy Duty, Industrial and Aerospace – collaborated to offer just the right bearing arrangement for the specified scenario. By using the correct type of SKF bearings and specifying clearance classifications and fitting practices, RCR reduced parasitic binding of bearings at elevated racing temperatures.

“As components grow with temperature; the loads, clearances and fits change,” said Ken Fegely, Business Engineer; Racing and Engineering Services, SKF. “With the system comprised of complex geometries, different materials, varying temperatures and extreme loading conditions, not everything expanded at the same rate. We evaluated the entire system and developed a bearing arrangement to accommodate the changing conditions and optimize the drive train’s performance.”

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Not only did SKF’s bearing arrangement gain RCR seconds on the track and contribute to Jeff Burton’s season-opening Pole Position in Daytona and Kevin Harvick’s victory in Phoenix, but it also translated into increased bearing performance for today’s over-the-road vehicles. SKF applied this knowledge to aftermarket products to decrease bearing friction, create cooler temperatures within bearings, provide better lubrication information and improve a vehicle’s gas mileage.

“Ultimately, we’ve created more reliable and cost effective bearings,” added Fegely. “An end-user’s vehicle is indirectly affected by the improved bearing – increased gas mileage and longer service intervals. We continue to work with RCR to research new technologies so that technicians may perform the best vehicle maintenance possible for their customers and RCR may continue to race to victory lane.”

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For more information on SKF’s official technical partnership with Richard Childress Racing and how it continues to contribute to aftermarket products, visit www.vsm.skf.com.

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