Design, testing and analysis of journal bearings for construction equipment

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH

Abstract: Grease-lubricated journal bearings present a common challenge for construction equipment manufacturers in the world. The common design methodology is based on empirical data and has worked very well historically because the market and governments have accepted that bearings in construction equipment need frequent lubrication and exchange of worn parts. Legal and market requirements will soon demand lower environmental impact and increased machine efficiency. These requirements call for better methods of designing grease lubricated journal bearings.The goal of the outlined work was to develop better design methods for grease lubricated journal-bearing design used in heavy-duty construction equipment machines, in order to prolong life and lubrication intervals.The research approach of the project can roughly be divided into three phases:1. Development of test apparatus and test methods for journal bearing studies.2. Bench tests of grease lubricated journal bearing design.3. Verification between bench tests and computer simulations.In the thesis the current state of the art in bearing design for construction equipment is discussed and summarized in the form of design guidelines. The suggested design steps are just a mean to get to the starting point of design. The simple guidelines do however serve a purpose when collected since most published bearing design guidelines are aimed at the bushing material or at continuously rotating bearings. The influence of housing, environment and load cases can not be ignored when designing a bearing. Long term field-testing and experience can not be replaced until better design criteria have been established.Paper A deals with the design of the bearing test apparatus that was built and evaluated. Comparisons between theoretical contact and contact elements in Finite Element program have been made and discussed in paper B. In paper C a replica technique for measuring wear of large field specimens was evaluated. A case study of bearing housing design was performed in paper D utilizing Finite Element program and then validated in paper E in the bearing test apparatus. The influence of grease groove design on bushing life was tested and evaluated in paper F. Wear simulation of a plain bushing has been performed with a Finite Element program and presented in paper G.

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