5 years ago

MDA Technologies 1/2016

MDA Technologies 1/2016


MACHINE ELEMENTS “Our city has an unrivalled range of unique attractions that draw people from across the world and the much loved London Eye is one of the most recognizable.” Boris Johnson, Mayor of London “It is hard to believe that 15 years ago we conceived, designed, led a team of architects and engineers, and started a new company to create something that is now as much a part of London today as Tower Bridge or Big Ben. We are proud that the London Eye has become an integral part Winning plaudits have been required and the wheel would probably have worked out far less elegantly”, Chris Head is convinced. Up until today the two ball-and-socket joints have had the job of equalizing the micro movements caused by the wind, which would otherwise impact with full effect onto the comparatively rigid steel structure. Therefore they also take on a further important function for the London Eye. The bearings hold in place 15 years after its official opening on 9 th March 2000, I finally had the opportunity to go for a ride on the London Eye. And it is not only the view that gives me a good feeling, but also the feeling of safety which is guaranteed by using Schaeffler’s technology. And in order that they can still carry out their valuable work in years to come, the self-aligning roller bearings are regularly inspected by the experienced Schaeffler industrial service engineers. In this way the faultless and safe functioning of the self-aligning roller bearings can be guaranteed for many years to come. “We carry out these inspections every two years. For this our service team from Schweinfurt accesses the masts and of our culture as well as much loved symbol of London.” David Marks and Julia Barfield, Architects “The London Eye is a must for all visitors and it has given huge pleasure to our local community. I just can’t imagine the South Bank without it.” Kate Hoey, Labour Member of Parliament for Vauxhall “The London Eye shows what unbelievable engineers and mechanical engineering can achieve. And above all it is a great symbol for London and the many people here. I hope you shall head home later and say that engineering can also be fun.” Chris Head, Application Engineer at Schaeffler UK Link to visual insight then gets to the large-scale bearings through the hub. Endoscopic examinations of the running line and the roller bodies would show up any damages which occurred at an early stage”, Gerhard Halbig explains to me during my visit to the Schaeffler headquarters. On site, the service engineer removes samples of the lubricant, which are then examined in Schaeffler’s own laboratory, as well as in an independent laboratory for particles and worn abrasions. “From these results we can then quickly deduce whether wear and tear occurred or if everything is alright. But the best thing about it is that up until today we could not discover anything wrong. And that the bearing has been running now for 15 years without any problems, tells us that it should also be like this in years to come”, Gerhard Halbig tells me proudly. For constant follow-up, lubrication of the two main bearings is carried out from a central greasing pump, installed a few years ago by the operator. The ball-and-socket joints however are not included in this, as they require almost no maintenance at all and are only very occasionally greased manually by the operator during the regular maintenance works. Always the best solution In order to allow you a visual insight, I also recorded my visit to London. You will find the exciting video at the following link. Schaeffler has not just been an important and competent partner when we are interested in the development and production of large-scale bearings since London’s landmark for the 21 st century was built. “The London Eye is definitely one of our most cultured projects, which we carried out in co-operation with our colleagues in Holland and Germany. We allowed ourselves to be inspired by each other daily, and this is the difference Schaeffler makes. We work very closely with one another throughout our global network in order to give our customers the best possible solution. And we have already proved this on other projects”, explains Karen Preston, the Marketing Manager at Schaeffler. Thus for example at London’s Wembley Stadium arena, Schaeffler supplied the bearings to support the Wembley Arch. Another challenging project was the roof on Wimbledon‘s Center Court. The bearings installed there ensure that the roof can be closed in order to do enough to satisfy the typical British weather. “Whether now in oil, gas or wind energy, in the automotive sector or in heavy duty applications: We like to find the best solution for the customer in order that they can save time, money and resources. And not just the design of the bearings is decisive here but also the installation works, the maintenance and our many other services with which we support our customers”, Karen Preston tells me. A breath of engineering talent The wheel is still turning with a speed of 0.26 m/s. Gradually our gondola with number 32 on it however is reaching the level of riverbank. I enjoy my last view across the Thames in the direction of Westminster. For me the journey is over after 30 minutes, that is after one full revolution. Today I not only had the opportunity to get to know an attraction which played a key role in the transition from one millennium to the next and has become an important symbol for this British capital city, but above all I could experience a whiff of high-level engineering talent and how sophisticated and wellplanned bearing technology can contribute to the safety of such gigantic machines. Or as Karen Preston put it in closing: “I should be happy if young engineers would also have such visionary thoughts in future. I hope that young people –at Schaeffler too – will be inspired by such projects.” – There is nothing more to say to this. Photographs: Fotolia teaser 18 MDA Technologies 1/2016

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