NTN-SNR wins Innovation Award

NTN-SNR have won an Innovation Award for its use of ceramic ball technology.

NTN-SNR used ceramic ball technology in this new wheel bearing to help achieve the required specification for the new Jaguar XE SV Project 8 bearing.

This technology has already been developed and tested in single seater race cars and 24 hour Le Mans race cars. The benefits of using this technology are weight savings of 210 grams per bearing, this 840-gram overall weight saving helps contribute to the performance of the Jaguar XE SV.

Ceramic ball bearings allow for better rigidity of the bearing when it is fitted to the vehicle. This extra rigidity helps reduce deformation of the bearing when the vehicle is being used on the race track.

The ceramic balls used in the bearing also generate far less friction than a normal steel ball. Allowing the bearing to rotate much easier, this lack of friction helps with both performance and fuel economy.

The weight savings, extra rigidity and reduced friction all help to improve the dynamics of the chassis, this is essential for a vehicle with a top speed of nearly 200mph.

These large diameter wheel bearings are cartridge-type bearings (Generation 1). This type of bearing is fitted using a press to push them into an aluminium knuckle. One of the main difficulties that NTN-SNR had to solve was the difference in expansion coefficients between the aluminium of the knuckle, the steel of the bearing, and the ceramic balls. The preload of the bearing was adjusted to obtain accurate compensation values and to check the integrity of the bearings under additional stresses on the test bench.

This rigorous testing has allowed NTN-SNR to be able to supply bearings with an expected lifetime of 280, 000 miles, as per the strict specifications requested by Jaguar.

All the major parts of the bearing are manufactured at NTN SNR’s production facility in Annecy, France. Once the bearing is assembled final checks are carried out at the R&D centre in Annecy.