Rising Set of Applications Continues to Drive R&D in the Field of Instrumented Bearings

Proper analysis of bearings, the machine elements used to reduce friction between moving machine parts, is critical to efficient, reliable, consistent, and cost-effective running of a machine. Preventing damage to costly bearing through proper monitoring can not only enhance the productivity of machines by ensuring peak performance, but can also affect the bottom line performance of a production unit or larger operating system.

Use of instrumented bearings, also called smart bearings, is a method that can help manufacturers monitor bearings’ operations in a reliable and easy manner. Instrumented bearings are integrated with a variety of sensors to gather information about their surrounding environment, including temperature, speed, angular positions of different parts, vibration, level of debris, load, and other factors.

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Once data is gathered by integrated bearings, it is fed to a control unit that monitors the operation of the particular bearing. For instance, data gathered by instrumented bearings in industrial applications is often matched with advanced condition monitoring programs. These programs assess conditions such as temperature and vibration levels of bearings, which can be crucial in preventing bearing failures in industrial machines.

Global Market for Instrumented Bearings: Growth Prospects and Demand Dynamics

Instrumented bearings are used in a variety of industries, such as automotive, aerospace, defense, and numerous other industrial fields. The global market for these devices had a valuation of US$523.3 million in 2013, according to a report published by Transparency Market Research. The report also states that the market will grow at an 8.6% CAGR between 2014 and 2020 and rise to US$938.4 million by 2020.

The market is primarily driven by the flourishing market for automobiles across the globe and rapid industrialization in Asia Pacific. In automotive systems, electronic stability control and antilock braking systems are common application segments that use instrumented bearings.

Rising demand from Aerospace Industry Affecting Instrumented Bearings Market’s Development
The peculiar demand from the aerospace and defense industries for specialized bearings are also key driving forces for the global instrumented bearings market. Bearings used in the space industry must meet a broad range of specifications to work across a variety of application areas such as extreme-performance wheels, precise pointing mechanisms, machine elements with a long lifespan, and simpler devices where precision and performance may be a bit less difficult to achieve.

Design and development of aerospace crafts takes money, time, and higher-level technology as compared to the design and development of cars. Thus, a fault in elementary parts such as bearings can jeopardize the entire system. Due to understandable commercial reasons, the bearings in aerospace devices need to be designed with the intent of achieving high reliability, the potential to sustain loads induced from launch vibration without degradation or damage, and minimum inter-unit performance variability.

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The complexity of applications in the aerospace industry is a major driver for research and development into the field of instrumented bearings. As other industries develop and adopt more and more complex machineries, they demand additional data from instrumented bearings to closely monitor bearings functions and ensure optimal operation of the machine as a whole. As time advances, advancements in bearing technology, including maintenance tracking and data sharing, will continue to be researched for an increased set of novel applications.

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