Is this the future of split roller bearings?

The split roller bearing was invented at the beginning of the 20th century and its design hasn’t changed much since then. Now, however, John Handley Bearings and Bowman have redesigned the entire bearing, producing a component that is said to offer the highest radial and axial capacities currently available and is being described as a ‘revolution in design’


s the name would suggest, the split roller bearing is a bearing that

is completely split to the shaft. Such bearings are mainly used in applications where replacing standard solid bearings requires expensive additional work, where the bearing location is trapped or access is limited. Using these, installation and inspection times are significantly less than solid bearings and they provide huge savings in production and maintenance. Split bearings are, in fact, a mainstay for a wide range of demanding industries such as the marine, mining and quarrying sectors. Their design, however, hasn’t really changed since their invention in 1907. Now, however, John Handley Bearings and Bowman have redesigned the entire bearing around the radial and axial bearing cages, unlocking previously impossible capacities. These new capacities allow JHB to replace the four separate series of existing split bearings with just one single series. The bearing was recently launched at the annual BearingNet show in Warsaw, Poland.

REDESIGNING THE CAGE Perhaps the most notable part of the JHB Split Bearing is the patent-pending Rollertrain cages which were recently ‘Highly Commended’ at the TCT Innovation Awards. JHB and Bowman have developed a design that allows much closer spacing of the cylindrical rollers compared to traditional designs, and in so doing have increased the radial capacity by 70% and the axial capacity by 1000% – significantly higher than any other split bearing, they explain. These results are achieved through the fact that the radial and bi- directional axial loads are, for the first

time, handled independently. The loads are accommodated by three independent sets of rolling elements handling three load directions, opening up a brand new dimension which makes the JHB Split Bearing the first split bearing to allow calculation of an axial L-10 life. It is the use of a bi-directional

axial cage that really makes the JHB Split Bearing a true innovation, the companies explain. Inserting an axial bearing either side of the free bearing converts it into a fixed bearing which allows the axial capacity to be increased by ten times that of any existing split bearing and the calculation of the L-10 life. This is said to enable a whole new dimension of design freedom for engineers that was not possible until now.

THE BENEFITS Alongside increased capacities and new technologies, the new bearing has been designed with ease of use, convenience, flexibility and customer service in mind. In addition, all components within the split bearing have been designed to be interchangeable between bearings within the same group. And, as not all applications are the

JHB and Bowman have developed a design that allows much closer spacing of the cylindrical rollers compared to traditional designs, and in so doing have increased the radial capacity by 70% and the axial capacity by 1000%

same and there is never a one-size- fits-all solution, Bowman Advanced Engineering is able to identify application requirements and carry out modifications to the core product easily. JHB holds a large stock profile of sizes across the split bearings range and is committed to all stock being available on a next-day delivery service within the UK. The JHB Split Bearing is said to do

everything traditional split bearings do, but it also adds value across the board – and adding value is the holy grail for engineering components.

IN PARTNERSHIP The JHB Split Bearing is the result of an extensive collaboration between various divisions within the Bowman Group. The JHB Split Bearing utilises additive manufacturing technologies within the bearing. Bowman Advanced Engineering was responsible for the design of the cages and seals, with Bowman Additive Production, the group’s 3D printing division, responsible for the manufacture of the components.

John Handley Bearings


Not only was a UK-based company experiencing bearing failures on the ten axles of its autoclave bogie wheel assembly every two to three weeks, but the failures of the deep groove ball bearings were resulting in damage to the surrounding housings and axles. So, the company got in touch with NSK which determined that the ingress of hard particulates

and moisture, combined with excessive load, was the root cause of the premature bearing failures. For the solution, the company recommended changing the bearings to its NSKHPS high-performance spherical roller bearings, which are designed to carry greater loads and operate at higher temperatures. By making the switch to NSKHPS bearings on the autoclave bogie wheel assembly, the need for ongoing maintenance has been totally eliminated and, in total, the customer has saved €138,382 in reduced bearing, maintenance and hardware costs.





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