Development of a Feeding Chute for Lapping of Silicon Nitride Balls In Collaboration with AB SKF

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Master's Thesis
Product development (MPPDE), MSc
Oldeaus, Olov
Khona, Pranay
Driven by the increasing demand for electric vehicles and sustainable energy pro duction, the manufacturing industry anticipates significant growth in the market for hybrid bearings using silicon nitride bearing balls. This material is sought after for its durability, low density, and resistance to corrosion. However, the high production cost represents a major obstacle to widespread adoption. Consequently, this mas ter’s thesis focused on addressing the challenges encountered in the production of silicon nitride balls for hybrid bearings, specifically in the realm of surface machining. This thesis addresses the limitations of the current lapping machine used by AB SKF, to improve its performance. By focusing on the importance of uniform ball feeding for productivity and efficiency, the objective is to analyze the capabilities and constraints of the machine. Additionally, innovative concepts for a feeding chute capable of handling large volumes of silicon nitride balls and ensuring their even distribution within the lapping grooves will be developed and evaluated through prototype production and testing. Feeding solutions for the lapping process was developed, following the process of establishing requirements, generation of concepts and evaluating them through var ious methods. As the solutions converged on a feeding chute, an agile product devel opment approach was used for rapid prototyping, testing and refinement. Through multiple short iterations, chute designs were tested and refined on a simulated setup. Based on this testing, final designs were then created. These involved two propos als for a chute design to be evaluated by future tests in the real lapping machine. Finally, recommendations on further development was included regarding further testing, manufacturing and material selection. Overall, this thesis project provides valuable insights into the design and develop ment of the feeding chute, emphasizing the significance of future research and testing in a realistic manufacturing environment to validate the proposed solutions.
Feeding, Lapping, Silicon Nitride, Chute, Ceramic Ball, Hybrid Bearings
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