Senior Engineer, SKF
Since 2007, Alessandro Fornero has been working at the SKF Automotive Development Centre (Business & Technology Park, Nieuwegein, The Netherland) where he now holds the position of Senior Simulation Engineer.
The reduction of power loss is currently one of the main drivers for the automotive industry. SKF, as one of the preferred bearing suppliers worldwide, is strongly involved in the development of low-friction solutions for its customers. In line with this vision a numerical methodology for the bearing optimization has been developed by the SKF Automotive Development Center, aimed to customize the bearing design (geometry, materials, lubrication) of any automotive subsystem minimizing the friction torque due to rolling resistance while keeping the other performances (life, stress, stiffness, and more) within specs.
This methodology is obtained by coupling modeFRONTIER with an SKF proprietary multi-body tool called SKF Bearing Beacon, which has been developed for the prediction of the bearing performance under load.
The high running speed of this software makes it particularly suitable for the co-simulation with modeFRONTIER and allows the user to manage up to 15-20 different input variables.
The large amount of simulation designs (up to 120000) that can be reached even on a standard laptop allow a sufficient coverage of the complete multi-dimensional response surface even in case of complex numerical problems (large assemblies), and to achieve effective and robust solutions with no need of virtual optimization. With extensive preliminary screenings (full factorial or random) it is usually possible to modify, re-set or exclude the input parameters that have a lower effect of the response, with the benefit of a more efficient usage of the algorithm during the optimization phase.
The method resulted in a 15-30% reduction of the simulated rolling friction of truck hub units and drive-shafts, with respect to the earlier design. Larger scale mechanical systems, like full transmissions or gearboxes can be optimized too, likely with a higher potential profit. The same procedure can also address different performance targets like weight reduction or life optimization.