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A solution to increase

reliability and machine uptime

INSOCOAT electrically insulated rolling bearings
Prevention of
electrical erosion
in bearings
Whenever an electric current passes through roll- With its latest generation of insulated bearings, SKF
ing bearings, there is a potential threat to the relia- has raised the performance standard. INSOCOAT
bility of your machines. Electrical erosion can dam- bearings offer high levels of reliability and uptime
age and degrade bearings in traction motors, for electrical applications, even in the most
electric motors and generators, leading to costly challenging environmental conditions.
downtime and unplanned maintenance.

2. Current leakage erosion 3. Lubricant degradation Why humidity matters

The impact of a process similar to electric arc welding,
concentrating a high current density If a current lows continuously through a Local high temperatures caused by Humid operating environments in
electrical erosion onto a small contact surface. This heats bearing in service in the form of arcs, electric current can cause the additives countries such as India and China
the material to temperatures ranging even at low intensity, the raceway in the lubricant to char or burn, result- present an additional challenge to
In recent years, demands on insulated from tempering to melting levels. It cre- surfaces are affected by the heat and ing in the additives being consumed insulated bearings. When bearings are
bearings used in electrical machinery ates discoloured areas, varying in size, erode as thousands of microcraters are more quickly. In case of grease lubrica- exposed to humidity, for example during
have increased. Higher motor speeds where the material has been tempered, formed, mostly on the rolling contact tion, the grease turns black and hard. storage, moisture can penetrate the
and greater use of variable frequency Influence of microcraters due to high frequency
re-hardened or melted and can form surfaces. These craters are closely current leakage erosion. Comparison between a
This rapid breakdown dramatically insulating material reducing the
drives mean that insulation needs to craters where material has melted. positioned to one another and are small ball with (left) and without (right) microcraters reduces grease and bearing service life. effectiveness of electrical insulation and
perform lawlessly if damage from in diameter compared to the damage shorten the service life of the bearing
electric currents is to be avoided. The from excessive current. itself.
insulations properties must also remain
Over time, as a secondary effect, this
stable regardless of environmental
will lead to lutes (washboarding) on the
conditions; this is a particular issue
raceways of rings and rollers. The extent
where bearings are stored and handled
of damage depends on several factors:
in humid climates.
type of bearing, bearing size, electrical
Electrical erosion harms bearings in regime, bearing load, speed and
three different ways: lubricant. In addition to bearing steel
surface damage, the lubricant close to
1. Excessive current erosion
the damage might be degraded,
When an electric current passes eventually resulting in poor lubricating
through a bearing from one ring to the conditions and ultimately surface
Fluting of the raceways is secondary damage most Cylindrical roller bearing outer ring with cage,
Ball bearing raceway with large spalls due to commonly attributed to the passage of damaging rollers and grease: current leakage resulted in
other via the rolling elements, it creates excessive current erosion distress and spalling. electrical current across the bearing burnt grease (black) on the cage bars

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INSOCOAT: protection against electrical erosion The INSOCOAT advantages

INSOCOAT bearings provided by SKF Global availability Improved machine reliability insulation, INSOCOAT bearings protect Easy to mount, ready to use
combat electrical erosion in a wide The most frequently used sizes and ECT AL R With INSOCOAT, bearing failures caused against electrical erosion at a signii- INSOCOAT bearings can be installed
range of conditions, including high variants of INSOCOAT bearings are EL E by stray electric currents are virtually cantly lower total cost of ownership. with standard methods and tooling, and

humidity. Sealed protective coatings on available from stock as single row deep eliminated, so machines are more are highly robust during transport and

the outer or inner rings integrate groove ball bearings and single row reliable and run longer. Increased machine uptime and handling.

insulating properties into the bearing. cylindrical roller bearings. Speciic reduced maintenance costs
They eliminate premature bearing customized ranges and products are Cost-effective protection against INSOCOAT bearings prolong machine
failures caused by stray electric current available on request. electric current damage life which results in longer maintenance
in applications including: Performance data, dimensional and INSOCOAT combines bearings and intervals.
Industrial electric motors insulation in a single solution.
running accuracy are identical to
Compared with shaft or housing
Traction motors non-insulated bearings (table 2).


High-quality coating Table 1

Choice of coatings
INSOCOAT bearings feature an INSOCOAT speciications, T 40 C, rH 60%
insulating layer of aluminium oxide Coated outer ring Coated inner ring
SKF speciication Breakdown Minimum electrical
applied by a sophisticated plasma spray designation sufix voltage resistance Bearings with an electrically insulating Bearings with an electrically insulating
process for outstanding quality, which coating on the external surfaces of the coating on the external surfaces of the
[V] DC [M]
provide the following beneits: outer ring are the most common inner ring provide enhanced protection
Resistance to common media used in Outer ring coating Inner ring coating
INSOCOAT types. They are: against electric current damage, as the
bearing applications Recommended for medium-sized smaller coated surface area offers
SKF standard layer
motors using bearing sizes with a higher impedance. They are:
Protection over a wide range of VL0241 VL2071 3 000 200
operating temperatures SKF advanced layer
bore diameter < 120 mm Recommended for larger-sized
VL0246 VL2076 3 000 400 Suitable for all housing types motors using bearing sizes with a
Minimum electrical resistance of 200
bore diameter > 120 mm
MOhm (table 1) Can be applied to bearings with an
outside diameter > 80 mm Can be applied to bearings with a
Tested to withstand voltages of 3 000
bore diameter > 70 mm
V DC (coatings that can handle higher Identiied by the sufixes VL0241 and
voltages can be quoted on request) VL0246 Identiied by the sufix VL2071 and
Protective sealant
Plasma spray coatings are normally Table 2
hygroscopic and therefore vulnerable to INSOCOAT bearing data
being penetrated by condensation.
Deep groove ball bearings and cylindrical roller bearings
INSOCOAT bearings are treated with a
unique sealant to protect against this
Dimension standards Boundary dimensions: ISO 15
Tolerances Normal, higher accuracy on request
Engineering support
Values: ISO 492, for additional information refer to SKF catalogues
SKF can provide you with the relevant
The aluminium oxide layer on the external surfaces of either the
electrical parameters for your bearings outer or the inner ring does not inluence the accuracy
so you can choose the best insulating
Internal clearance C3 as standard, check availability for other internal clearance classes
solution for your needs.
Values are valid for new bearings before mounting under zero
measuring load: ISO 5753-1, see SKF catalogues

Allowable misalignment Identical to the comparable standard bearings INSOCOAT deep groove ball bearing with outer INSOCOAT cylindrical roller bearing with inner
ring coating ring coating

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Customized solutions Diagram 2

Electrical capacitance as a function of bearing outer diameter

SKF can also supply INSOCOAT bearings with complex ring geometries,
large size bearings and bearing units. Electrical capacitance

INSOCOAT flanged tapered roller bearing with INSOCOAT traction motor bearing unit with inner INSOCOAT tapered roller bearing unit with outer 70 120 170 220 270 320 370
outer ring coating ring coating ring coating
VL0241 (outer ring coating) VL0246 (outer ring coating) Outer diameter [mm]
VL2071 (inner ring coating) VL2076 (inner ring coating)

The influence of How SKF measures electrical

electrical parameters parameters for INSOCOAT bearings
INSOCOAT bearings behave differently Valid ohmic resistance measurements Fig. 1 Fig. 2

in DC and AC electrical regimes. can only be obtained in controlled Electrical insulation measurement Electrical insulation measurement
environmental conditions, as the result principle for outer ring coated bearings principle for inner ring coated bearings
In DC applications, an INSOCOAT
can be inluenced by many different
bearing acts as a normal (pure ohmic) EQUATION 2: Electrical capacitance of
EQUATION 1: Electrical impedance of factors, such as humidity, cleanliness,
resistor. The aluminium oxide layer is an a plate capacitor.
an electrical capacitance in parallel to a temperature and contact surfaces.
insulator and, therefore, only ohmic
ohmic resistor. To increase the impedance of the Fig. 1 and ig. 2 show the measuring
resistance (R) of the layer is of
Equation 1 illustrates that with increas- bearing, the electrical capacitance of the principle for INSOCOAT bearings with
importance. The breakdown voltage of
ing frequency, the term incorporating coating should be kept as small as outer ring or inner ring coating, which is
the standard layer is stated as 3 000 V
the capacitance becomes stronger and possible. In practice, this means that an in line with real mounting conditions.
DC and the resistance is higher than
causes a decrease of the impedance. inner ring coating always has higher Therefore, the electrical parameters
200 M, providing eficient insulation of
impedance than an outer ring coating. described in table 1 are only valid in
the bearing. The electrical impedance in this case
The same is valid for the coating
In AC applications, especially at high depends on the ohmic resistance (R) of mounted conditions, a dry and clean
thickness. VL0246 has much higher environment, and relevant shaft and
frequencies provided by frequency- the resistor, on the capacitance (C), and
electrical impedance than VL0241 (dia- housing dimensions as described in the
converters, bearing behaviour is differ- on the frequency (f) of the applied
gram 2). general catalogue.
ent. An electrically insulating layer such voltage. The electrical capacitance
as the ceramic INSOCOAT coating layer (equation 2) of an INSOCOAT bearing
functions as a parallel connection of a depends on the size of the coated
resistor and a capacitor. Therefore, the surface area of the bearing (A), the
impedance (Z) must also be considered, thickness of the insulating coating (s),
as described in the equation 1 above: the coating material itself (r) and the
electrical permittivity (0, a material

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SKF and INSOCOAT are registered trademarks of the SKF Group.

SKF Group 2017

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extracts) unless prior written permission is granted. Every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy
of the information contained in this publication but no liability can be accepted for any loss or damage
whether direct, indirect or consequential arising out of the use of the information contained herein.
PUB BU/P2 17344 EN May 2017
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