An innovative application for additive manufacturing (AM) is emerging—using additive manufacturing to make bearings. Bowman International, a UK manufacturer of bearings and sintered components, recently announced a partnership with automation software specialists, AMFG. The partnership will help Bowman expand its additive manufacturing division, Bowman Additive Production, using AMFG’s AI-powered production automation software to oversee its production of bearings.
With over 40 years’ industry expertise, Bowman International has adopted additive manufacturing to revolutionize the manufacture of bearings, and help other companies do the same within their respective industries. With several HP and SLS systems at its disposal, it is also one of a handful of companies in Europe to have the latest HP Nylon PA11 material.
The AMFG partnership will help Bowman’s experienced team of engineers streamline its entire AM production process, for example using printability analyses to optimise digital CAD files for production.
Noted Jacob Turner, Head of Additive Production at Bowman International, “additive manufacturing is transforming the way bearings are manufactured, and we aim to continue to be at the forefront of innovating the production of bearings using AM. AMFG’s automation software will enable us to achieve this by significantly increasing the efficiency of our production processes.”
The bearings industry is facing an increase in demand for additive manufacturing, as the technology offers a cost-efficient way to produce complex components. Using the technology, Bowman has already been able to increase the load bearing capacity of its split bearings by up to 70%, and an increased working life of 500%.
Bowman International recently launched its patent pending ‘Rollertrain’ cage technology. “While additive manufacturing has traditionally been used for rapid prototyping, true innovation will be in component production,” said Jacob. “Our AM division is already taking steps to innovate the manufacturing process for bearings and components. Ensuring that our production processes are as efficient as possible, through automation, is a key part of this process.”
Bowman Additive Production