As part of the Schaeffler Global Technology Network, Schaeffler has been certified as a Schaeffler Technology Centre (STC).

STCs are local centres of technical expertise in different regions of the world. With highly qualified engineers and a defined range of services, this means Schaeffler is pursuing its target of offering the same high standards of customer support all over the world. Awarding the “Schaeffler Technology Centre” status is confirmation that, following a comprehensive audit, these demands are being met. 

Schaeffler sales staff and engineers in local Schaeffler Technology Centres form a team. In the regions, they bring Schaeffler’s engineering and service knowledge even closer to the customer and enable technical issues to be addressed in the most effective way possible and within an optimum timescale. Expert advice and support is available for all aspects of rolling bearing technology including application engineering, calculations, manufacturing processes, lubrication, mounting services, condition monitoring and installation consulting to deliver customised rolling bearing solutions to uniform standards throughout the world. Internal audits, regular training courses, workshops and follow-up audits ensure that Schaeffler Technology Centres achieve and maintain these high standards. Furthermore, STCs constantly share information and ideas across a worldwide network of experts within the Global Technology Network. If more in-depth specialist knowledge is required, these networks ensure qualified support is provided quickly – irrespective of where it is needed in the world.

Richard Hall, president industrial for Schaeffler UK commented: “It is with great pride that I received the certificate on behalf of Schaeffler UK. Our experienced in-house application engineers, supported by a qualified external sales team, will continue to provide jointly the technical support that our customers require, whatever industry sector they are in, and wherever in the world they are located.”

This technical collaboration between members of the Global Technology Network results in tangible benefits for Schaeffler customers. Customer projects that demonstrate definitive cost savings are clearly documented as Global Technology Solutions. The project documented below shows how optimum solutions are created based on customers’ requirements and how the Schaeffler Technology Centres play a key role in achieving this.

Global Technology Solution: Custom bearings for an offshore oil platform

In 2013, engineers from Schaeffler UK custom designed a set of maintenance-free spherical plain bearings to support a newly constructed process module extension column, which is fixed to the main offshore platform located in the North Sea.

The function of the bearings was to provide a flexible support between the mono column and main rig allowing for movement of the column caused by waves and tidal current relative to the main rig. The bearings, which have a bore diameter of one metre, are designed to transfer these loads from the column to the main rig.

After several meetings with the customer, it was decided that a unique design of bearing was required, which would offer both a very high level of reliability and zero maintenance. Schaeffler UK therefore proposed its ELGES spherical plain bearings. These were customised with additional seals and designed with an extra sliding layer in the bore.

In order to ensure that the installation of the bearings could proceed without difficulty under the challenging and constricted conditions present on an offshore platform, an installation trial was carried out. This was performed by two fitters from Schaeffler and allowed important details and the special tools required for offshore installation to be included in the work planning. Due to Schaeffler’s Global Technology Network, the service personnel were well prepared, having been brought into the project planning and implementation process at an early stage by the sales and application engineering functions. The customer was so impressed by the professional skills displayed during the installation trial that he requested a Schaeffler fitter be present when the preliminary work was carried out on the platform, in order to support the other companies involved and to monitor their work operations.

This was a first for the oil and gas sector – the first project in which a process module extension column of this type is supported by bearings. The customer deemed the bearings to be a high priority on this project, as their function is absolutely critical in supporting the extension column.