SKF and University of Twente Open State-of-the-Art Technology Center in the Netherlands

SKF and the University of Twente are combining their research expertise to advance machinery performance and grease lubrication

SKF and the University of Twente have launched a dedicated SKF University Technology Center (UTC) for grease lubrication in rolling bearings. SFK, a Sweden-based company, and University of Twente, a Dutch knowledge institution, have collaborated for over 30 years. This new partnership and technology center will drive advances in an area crucial to rotating machinery performance: grease lubrication.

Advancing durable and sustainable machines

SKF Netherlands

Professor Piet Lugt, SKF’s Senior Scientist

UTC aims to understand how the environment affects the grease in its customers machines. By doing so, they can make machines run longer. Research studies will hone in on grease lubrication in roller bearing applications. Grease lubrication is one aspect of tribology, which is the science of interacting surfaces in relative motion and the study of friction, wear, lubrication and the design of bearings. Tribology is particularly important in today’s world because significant energy is lost to friction and sliding interfaces in mechanical components. To offer significant energy savings, we need to minimize the amount that is wasted.

Twente’s Professor Dik Schipper, who will act as UTC Director, says, “Research at the University of Twente in recent years has increased our understanding of the role of grease in bearings. With this knowledge we can reduce energy losses and increase the lifetime of grease lubricated contacts that contributes to a more sustainable society.”

Thirty years of collaboration between SKF and University of Twente in tribology has already helped improve wear models and identify the right grease for each application. The two organizations join their research efforts and share expertise to drive advances in an area crucial to rotating machinery performance. The cross-collaboration extends beyond the machines too. Professor Piet Lugt, SKF’s Senior Scientist, has been a part-time Professor at the University of Twente since 2011 and his teaching and research focus on bearing failure mechanisms and life prediction, two key areas which are central to helping bearing users to get a better performance from their machinery. Meanwhile, another professor from the University of Twente works at SKF one day a week to assist on the company’s research & development activities.

Strengthening the Netherlands’ high tech ecosystem

University of Twente

The Netherlands’ high tech systems and materials industry is rapidly growing and is fueled by world-class, open innovation research and development. The Dutch are known for fostering robust public-private partnerships and cutting-edge R&D opportunities, like the new UTC. The Netherlands’ high tech sector consists of more than 1,700 firms from smaller technology innovators to major multinationals, including Philips, Bosch, Boeing and ASML.

The Netherlands’ high tech industry excels in technologies such as robotics, quantum technology, 3D printing, automotive tech, high tech manufacturing, aerospace technology, semiconductor technology, photonics and nanotechnology. With this new partnership between SKF and University of Twente, the Netherlands continues to pioneer new technology to help solve global challenges.

Fueling the talent pipeline

SKF and University of Twente

In addition to advancing tribology, SFK and University of Twente are contributing to the Dutch approach to life-long learning through project-driven and program-based collaboration. The University of Twente provides SKF with a podium for tomorrow’s talent, while SKF can bring theory into practice with students attending the University of Twente. The partnership is rooted in its people and knowledge, and focuses on a long-term, sustainable relationship to develop innovative solutions for the future. To support this, the Netherlands has a high participation in life-long learning and the Dutch continue to grow workplace skills after completing formal education. The country boasts exceptional vocational training and is home to 14 universities, 34 higher professional education institutions and a variety of specialized training facilities. The top education system is also one of the reasons why the Netherlands ranks highly in Europe for digital skills and boasts the best English as a second-language skills in the world.

About SKF

SKF’s mission is to be the undisputed leader in the bearing business. SKF offers solutions around the rotating shaft, including bearings, seals, lubrication management, condition monitoring and maintenance services. SKF is represented in more than 130 countries and has around 17,000 distributor locations worldwide. Annual sales in 2019 were SEK 86 013 million and the number of employees was 43 360. ® SKF is a registered trademark of the SKF Group.

About University of Twente

Located in Enschede, the Netherlands, the University of Twente is the ultimate people-first university of technology. Its mission is to empower society through sustainable solutions. The University of Twente is a pioneer in fusing technology, science and engineering with social sciences to impact the world around us. Its driving force as students, scientists and educators is a deep sense of connection with people who share a curious, entrepreneurial spirit.

Source: University of Twente

7 October 2020

Get In Touch

Contact us