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Hartford Technologies Blog

The Importance of Bearing Assemblies in Ensuring Automotive Safety

Posted: Oct 27, 2023 1:45:05 PM

Every time you buckle up, adjust your seat or even open up your car's trunk, you are relying on a crucial yet often overlooked component: bearing assemblies. While many bearings serve in the background of your vehicle's functions, they play a pivotal role in ensuring automotive safety. In the event of an accident, the performance of these bearings becomes a matter of life or death.

In this blog, we take you on a journey to explore bearing assemblies and how they maximize your safety within a vehicle.

We also looked at our process at Hartford Technologies and the attention we give to the production process to ensure each and every component meets exact quality based on industry standards.

Automotive Bearing Applications

Custom-bearing assemblies can be found throughout modern-day vehicles. There are many benefits to high-performance bearings like door lock mechanisms and steering columns. It's essential to use only high-quality materials and to adhere to a meticulous manufacturing process, using modern, state-of-the-art equipment, like CNC Swiss machines, which can minimize variability and produce precision parts quickly. 

Some automotive components, such as gas tank check balls which are designed to prevent the escape of gas in the event of a rollover, rely on precisely machined stainless steel balls for safe, dependable operation.. This is a vital safety feature that helps maintain the vehicle's stability during accidents, reducing the risk of injuries to occupants.

Collisions can deliver huge shock loads on all automotive subassemblies, yet the components within a vehicle are expected to withstand a significant amount of force in order to maintain the functionality of safety-critical systems. That is why the correct design, high-quality materials, and precise manufacturing used in bearing assemblies are essential. Without an operable bearing, crucial components could malfunction, compromising the overall structural integrity of the vehicle.

Critical Considerations for Automotive Bearing Assemblies

Design & Development Process 

Hartford Technologies follows established Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) processes when developing automotive assemblies like track roller bearings for seats. This ensures requirements are fully understood and every possible failure mode is considered before design work begins. 

Prototypes are tested thoroughly to validate performances. The manufacturing process is then carefully planned, developed, and fine-tuned to maintain the necessary consistency.

APQP reaches its final stage with the Production Part Approval Process (PPAP). This is where Hartford Technologies generates reports and studies that show the product developed will perform as needed. The last step is a verification run to demonstrate the ability to produce the required standard at the rate expected.

Automation: Manufacturing and Inspecting

Hartford Technologies' extensive use of automation in both the manufacturing and inspection processes are critical factors in ensuring the reliability and durability of bearing assemblies in automotive vehicles.

High-tech automation eliminates variability that can result from manual loading and operation, ensuring that each cycle and operation is performed consistently. This precision is crucial because even minor variations in bearing assembly production can have significant safety implications.

Often incorporating advanced camera systems, automation can play a pivotal role in verifying the quality of every component during inspections. In contrast, human inspection can introduce subjectivity and potential errors, compromising safety.

Automated inspection systems provide unmatched consistency and repeatability. This meticulous scrutiny is vital for certifying the quality of these components and contributing to the overall safety of vehicles and their occupants on the road.

Effective Quality Management

By standardizing working procedures and complying with industry standards, like ISO 9001 and IATF 16949, the chances of errors and differentiators are greatly reduced. Such consistency is essential because even slight deviations in bearing dimensions can jeopardize safety.

Adherence to these standards reflects a commitment to high-quality production. With continuous improvement in Quality Management Systems (QMS), manufacturers can ensure the production of reliable bearing assemblies, contributing to the overall safety of vehicles and their occupants.

About Hartford Technologies 

Hartford Technologies is a leading manufacturer of precision balls and bearings, many of which are used in today’s vehicles. Many of these components are safety-critical and have an impact on vehicle safety.

By considering application requirements, deploying automated processes, and utilizing a formal QMS, Hartford Technologies strives to incorporate safety into every component we make. To request a quote or speak with a member of our technical team about bearing assemblies for automotive parts, reach out to us today.