Tribis Engineering, Inc. was founded by Robert Adams to address a career long frustration with tribological data for plane bearing materials. Before founding Tribis, Bob was an accomplished machine automation engineer. He focused on designing, building and installing custom production machinery before retiring in 2008 from his senior leadership position at Welker Bearing Company. He is currently completing his doctorate in mechanical engineering focused on tribology.
Precision, reliability, durability and minimal (no) maintenance are essential attributes for successful production machinery designs. Bob’s entry into tribology was driven by the need to minimize or eliminate maintenance while ensuring long service life for his machine designs. Naturally, bearings became a focal point, especially non-lubricated bearings to eliminate routine maintenance needs. Of course, the best performing machine would demand the best choice of bearing material.
The pervasive dearth of bearing material performance data (i.e., PV wear and friction data) was a constant frustration. Bob was almost always limited to the “PV Limit” data normally provided by bearing material vendors. Rarely, however, did this PV Limit information have any direct relationship to the target application’s pressure and velocity demands. Since PV Limit data provides no insight into how different materials behave differently across a range of PVs, choosing the optimal bearing material was essentially a shot in the dark. Experience with the high cost and long timeframes associated with commissioning tests at specific PV’s was far from satisfying. He envisioned a day when wide ranging PV wear and friction data was readily available to application engineers. Armed with wide ranging data, engineers could differentiate between bearing materials and make more robust decisions without having to undertake unique one-off tests.
Bob’s doctoral research was focused on characterizing plane bearing materials’ PV friction and wear performance profiles. Testing across wide ranging PV parameters was required to develop the mathematical models characterizing different patterns of PV performance. Unfortunately, conducting the needed tests with even the most modern tribometers could have taken Bob deep into his “golden years.”
A solution for the time and cost associated with attaining multiple PV tests had to be found. Bob applied his considerable machine and automation talents to develop a tribometer that could dramatically shrink the time required to attain reliable PV wear and friction test results. The creation of Tribis’ TS-01D was the result of this challenge. It incorporates a state of the art, ultra-sensitive in-situ measurement system coupled with proprietary machine automation and control logic. The prototype for this machine was used successfully in Bob’s research, usually completing up to 100 PV test parameters within a 24 hour period.
Tribis has utilized the TS-01D to perform tests for some significant plane bearing material suppliers. These customers have been extremely satisfied with the test results delivered in very short timeframes. Based on this response, Tribis will be expanding its customer base as it develops additional testing configuration options for the TS-01D to support additional testing modes and lubricant related tests, as well as expanding the tester portfolio beyond the TS-01D.