Slim bearings are used widely in aircrafts, robots, wind turbines, and industrial machineries, where their size and weight are very important for the performance of a system. The common materials of slim bearings for robots and industrial machineries are based on SAE52110 bearing steel, and special heat treatment and a super polishing process are used and adapted to improve the rolling contact fatigue (RCF) strength of bearings. The improvement in RCF strength, depending on contact stress, surface hardness, and the friction behavior before and after ultrasonic nanocrystalline surface modification (UNSM) treatment was validated. Simple analysis shows that these improvements can reduce the size and weight of slim bearings down to about 3.40–21.25% and 14.3–26.05%, respectively. Hence, this UNSM technology is an opportunity to implement cost-saving and energy consuming super-polishing, a heat treatment process, and to reduce the size and weight of slim bearings.
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