R A Rodriguez (UK) Ltd
A rich heritage in defence applications: for more than 40 years, R. A. Rodriguez worldwide has been providing full engineering support to military and aerospace companies. Indeed its bearing products are fitted to a huge range of military and aircraft applications including spacecraft. They are also used in many associated leading edge technologies such as optical sighting systems and laser range finding.
Thin Section Bearings
Central to its product programme is the extensive KAYDON® bearing range that includes REALI-SLIM® thin section bearings - ideal for applications where space is at a premium and weight needs to be minimised – they find homes in aircraft, including fighter jets, helicopters, UAVs, airlift, cargo and commercial; ground combat and security vehicles.
Military Turret Bearings
KAYDON® Wire Race bearings were originally designed for military turret applications, where space and weight are at a premium and corrosion resistance is essential. They consist of wire raceways inserted in lightweight support rings, allowing for a high load capacity and large diameter in a bearing that can be 60% lighter than one made entirely of steel.
Slewing Ring Bearings
Turntable bearings are also a KAYDON® speciality – there is a series to suit every need from light to extreme heavy duty and a REALI-SLIM® version of this range offers the benefits of small size and minimum weight.
The military and civilian applications for KAYDON® slewing ring bearings are extensive, applications include marine gun mounts and radars, and weaponry such as missile launchers.
Following KAYDON®’s acquisition of Avon Bearings, R. A. Rodriguez is now also responsible for the ‘local’ marketing of one of the world’s most comprehensive ranges of slewing ring and advanced custom bearings. These products are used in a range of industries but typically in systems for the renewable energy, medical, mining, construction as well as military sectors.
KAYDON® is now able to produce bearings with an outside diameter of over 6m using the most modern facilities and equipment in the industry. The company’s investment in flexible manufacturing also allows R. A. Rodriguez to supply small quantities at an economical price.
Custom Military Bearings
The success of equipment designed for use in special applications can often rest with one or a combination of bearing features and that’s where KAYDON® custom bearings score highly. Manufactured and tested to the highest quality standards, special attention is paid to balls, bearing raceway geometry, finish and retainer design resulting in optimum bearing performance.
All bearings are manufactured in facilities that are certified to AS9100B, ISO 9001:2008 and NADCAP standards and that hold specialised accreditations from leaders in the industry.
In recognition of its quality products and processes KAYDON® holds the prestigious Bell Helicopter Premier Supplier Award. Only AS9100 certified suppliers can qualify for this award and the winner must have maintained the consistent delivery of quality-assured products at a minimum frequency rate of 98%.
The helicopter sector is a prime market for the KAYDON® custom-engineering and performance critical bearings. Typical examples are rotor mast and swashplate bearings. The swashplate is a device that translates the pilot's commands via the helicopter flight controls into motion of the main rotor blades.
Precision and reliable performance are critical in all these applications and KAYDON® bearings provide both and also high load capacity in extreme environments, from hot desert to the icy darkness of space. Examples of the latter include the Hubble telescope, the international space station and three Mars Rovers, in which the bearings are heated to withstand temperatures below -100°C.
KAYDON® offers a wide range of catalogue and custom bearings for the aerospace/defence industry including ball, cylindrical, tapered and sleeve bearings. Most are available in various materials (52100, M50, 440C, 17-4PH) and with different coatings and can be customised to meet specific user requirements.
Complimenting the KAYDON® range, the Rodriguez own brand turntable bearings manufactured at its factory in Germany, are also supplied to the UK market. Two basic versions are available, the KDL series for light applications where high accuracy is not a pre-requisite and the KDM series that provides a higher order of performance for greater loads. Both are manufactured in high grade carbon steel or stainless steel and shipped pre-lubricated and ready for use.
Typical applications include cranes, aerial work platforms, gun turrets, radar pedestals, surveillance, scanner and materials handling equipment.
Considerable capital investment in the Rodriguez GmbH factory near Aachen in Germany has resulted in the company becoming one of Europe’s leading suppliers of bearings. In addition to turntable bearings, it also produces a range of transmission components including linear guideways, bearing housings, ballscrews and acmescrews.
KHK gears is another important product range for military and defence applications, an extensive range for which R. A. Rodriguez is now the European master distributor. This adds value to their offering to the defence and aerospace industries by ensuring greater availability of the 9000 stock items in the catalogue range, and greater flexibility through KHK’s gear modification service.