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SNR and TraceParts: computer tools to communication tools
SNR was created in 1916 and its long-term success can be best explained by its continual search for innovation. SNR is the company that invented the ASB instrumented bearing (Active Sensor Bearing) which is used, in particular, to calculate the rotational speed of the wheels and whose renown is reputed across the globe.
The company has five production sites in France and six abroad. Its recent merger with the Japanese company, NTN, was aimed at situating the new group NTN SNR to be ranked third in the world of bearing suppliers, while specifically ensuring "geographic" growth of the activity, all the while highlighting production capacity in Europe.
"A rigorous selection process"
Selecting a bearing is not only the result of simple geometric criteria. In addition, many parameters come into play such as speed, force, or conditions of utilization.
In the mid-90s, the SNR company decided to develop a configuring CD-ROM, called « iCAT », in order to help its clients define the appropriate equipment with clear criteria.
Axel Rocher is the marketing manager for the industrial markets at SNR and he specified the objectives of this configurator to us: "Right from the start, iCAT made it possible to select a bearing from our line using a certain number of formula fields. Our customers could define geometric specifications and various technical constraints linked to the bearing's operational environment. iCAT also made it possible to find one of our products by simply inputting a competitor's reference number. But, in addition, we wanted to propose a graphic display of the bearing to users of this CD-ROM, and we lacked the expertise for that."
In order to attain this last objective and to generate a 2D electronic design for the selected equipment, SNR then called upon "Trace Software Group", whose expertise in terms of generating parametric designs was already well-known.
"This initial development is at the origin of the ongoing active partnership between SNR and TraceParts", Axel Rocher continued. "The team at Trace Software Group and the tools it implemented responded perfectly to our expectations. The company did not yet have the desire, and probably did not even have the idea, to become one of the main players as supplier to industrial component libraries. When this strategy was confirmed, and TraceParts was created, the partnership with SNR was naturally reinforced because generating our bearings in 3D in all CAD formats was a complementary service that we wanted to bring to our customers".
Today, the iCAT CD-ROM still exists but now the majority of users of SNR bearings go on the internet to make selections. The 3D models are accessible on the following websites: www.tracepartsonline.net and www.snr-bearings.com.
" iCAT " is accessible anywhere in the world. On the SNR website, we can find, like on the CD-ROM, a complete set of choices which leads to a rapid selection of components (inputting a competitor's reference number still works!) and to generating the part in the TraceParts environment. At the end of the selection, the site also proposes calculation utilities which permit, for example, to evaluate the life span of the bearing, to determine the factor of static security, or to describe the lubrication process which is advised for this specific part.
"TraceParts has been able to partner with us while respecting our choices; we continue to benefit from its technical expertise and we benefit today from its international reputation. The presence of our equipment product line in their online library is an important addition to our public presence and fits perfectly within the NTN SNR group's geographic growth strategy. It actually improves the visibility of our brand and our products in Europe and beyond. We know that the TraceParts site is utilized and appreciated by our major customers and we regularly observe that it is a popular resource for business users all over the world who would like to be part of that group" Axel Rocher concluded.
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