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  1. What Is a Ball Bearing?

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    Often, we encounter the question, ‘What is a ball bearing?’ This seemingly simple query opens the door to a world of intricate engineering. In this article, we delve into the specifics of a ball bearing, exploring its structure, mechanism, and pivotal role in modern machinery. From its basic design to its critical function in reducing friction and wear in mechanical systems, we unravel why a ball bearing becomes essential in various industry applications.

    How Does a Ball Bearing Work?

    A ball bearing is a precision mechanical assembly that reduces friction and allows smooth motion between moving parts. It consists of an inner race attached to a rotating shaft, an outer race that encases it, and spherical balls rolling between the races.

    When there is a relative motion between the inner and outer races, the spherical balls roll to facilitate smooth movement, minimizing direct contact. This functionality helps reduce friction and evenly distributes loads, preventing concentrated wear on specific points.

    The rolling action of the balls, facilitated by precision manufacture and even spacing by a cage, is key to ensuring the durability and efficiency of the mechanism in various applications.

    Different Types of Ball Bearings

    The following are several common types of ball bearings, each designed to meet specific requirements:

    • Miniature bearings: These are small-sized bearings intended for applications with limited space and low load requirements. They are commonly used in precision instruments, small motors, and other devices where reduced size and weight are essential.
    • Extra-miniature bearings: These are smaller than standard miniature ball bearings designed for ultra-compact applications with limited space. They are utilized in specialized devices that demand the smallest possible components.
    • Flanged bearings: These ball bearings have an extended flange, or lip, on one side of the outer ring. This feature serves as a support and helps in axial positioning, making them suitable for applications requiring stability and precise alignment.
    • Thrust bearings: These are designed to manage axial loads, supporting forces that act parallel to the shaft’s direction. They employ rolling elements (balls or rollers) or sliding surfaces to facilitate smooth axial movement.
    • High-precision angular contact bearings: These specialized bearings manage precise rotational movements at specific contact angles. They are widely used in applications demanding tight tolerances and minimal deflection.

    Materials Used in Manufacturing Ball Bearings

    Manufacturing ball bearings involves selecting materials tailored to meet specific performance criteria such as load capacity, speed, durability, and corrosion resistance. For example, high-carbon chromium alloy steel components provide exceptional strength, whereas stainless steel bearings excel in corrosion resistance.

    There are also ceramic options — composed of silicon nitride or zirconia — popular for their high hardness and lightweight properties. Plastic can also be used to prioritize weight reduction and corrosion resistance. Another option is titanium materials, which are ideal in specialized applications due to their excellent strength-to-weight ratio.

    Applications of Ball Bearings Across Industries

    Ball bearings find wide-ranging uses across various industries. Some notable applications include:

    • Automotive: wheel hubs, transmissions, engines, and steering systems
    • Industrial machinery: conveyor systems, pumps, compressors, and electric motors
    • Aerospace: aircraft engines, landing gear, and control systems
    • Medical devices: dental drills, surgical instruments, and diagnostic devices
    • Construction and mining: heavy machinery, such as excavators, bulldozers, and cranes
    • Marine: ship propulsion systems, steering mechanisms, and other maritime equipment

    Ball Bearing Maintenance Tips for Optimal Performance

    Here are essential care and maintenance tips to enhance the performance and longevity of your ball-bearing components:

    Lubrication

    Regular lubrication reduces friction between bearing components, minimizing wear and maintaining long-term smooth, efficient performance. It is advisable to adhere to manufacturer guidelines when selecting the appropriate lubricant and ensure its application at the recommended intervals.

    Sealing

    Regular inspections of seals help identify any damage or wear and ensure prompt replacement. Re-sealing prevents dust, moisture, and other harmful contaminants from entering the bearing housing and internal components.

    Alignment

    Proper alignment of shafts and bearings prevents uneven loading and premature wear. Alignment checks help maintain optimal performance, reducing the risk of misalignment-related issues that could compromise the bearing’s efficiency.

    Routine Inspections

    Periodic inspections are a preventative measure that may reveal early wear, damage, or unusual sound indicators. When performed at scheduled times, these examinations enable maintenance staff to identify and address possible ball-bearing concerns before they escalate. This reduces the possibility of unexpected failures.

    SPB-USA: Your Trusted Source for High-Quality Ball Bearings

    If you’re looking for a trusted manufacturer of top-notch ball bearings, look no further than SPB-USA! Explore our range of precision miniature and medium-sized bearings, available in inch and metric dimensions and various materials. We are ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 14001 certified, ensuring that we meet the needs of OEM users and industrial distributors.

    Contact us to understand more about our EZO precision ball bearings, or request a quote to get started!

  2. Essential Bearing Tolerance Insights

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    Click to ExpandEssential Bearing Tolerance Insights

    Precision tolerance is essential in machinery and mechanical systems, particularly for the operation and performance of ball bearings. These small yet indispensable components ensure the smooth functioning of various industrial machinery. Therefore, engineers, designers, and manufacturers must understand the significance of bearing tolerance, as it directly affects system efficiency, durability, and performance.

    This article will delve into ball bearing tolerance and its significance in mechanical systems.

    What Is Bearing Tolerance?

    Bearing tolerance is the acceptable range of differences in a ball bearings dimensions and geometry. It establishes the permissible limits within which the key components can deviate from their specified measurements while maintaining the intended functionality. These include the ring diameters, ball size and shape, raceway curvature, and clearance between rolling elements and bearing surfaces.

    Tolerance is crucial in bearing manufacturing, ensuring consistency and precision in producing these critical components. The tolerance level directly affects the load capacity, rotational accuracy, friction, heat generation, and overall system performance. Furthermore, bearings manufactured with tighter tolerances exhibit minimal variation in dimensions. This results in improved load distribution, reduced frictional losses, and enhanced energy efficiency.

    Annular Bearings Engineers Committee (ABEC) Tolerance Ratings

    Established by the American Bearing Manufacturers Association (ABMA), the ABEC tolerance ratings provide a systematic framework to measure ball bearings precision and accuracy. They range from 1 to 9, with higher numbers indicating tighter tolerances and greater precision. They also provide reference points to help engineers, designers, and manufacturers select bearings for specific applications.

    The ABEC ratings consist of five main tolerance classes: ABEC 1, ABEC 3, ABEC 5, ABEC 7, and ABEC 9. Each category signifies a higher level of precision and tighter tolerance specifications than the previous one.

    • ABEC 1is a precision mechanical component that meets basic requirements.
    • ABEC 3offers an additional precision level with tighter tolerances regarding dimensional variations.
    • ABEC 7possesses smaller variances than ABEC 5, ensuring exceptional accuracy in dimension and geometry.
    • ABEC 9represents the highest precision level, with extremely tight tolerances allowing minimal dimensional variations.

    Specifications Based on ABEC Standards

    ABEC ratings primarily focus on dimensional tolerances and do not encompass other critical factors such as material quality, lubrication, or load capacity. Nevertheless, here is an overview of some specifications dictated based on ABEC standards:

    Inner Ring Diameter

    ABEC standards specify the allowable range of inner ring diameters for ball bearings. For example, in ABEC 1, the inner ring diameter may have a tolerance range of ±0.0254 mm (±0.001 in.). Meanwhile, the tolerance range could be as tight as ±0.0051 mm (±0.0002 in.) in ABEC 7. These specifications ensure consistent dimensions and proper fit of the inner ring within the bearing assembly.

    Outer Ring Diameter

    Like the inner ring, ABEC provides specifications for the outer ring diameter of ball bearings. For instance, the tolerance range for the outer ring diameter may be around ±0.0508 mm (±0.002 in.) in ABEC 3. In ABEC 9, it could be as precise as ±0.0076 mm (±0.0003 in.).

    Raceway Curvature

    The curvature must meet specific requirements to ensure proper contact between the balls and raceways, minimizing friction and facilitating smooth rolling motion. The exact tolerances for raceway curvature vary depending on the ABEC class. Lower classes,such as ABEC 1,may have relatively looser tolerances for raceway curvature. As the class increases, the tolerances become stricter and more precise.

    Clearance

    ABEC standards address the clearance between the rolling elements (balls) and the bearing surfaces (raceways). The specified clearance values ensure appropriate space for lubrication and account for thermal expansion while maintaining proper load distribution and performance. Like the raceway curvature, the clearance requirements become stricter as the ABEC class increases.

    Trust SPB-USA for Top-Notch Bearing Solutions!

    SPB-USA is a leading manufacturer of precision bearings renowned for their superior performance! With a wide range of sizes and load capacities, our products are tailored to meet the diverse demands of various industries. Moreover, our unwavering commitment to quality and dependability is evident through our prestigious ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 14001 certifications.

    Contact us today to discover more about our products and services! You can also request a quote now.

  3. How To Use Miniature Ball Bearings

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    Click to ExpandHow To Use Miniature Ball Bearings

    Miniature ball bearings are small components designed to operate in applications requiring compactness and precise rotational motion. They are characterized by their small outer diameter, ranging from millimeters to a few centimeters, although specific configurations may vary. They also offer low friction, high-speed capability, and high durability.

    Here are the general instructions on how to effectively use miniature ball bearings:

    1. Bearing Selection

    Miniature bearings are available in various sizes, typically measured by their outer diameter, inner diameter, and width. Determine the appropriate bearing size based on the available space and the applications shaft or housing dimensions. Moreover, assess the load requirements, both in terms of magnitude and direction. Consider whether it will primarily handle radial, axial, or combination loads.

    2. Mounting and Installation

    Before installation, ensure that the shaft or the housing seats are dirt-free. Cleaning the surfaces helps prevent contamination and provides a proper fit. Then, carefully fit the ball bearing onto the shaft and ensure it is aligned correctly. Poor alignment can cause increased friction, premature wear, and compromised performance.

    Use suitable tools for the installation process to avoid bearing damage. Depending on the specific requirements, pullers, presses, or other appropriate equipment may be necessary. It is also crucial to adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions, including torque specifications, recommended tools, and specific installation procedures.

    3. Lubrication

    Proper lubrication helps reduce friction between the bearing components, minimizes wear, dissipates heat, and protects against corrosion. It ensures smooth rotation and prolongs the material’s service life. Some bearings also feature lubrication holes or grooves in the inner or outer ring. These provide direct access points to inject the lubricant.

    In addition, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding the recommended lubricant volume.Excess grease can cause greater friction, overheating, and seal damage. On the other hand, inadequate lubrication can lead to premature wear and decreased performance.

    4. Axial and Radial Clearance Adjustment

    Axial clearance is the amount of free axial movement between the bearing’s inner and outer ring. Meanwhile, radial clearance is the space or gap between the rolling elements and the raceways in the radial direction. The goal of clearance adjustment is to find the right balance between minimizing play and ensuring smooth rotation without generating excessive tightness.

    5. Proper Handling

    When handling miniature ball bearings, it is important to prevent contamination by avoiding direct contact between the surfaces and bare hands. The natural oils, dirt, or sweat on the skin can contain contaminants that may affect the bearing’s performance. Dropping the components can also lead to deformation, surface damage, or misalignment of the internal parts.

    6. Monitoring and Maintenance

    It is important to regularly monitor the ball bearing’s performance. This involves observing and assessing noise, vibration, and heat generation during operation. Unusual and excessive noise or heat can indicate potential issues, such as misalignment, wear, or inadequate lubrication. Regular inspections also help detect problems early and allow for timely maintenance or replacement.

    Always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines and specifications for monitoring and maintenance. They provide valuable insights specific to the products. This includes recommended inspection intervals, cleaning procedures, lubrication requirements, and other maintenance considerations.

    Rely on SPB-USA for Premium-Quality Bearings!

    SPB-USA is a trusted and industry-leading manufacturer of precision bearings, recognized for delivering superior performance in various applications.Our extensive product range is meticulously designed to cater to the demands of diverse industries, including automotive, aerospace, industrial machinery, and robotics.

    Contact us today to learn more about our products and services! You can also request a quote now.

  4. Applications for Thrust Bearings

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    Thrust bearings are rotary bearings intended to withstand axial loads while preventing motion in a specific direction. They are critical components in heavy equipment with high loads and speeds to ensure efficient and dependable operation. These units are also available in various materials and can be customized for specific applications.

    This article will take a closer look at how thrust bearings work and their different industrial applications.

    How Thrust Bearings Work

    Also called axial bearings, thrust bearings are composed of two flat surfaces (flat washers or a pair of thrust plates) separated by rolling elements (balls or rollers). These elements enable smooth movement while also reducing friction between the two surfaces. They also work by providing a layer to guide and support axial loads.

    After an axial load is applied to one of the surfaces, the rolling elements distribute it evenly across the bearing’s surface area. This allows for smooth rotation while reducing the risk of wear and tear on the surrounding parts. In addition, these components are often made from ceramic and various metals to meet specific requirements for strength, durability, and corrosion resistance.

    Industrial Uses of Thrust Bearings

    Generally, bearings are an essential part of many industrial processes that rely on efficient and reliable operation due to their efficient structure and versatility. The following are some of the most common applications of axial bearings:

    Manufacturing Equipment

    Axial bearings support the loads generated by manufacturing equipment, such as extruders, mixers, and stamping machines. For example, extruders and mixers have components to support the heavy forces generated by the screws, barrels, blades, or impellers that process the raw materials. The bearings also ensure that the punch moves in a linear direction and is not deflected by the force of the stamping.

    Pumps and Compressors

    As axial movement can cause excessive wear and tear, bearings are used in centrifugal pumps to hold the impeller in position. They also aid the absorption of high axial loads generated by the piston or diaphragm in other pumps and compressors.

    Another industrial application is gas and steam turbines, often found in power generation facilities. They help the rotors operate smoothly and efficiently while decreasing maintenance costs and machine failure.

    Automotive and Aerospace Components

    Axial bearings are used in automotive transmissions to control the loads between the ring and pinion gears in differential gears. In the aerospace industry, they support the loads from the propellers, turbines, and other rotating components of airplane engines. Additionally, they are utilized in aircraft landing gear assemblies for takeoff and landing.

    Marine Applications

    An essential component of propeller shafts in the marine industry, axial bearings are designed to endure harsh marine environments. These include saltwater exposure, high pressure, and varying temperatures. They also help to reduce the strain on the propeller shaft and improve its efficiency, ensuring the vessel’s reliable and smooth operation.

    Propeller shafts are also vulnerable to external forces, which can cause misalignment between the shaft and the engine, resulting in costly repairs and downtime. The axial components are often designed to be self-aligning to address this issue. This means they can tolerate some misalignment without causing damage to any unit.

    Mining and Construction

    Since heavy equipment is often utilized to extract and transport materials in mining and construction, axial bearings are crucial in these industries. They are especially useful in conveyor systems, where they support the weight of the belt and the materials being transported. They are also employed in crushers to help stabilize the main shaft, which is in charge of crushing hard rocks or materials.

    Partner With SPB-USA for Your High-Quality Thrust Bearings

    SPB-USA has over 50 years of experience delivering high-precision miniature and medium-sized bearings for various industrial uses! Our thrust ball bearings are offered with or without raceways and are available in different sizes and load ratings to cater to specific application requirements. We are also certified in ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 14001, ensuring that our products meet the highest standards.

    Trust SPB-USA for all your bearing needs! Contact us today to learn more about our products, or request a quote now.

  5. Key Considerations With Radial Ball Bearings

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    Radial ball bearings are rolling-element bearings that support loads and reduce friction between shafts and stationary components in mechanical applications. They are made up of two rings (inner and outer) that are connected by a cage that holds the balls in place. This allows them to rotate freely within the bearing.

    These bearings are known for their versatility, durability, and high radial load capacity, making them popular in diverse automotive, aerospace, and manufacturing industries. However, selecting the proper bearing for a certain application necessitates careful consideration of various factors. The following are essential parameters to be aware of when it comes to this bearing type:

    1. Load Direction, Type, and Magnitude

    The load-carrying capacity of the bearing changes depending on whether the load is applied axially, radially, or a combination of both. For instance, radial loads act perpendicular to the shaft’s axis, whereas axial loads act parallel. Therefore, it is critical to select a bearing that can withstand the exact direction of the load.

    Radial ball bearings can be subjected to two types of loads: static and dynamic. Static loads are applied to the bearing at rest, while dynamic loads are exerted in motion. Choosing a bearing that can tolerate certain loads is essential, as dynamic loads expose the component to greater pressures. This will also increase their risk of breaking prematurely.

    Another crucial factor is the magnitude of the load, as the bearing’s load-carrying capacity must be greater than the maximum load it would face. Therefore, selecting a radial component with insufficient load capacity might result in premature failure and expensive downtime.

    2. Inner or Outer Ring Rotation

    Another important factor when choosing a ball bearing is whether the inner or outer ring will rotate during operation. When the inner ring rotates, a sliding motion is created between the rolling elements and the raceway. This sliding motion generates heat, which can cause the component to wear prematurely and fail.

    Conversely, when the outer ring rotates, it creates a rolling motion between the rolling elements and the raceway. This motion generates less heat and friction, making it excellent for high-speed, heavy-load applications. However, outer ring rotation might cause misalignment and vibration, potentially leading to component failure.

    3. Bearing Size and Type

    Bearing size refers to its internal and external dimensions, which should be chosen depending on the application’s specific needs. On the other hand, bearing type is the particular design of the component, such as deep groove, angular contact, or thrust. This can affect its load-carrying capacity, speed, and ability to bear radial or axial loads.

    4. Fit Tolerances of Mating Components

    Fit tolerance refers to the tightness between the bearing and the other parts, and it can affect weight-carrying capacity, speed capabilities, and performance. For example, an interference fit, which involves pressing the bearing into its housing or onto its shaft, can increase its load-carrying capacity. Contrarily, a clearance fit — where there is a gap between the components — can limit the bearing’s maximum load.

    5. Operating Temperature

    When the operating temperature of radial ball bearings is high, it can cause the components to expand thermally. This expansion can change the clearance or preload, leading to quick wear and failure. The choice of material is also critical because different materials have varying temperature limits. Therefore, choosing one that can perform optimally under the required operating temperature is important.

    6. Running Accuracy

    Running accuracy is the ball bearing’s ability to maintain precise dimensional and rotational tolerances, which can impact its performance, speed, and durability. It is often influenced by the manufacturing process, design, and material selection. For example, high-precision bearings are required for applications that demand tight dimensional and rotational tolerances, such as machine tools and aerospace equipment.

    Partner With SPB-USA/EZO for High-Quality Bearings

    SPB-USA is a top-rated manufacturer of precision bearings, offering an array of sizes and load capacities to meet the demands of diverse applications! Our commitment to quality and dependability is evident in our ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 14001 certifications. These accreditations ensure our products adhere to strict standards for quality, environmental management, and customer satisfaction.

    Contact us today to learn more about our products and services, or browse our catalog. You can also get a quote from us to begin your next project!

  6. What To Look For With Flanged Bearings

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    Flanged bearings are essential in operating a wide range of machinery and equipment, including motors, pumps, fans, conveyors, and more. They are designed to withstand axial and radial loads, which is beneficial for applications where the shaft axis is perpendicular to the mounting surface. Moreover, they contribute to equipment’s longevity and smooth functioning as they can support heavy loads.

    When selecting flanged bearings, it is vital to consider key elements to ensure that you have the appropriate component for your needs. The following factors should be taken into consideration when making your decision:

    1. Material

    It is critical to select bearings made of materials compatible with your application because they can affect overall performance and durability. Several factors — operating temperature, exposure to corrosive substances, load requirements, and more — play a role in determining the best material for a specific purpose.

    For example, stainless steel is the best metal for corrosive environments. Meanwhile, cast iron is an excellent choice for high-load applications, as it is extremely strong and durable. It is also important to note that most components are not made from a single material. Therefore, you must determine which combination works best for you.

    2. Load Capacity

    Load capacity refers to the maximum load a bearing can withstand without failing. It is typically determined by various attributes, such as the size, material, and design of the bearing. Before selecting a flanged bearing, you must identify your application’s anticipated radial and axial loads. This information can be obtained from the manufacturer or by using engineering calculations.

    3. Size

    The size of the flanged bearing determines the load capacity and the shaft size it can support. Therefore, check whether or not the bearing size matches the shaft and mounting dimensions. It is also recommended to consider the clearances between all parts and components to ensure that everything operates smoothly without excessive wear.

    4. Sealing

    Flanged bearings are available in two main types: open and sealed. Every kind of sealing offers distinct advantages and disadvantages, making it important to choose the right type for your application.

    Open Bearings

    Open bearings are the most economical option and do not have seals or covers to protect against contamination. However, they do require regular lubrication to keep them functioning properly. They are also susceptible to contamination from dirt, dust, and other particles that can reduce their lifespan.

    Sealed Bearings

    Sealed bearings have seals or covers that protect against contamination and require less maintenance. They are more expensive than open bearings but provide better protection against contamination and typically have a longer lifespan. There are various types of sealed bearings, including contact seals, non-contact seals, and labyrinth seals.

    5. Lubrication

    Proper lubrication is crucial for the performance and longevity of flanged bearings, as it helps to reduce friction, minimize heat generation, and prevent contamination. They can be lubricated in various ways, including grease, oil, and a combination of the two.

    Grease lubrication is a convenient and economical option, providing a long-lasting lubricating film that reduces the need for frequent re-lubrication. On the other hand, oil lubrication offers better cooling and is recommended for high-speed applications.

    6. Speed

    Flanged bearings operate at specific speeds, making it critical to select the appropriate speed rating for your application. When a bearing operates at speeds faster than its rated velocity, it generates excessive heat, shortening its lifespan and potentially leading to failure. Meanwhile, if it runs at bandwidths lower than its rated speed, it may not provide the required performance.

    Choose SPB-USA for Premium Bearings for Your Application

    If you are looking for high-quality bearings for your machinery and equipment, look no further than SPB-USA! With over 50 years of experience, we are a trusted and reliable source for precision miniature and medium-sized bearings. We are also certified in ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 14001, ensuring our commitment to delivering products of the highest standards.

    Contact us today to find out more about our products and services! You can also request a quote to begin your next project with us.

  7. What You Need To Know About Stainless Steel Ball Bearings

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    Ball bearings are essential components in numerous mechanical systems and machines as they facilitate seamless and effective rotation of moving parts. Stainless steel is an excellent option for ball bearings because it can resist rust and corrosion. As a result, it becomes especially valuable in applications where contact with harsh chemicals or moisture is likely to occur.

    This article will explore the mechanical properties of stainless steel ball bearings and the benefits that come along with them. We will also discuss the different types of these bearings and their applications.

    Mechanical Properties of Stainless Steel Bearings

    Stainless steel ball bearings possess various desirable mechanical properties, making them popular for multiple applications. One of the most notable properties is their high corrosion resistance, which allows them to perform well in environments prone to chemical exposure or moisture. This is due to the presence of chromium in the alloy, forming a protective oxide layer on the surface of the bearing.

    The ball bearings can be utilized intermittently in temperatures of up to 250–300 °C. This is applicable as long as they are accompanied by a stainless steel cage and a suitable lubricant capable of withstanding high temperatures. If the temperature exceeds these limits, the load capacity of stainless steel may be compromised.

    Another important mechanical property of these ball bearings is their high load-bearing capacity. This property makes them suitable for applications where heavy loads need to be supported. Depending on the specific type, they can handle radial and axial loads and operate at high speeds while maintaining stability and smoothness.

    Types and Applications of Stainless Steel Bearings

    Stainless steel ball bearings are available in various types and configurations to suit different application requirements. Here are five of the most common types:

    Deep Groove Ball Bearings

    Deep groove ball bearings are an excellent choice for applications that require a reliable and versatile bearing solution. Their simple design consists of a single row of balls running in deep grooves cut into the inner and outer raceways. Moreover, their high load capacity and availability in various sizes make them ideal for machinery and equipment, such as electric motors, pumps, and compressors.

    Angular Contact Ball Bearings

    Angular contact ball bearings can handle both radial and axial loads. They feature two rows of balls set at an angle to each other, enabling them to manage both types of loads simultaneously. Moreover, they can accommodate some misalignment between the shaft and housing. This makes them suitable for applications where perfect alignment is difficult, such as tool spindles and pumps.

    Thrust Ball Bearings

    Thrust ball bearings are primarily intended to support axial loads. They comprise two washers and a set of balls placed between the washers. The balls run along a grooved track in the washers, enabling the bearings to support the load. These bearings are commonly used in automotive transmissions and heavy machinery. They are also ideal for applications with limited space due to their compact design.

    Self-Aligning Ball Bearings

    Self-aligning ball bearings are designed to tolerate misalignment between the shaft and the housing. They comprise three components: an inner ring, an outer ring, and a set of balls. The outer ring is spherical, allowing it to adapt to the inner circle, which helps the bearing accommodate any misalignment. These bearings are useful in conveyor systems and printing presses, where misalignment can frequently occur.

    Stainless Steel Pillow Block Bearings

    Stainless steel pillow block bearings include a housing and a bearing insert. They are typically utilized in applications that require support and mounting, such as material handling equipment and conveyor systems. Their housing is generally mounted to a surface using bolts or screws while the bearing insert is placed inside.

    Choose SPB-USA for High-Quality Bearings

    SPB-USA is a reputable and reliable manufacturer of precision bearings in various sizes and load capacities. Our products are designed to deliver superior performance, reliability, and durability. We take pride in maintaining the highest quality standards — our commitment to quality is reflected in our ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 14001 certifications.

    Contact us today to learn more about our products and capabilities, or browse our catalog. We also welcome requests for quotes and look forward to working with you on your next project!

  8. A Guide to Precision Ball Bearings

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    A ball bearing is a bearing between an axle and a wheel with a ring of small solid metal balls reducing friction between the rotating and stationary parts. Precision ball bearings have higher standard precision levels than most components. In various applications, they employ at least two races to contain and transfer loads through the balls — with one race fixed and the other connected to the rotating assembly.

    Precision ball bearings are used in different industries, including aerospace, health, manufacturing, automation, and commercial construction sectors. This article will discuss the functions, structures, and types of ball bearings used for various applications.

    What Is a Ball Bearing Used For?

    A ball bearing connects two parts and components that lie close to one another while providing minimal frictional resistance to motion. Usually, one of the components is a rotating shaft while the other is a stationary housing.

    The balls rotate as a result of the rotation of the bearing races, lowering the frictional coefficient between them. The load capacity of the ball bearings is also lesser than that of other types of bearings of comparable size due to the smaller contact points between the races and the balls.

    What Is the Basic Structure of a Ball Bearing?

    A ball bearing comprises four major parts: two rings or races (outer and inner), balls or the rolling elements, and a retainer or the ball separator. The outer race is fixed and mounted into the housing, contributing to the transfer of radial load from the bearing to the housing. On the other hand, the inner race supports and directs the rotating shaft.

    The rolling elements transport the load and distribute it across the pathways; they rotate at a different speed than the inner race but revolve around it. Lastly, the separator is positioned between the balls and functions as a barrier preventing them from colliding.

    What Are the Different Types of Ball Bearings?

    The following are the various types of ball bearings:

    Radial Bearings

    Also referred to as deep groove ball bearings, this type is one of the most commonly used bearings for various applications, including machinery and certain motors. They can carry axial and radial loads but are mainly employed when the primary load moves radially.

    Electric motors are the most common industrial application of radial ball bearings to support loads and motion in axial directions between the housing and the shaft. They are also useful for industrial pumps where liquids shoot up, causing the axial load to switch directions momentarily before resuming its original orientation.

    Radial bearings do not need to be purchased in pairs, making them an excellent option for applications with limited space.

    Angular Contact Bearings

    Angular contact bearings are asymmetrically designed to achieve high speeds and withstand radial-axial loads. Although they can only tolerate unidirectional axial loads, they can support loads that are not perpendicular to the bearing axis. In addition, they have one or both shoulders that are elevated and must be assembled with a thrust load for proper operation.

    These bearings are ideal for gearboxes, electric motors, pumps, clutches, and other high-speed applications. They are also used in material handling, machine tools, steel mills, and wind energy.

    Thrust Bearings

    Thrust bearings are special rotary bearings that allow rotation between the parts. They are designed to support a predominantly axial load as they cannot handle the radial ones. They are also mounted directly on the seating surface, not the shaft or housing.

    Thrust ball bearings are used in low-thrust applications with little axial load, such as automotive, generators, water turbines, heavy-duty machinery, industrial machinery, and mining and construction. Visit this page to learn more about the applications of thrust bearings.

  9. Benefits of Thin Section Ball Bearings

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    The unique dimensions and cross-sectional design of thin section bearings make them ideal for constrained spaces and applications with weight limits. Their compactness, light weight, and load capacity are valuable for designs that conventional bearings cannot accommodate. This blog will discuss how these bearings lend themselves to smarter product designs and budgetary savings. Learn more about why bigger is not always better.

    What Is a Thin Section Bearing?

    Thin section bearings, as the name suggests, have cross-sections with thicknesses that are not as wide as conventional bearings, and they come in open or shielded configurations. However, they are available in a large selection of bore diameters to fit numerous applications. The unique aspect of thin section bearings is that the cross-section remains constant as the bore diameter changes, rather than increasing or decreasing proportionately. These rugged components can reduce friction in anything from industrial equipment to regular office machinery, applicable in rotational motion tasks.

    What Are the Benefits of Thin Section Bearings?

    Thin section bearings solve some of the design issues that conventional ball bearings don’t address. Manufacturers create them with the least amount of difference possible between the inner and outer diameters. While the initial cost of thin section bearings is typically higher than conventional ball bearings, they equate to cost savings over time as they enable more flexibility in design optimizations, particularly regarding the following:

    • Size. The bearings have smaller cross-sections compared to conventional bearings, and so they can accommodate tight spaces. Also, as bore size increases along with an application’s diameter, the bearings’ cross-sectional dimensions will remain the same, meaning they won’t require additional space in the design.
    • Weight. The light weight of their cross-sections makes these bearings indispensable for precise designs that have weight restrictions. Additionally, even as bore size grows, the change to the bearings’ weight will be inconsequential.
    • Decreased friction. These bearings operate with low friction, reducing vibrations and enabling smooth movement and stable axis rotation. As a result, thin section bearings offer optimal running accuracy.

    Downsizing the weight and size of your overall design can cut down on manufacturing expenses. Also, thin section bearings play a beneficial role in performance, running stability, action accuracy, and reliability of applications. Despite their width, they still have the capacity to handle large loads with an optimal strength-to-weight ratio. These features make them essential for design work in industries such as robotics, aerospace, and medical and scientific equipment.

    What Applications Benefit From Thin Section Bearings?

    Applications primarily use thin section bearings as solutions for tight spaces. Some examples of applications that utilize thin section bearings include:

    • Heat rollers
    • Rotary encoders
    • Stepping motors
    • Robotic joints
    • Healthcare devices
    • Optical tools
    • Fishing reels

    How SPB Can Help

    To choose the right ball bearings for your application, consider the expected load capacity, rotation and rotating speed, friction, and environment in which the bearings will perform. This will help you select the appropriate bearing design for high operational performance and accuracy. At SPB-USA, LLC, we understand that these components are important elements of complex machine systems and applications, and our team is here to help you select the bearing type and size that will meet your needs.

    As a manufacturer of precision ball bearings at our ISO-certified facilities, we specialize in everything from extra-miniature flanged bearings and thin section bearings to large, open ball bearings. Sapporo Precision’s high-quality EZO Precision Ball Bearings can facilitate smooth, dependable motion between moving parts in critical equipment like medical instruments. The SPB line also has applications in motors, pumps, encoders, power tools, automation and measuring devices, and more.

    Trust SPB to help you assess the criteria for your application and work with you to determine the optimal ball bearing type with the least wear resistance to achieve success in your operation. Contact us today for more information on how SPB can support your business, or request a quote today.

  10. How Are Ball Bearings Made?

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    If you use machinery with rotary motion such as engines, turbines, and car wheels, bearings play a vital part in ensuring a smooth and efficient operation. Ball bearings may seem like simple elements, but they reduce the friction in rotational applications, thereby making your work easier. 

    ball bearing manufacturing

    At SPB USA, we specialize in ball bearings that suit a variety of shape, material, and size requirements. You can get our ball bearings in steel, stainless steel, or chrome. Our ball bearings are in appliances such as pumps, office automation products, medical equipment, power tools, encoders, AC/DC motors, flow meters, and measuring devices. Read on for more details.

    What Are Ball Bearings?

    Ball bearings are rolling-element bearings that facilitate motion while also positioning moving machine parts, carrying loads, and reducing friction. Ball bearings rely on balls to separate two bearing rings or races. This helps to minimize surface friction and contact across moving parts. When the balls rotate, they cause a reduced coefficient of friction compared to when flat surfaces rub against each other. 

    Ball bearings differ by the mechanism involved, with the most common ones being radial ball bearings or the rigid single row. The spherical ball bearings have minimal contact with their containing races, so they can transfer axial or radial loads with rapid, fluid motion. As the name implies, double-row ball bearings have two rows of balls; this design gives extra rigidity to the motion of the bearing. These bearings are mostly used in centrifugal pumps, electromagnetic clutches, and electric motors. Angular ball bearings have a side of the outer ring cut off to allow more balls to insert themselves.

    How Are Ball Bearings Manufactured?

    The ball bearing manufacturing process involves comprehensive procedures to ensure that the end products are smooth and perfectly round. 

    1. Select material and cut rings. The initial process involves using an automatic machine to cut the rings to the recommended shape. The extra materials left after cutting are usually machined.
    2. Stamp bearing with manufacturing information. The second step is to stamp the outer-ring faces with the necessary manufacturing information and bearing number. Access our Bearing Numbering System to learn more about bearing numbers.
    3. Heat and harden. Next up is the hardening stage. Here, the rings go through a heating operation at 1,565° F for 15 to 20 minutes. The rings are then quenched in oil at 375° F for a duration of 15 to 20 minutes. The next step involves tempering the rings at 340° F for about two hours. 
    4. Grind to proper dimensions. The rings then go through a grinding operation using specialized grinding machines to produce the desired finished dimensions. Race grinding helps to achieve race location, geometry, and radius. Face grinding ensures that the ring has a proper bearing width. Bore grinding is then applied on the inner rings while grinding is for the outer rings.
    5. Apply final finishing. Finally, the races go through a honing process to bring out a perfect surface finish and geometry.

    how are ball bearings manufactured

    Some bearings, such as the angular contact bearing, may require additional grinding steps to ensure the inner and outer rings have the same width.

    Custom Solutions from SPB USA

    If you were wondering how ball bearings are made or were questioning what they are, now you have the right answer. Ball bearings are essential elements in various components from power tools to pumps, motors, flow meters, and more. At SPB USA, we are the go-to specialists for all your ball bearing needs. We have premium EZO bearings with bore diameters from the extra-miniature of 0.0236″ to a large of 3.543″Contact us for more details about our products or to request a quote.

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