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Benefits of Thin Section Ball Bearings

Click to ExpandThin-Section-Ball-Bearings

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.

How Are Ball Bearings Made?

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.

Chrome Steel vs. Stainless Steel Ball Bearings: Which Is Best for My Project?

At SPB-USA, LLC, we manufacture precision ball bearings for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and industrial distributors across North and South America. Our parent company, Sapporo Precision, Inc., is an industry-leading provider of miniature and medium-precision ball bearings. 

chrome vs. stainless steel ball bearings

We provide bearings in different materials and sizes, enabling us to serve a variety of applications and industries.

Two of the most popular material choices for precision ball bearings are chrome steel and stainless steel.

Chrome Steel

Stainless Steel Ball Bearings

Chrome steel encompasses any standard steel core that has been plated in a thin layer of pure chromium. This protective layer imbues the object with a higher resistance to oxidation and corrosion. Over time, however, this metal can develop a corroded patina, losing its characteristic sheen. Chrome steel is commonly used in these applications:

  • Automobile components
  • Structural and aesthetic elements in healthcare facilities
  • Low-temperature ball bearing applications

Benefits of Chrome Steel

Chrome steel offers a cost-effective alternative to stainless steel. While less resistant to corrosion, chrome steel is durable and still resistant to corrosive factors in certain environments. Chrome steel is known for durability in dry environments or applications with low usage demands. It also has an appealing shiny finish when new. High-carbon chrome steel is a popular material for ball bearings, offering high load capacity, low-noise operation, and a long operating life. 

benefits and applications of chrome steel and stainless steel ball bearings

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a steel alloy that has a chromium concentration of at least 10.5%, making it more resistant to moisture and corrosion damage. It’s a popular material for producing consumer, commercial, and industrial goods, especially in applications that face potential moisture or high levels of usage. Some of the most common applications for stainless steel is in the production of:

  • Cutlery
  • Cookware
  • Commercial and industrial appliances
  • High-temperature ball bearings
  • Highly corrosion-resistant ball bearings

Benefits of Stainless Steel

Stainless steel offers a few advantages over chrome steel. Primarily, stainless steel is well-regarded for its resistance to corrosion. The material is also durable, scratch-resistant, and resistant to tarnishing. These properties grant stainless steel a long and durable lifespan, making it a preferred choice for sustainable items and construction.

Along with its durability characteristics, the material is strong, environmentally inert, and has an appealing surface finish. While more expensive than other steels, stainless steel is still fairly cost-effective for most projects. Stainless steel ball bearings are typically more expensive than chrome steel, but also perform better in wet environments or high-temperature situations. 

Differences Between Stainless and Chrome Steel

Stainless steel and chrome steel are both highly versatile, durable, and strong steel alloys that are more resistant to corrosion than carbon steel alone. Stainless steel features at least 10.5% chromium, nickel, and various other metals within the actual alloy, whereas chrome steel is made by plating carbon steel with a chromium layer. Stainless steel is generally preferred in conditions where corrosion and oxidation are a risk, but chrome steel is more affordable and offers a higher load rating by approximately 20%.

Contact SPB-USA, L.L.C. Today for Precision Ball Bearings

Choosing the right metal for your bearings can help to ensure long and reliable operation. Chrome-plated steel offers strength, affordability, and resistance to corrosion in the right conditions. Stainless steel offers greater protection against moisture, high temperatures, and corrosion. For more information about metal material options and how they affect the functionality of your bearings, please contact our team or request a quote.

contact spb-usa

Sapporo Precision’s Miniature Bearings Tackle Mighty Jobs

(Sarasota, FL) Precision miniature bearings, such as the one pictured within a paper clip, may be something of a curiosity among ordinary citizens, but they are a necessity for the manufacturer of products used in the medical, aerospace, electro-mechanical and packaging equipment industries, according to Mitchell Dutton, President of SPB-USA LLC, Sarasota, FL, the U.S. subsidiary of Sapporo Precision Inc.

SPB bearings are available in both corrosion resistant stainless steel and high carbon chromium steel, and are produced in a wide range of precision miniature bearings, as well as extra thin and flanged bearings in both medium and larger sizes.

The complete line of SPB-USA products can be downloaded from their website: Or you can email

SPB-USA Highlights its Extra Thin Metric Series

(Sarasota, FL.) For many customers in the USA, Sapporo Precision Bearings (SPB) is perhaps best known for its precision miniature bearings, and rightly so, maintains Mitchell Dutton, President of SPB-USA LLC. “But Sapporo’s miniature bearings, while playing a unique, very visible, role in the marketing of our products, is only one among several series of precision bearings we manufacture and market,” Dutton stated.

A prime example, Dutton said, is SPB’s Extra Thin Metric Series bearings. These bearings are available Flanged and Un-flanged with bore diameters from10MM to 50MM, and are widely used in the food processing, packaging, medical equipment, aerospace, office automation equipment and electro mechanical design industries worldwide.

SPB-USA warehouses an extensive line of bearings including the Extra Thin Series in the most asked for sizes and the type of steel required (stainless and high carbon chromium). Orders received by 2:00 pm EST usually ship from the Sarasota facility’s warehouse the same day to any city in the U.S. and Canada. For more information call 941.358.1655 or e-mail

(Sarasota, FL) The U.S. sales

(Sarasota, FL) The U.S. sales and marketing offices of Japan-based Sapporo Precision Bearings has discovered an unusual market for the firm’s miniature ball bearings: Yo-Yo’s.

Mitchell Dutton, President of Sapporo’s U.S. offices, located in Sarasota, FL, reports an increased interest by both professionals and devoted amateurs in customizing their Yo-Yo’s for maximum performance.

“Our bearings are sold as an aftermarket product to a select group of purchasers who then design their own high performance Yo-Yo’s”, Dutton stated. “While Yo-Yo’s may seem like an unusual end-use, it doesn’t surprise us that the reliability and consistent quality of our bearing’s has been embraced by that market’s most discerning customers. The fact is that, SPB/EZO bearings are used daily by a diverse group of manufacturers for products such as roller blade wheels and skate boards to medical equipment, food processing machinery and products used in the aerospace industry. Our precision ball bearings play a critical role in the manufacture of all these products,” Dutton explained.

SPB-USA, LLC is the sole factory-direct sales and marketing company located in the United States of Sapporo Precision, Inc. for EZO and SPB precision ball bearings. For a descriptive brochure, contact SPB-USA. LLC at 941.358.1655 or view their website:

SPB-USA Introduces Line of Sealed Solid Lubricant Bearings

(Sarasota, FL) Sapporo Precision Bearings USA has announced that it is now offering a complete line of Sealed Solid Lubricant Bearings to its customers throughout North America. “The addition of solid lubricant bearings to SPB-USA’s already comprehensive inventory of precision bearings brings our sales and service capabilities to an enviable level”, says Mitchell Dutton, President of Sarasota-based SPB-USA.

Dutton explained that the bearings are installed with oil-filled polymers which, while having some of the properties of solids, actually lubricates them with a film of oil. Primary benefits of oil-filled polymers, he says, is they can contain approximately twice the amount of oil than most greases thereby making more oil available for lubrication, and are particularly well-suited for harsh manufacturing environments such as food processing machines or any equipment requiring frequent cleaning.

SPB’s solid lubricant bearing sizes are available from 1/8” inner diameter to 1” inside diameter, and from metric 10mm to 50mm inside diameter. Most sizes come in chrome steel or stainless steel. Orders received at the Sarasota facility by 2:00pm EST usually ship the same day. For complete information on these and other SPB bearings call 941.358.1655 or e-mail Web:


EZO SPB-USA PRECISION BALL BEARINGS JAPAN will exhibit at the 2016 IMTS tradeshow at the McCormick Place in Chicago, IL — September 12-17, Booth E-4725.

EZO-SPB bearings are most sought-after for use in applications such as medical devices, aerospace products, power tools, machine tools, auxiliary power supplies, blowers, actuators, gyros, generators, vacuum pumps, food processing, robotics, x-ray machines, dental drills, centerfuges, paristaltic pumps, slot cars, atvs, linear motion devices, yoyo bearings, go carts, fishing reels, snow mobiles, dental products, AC/DC motors, automotive, marine applications, rotary encoders and semi conductor manufacturing equipment.
Our sizes range from a very small .06mm bore diameter to the larger size 90mm bore diameter with a variety of closures and lubrications that stand up to the most demanding applications.

To view Sapporo’s manufacturing capabilities, production sites and EZO-SPB products, log on to For additional information, please call or e-mail your request to: 941.371.1655. E-mail:

2257 Sarasota Center Blvd.
Sarasota, FL 34240
Phone: (941) 371-1655
Fax:(941) 371-1669
Business Type: Manufacturer