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Ball Bearings

Ball bearings consist of inner and outer rings, a series of balls that roll along internal curved surfaces called raceways to support radial and axial loads acting on rotating and reciprocating shafts. These ball bearings provide smooth, low-friction motion in rotating applications, but have lower load carrying capacity than roller bearings. Ball shafts are primarily made of chrome steel, stainless steel, but other materials such as ceramic and nylon are also available. Ball bearings are widely used in power transmission and manufacturing industries. From automobiles and appliances to agricultural and aerospace machinery, you'll find ball bearings everywhere. Ball bearings are available in a wide range of types and sizes to suit all applications.

Ball Bearing Type

There are many types of ball bearings and it is important to choose the type that is right for your application.

Miniature Ball Bearings: Miniature bearings are small ball bearings ranging in size from 1mm to 10mm and are available in imperial and metric sizes, stainless steel or chrome steel. Depending on your application, flanged, open, sealed or shielded versions are also available. Miniature bearings are sometimes called instrument bearings or miniature bearings. They are used in applications as diverse as gyroscopes, anemometers, flow meters, miniature gearboxes, small motors, and radio-controlled models.

Deep Groove Ball Bearings: This is the most widely used type of ball bearing in the world. This is because of its versatility and overall performance. They are characterized by very deep raceway grooves with outer and inner ring arcs with slightly larger radii than the balls. They also have an inseparable ring. They are well suited for high radial load capacities and high speeds, and can accommodate axial loads in both directions.

Thin-section ball bearings: The cross-section of thin-section bearings is small relative to their diameter, and can be divided into angular contact A-type thin-section ball bearings, radial contact C-type thin-section ball bearings, and four-point contact X-type thin-section ball bearings. Designed to save space, reduce design weight, and reduce friction, they are used in many different applications across many industries including aerospace, medical imaging, robotics, semiconductors, data storage, machine tools, packaging equipment. Thin and extra thin section bearings are available in inch or metric sizes and in chrome steel or stainless steel. Thin section ball bearings are typically used in applications with space, weight and load constraints, cages and extended inner rings for high speed applications are also available. Thin section radial ball bearings are used in demanding applications, mainly carrying radial loads. Thin section bearings come in a variety of styles and cross-sections, such as open and sealed. While they are best suited for radial loads, they can also accommodate very small axial, reverse and moment loads.

Angular Contact Ball Bearings: Angular contact ball bearings are designed so that the bearing forms a contact angle between the races and the balls when the bearing is in use. The main design feature of this type of ball bearing is that the shoulder of one or both rings is higher than the other. In order for these bearings to function properly, thrust loads must be applied during assembly. This load (or preload) creates a contact line (or contact angle) between the inner ring, balls and outer ring. Preload can be built into the bearing or it can be created when the bearing is inserted into the assembly. Contact angles vary from 15° to 40°. Angular contact bearings are one-way thrust bearings that can withstand large thrust loads and moderate radial loads. Three different types of angular contact bearings are single row bearings, double row bearings and four-point contact bearings, but due to the contact angle they cannot be used alone and must be used in pairs or in combination.

Flanged ball bearings: Flanged ball bearings have a flange at one end of the bearing to provide a thrust to withstand radial loads and light axial loads. They are all designed for specific applications, and all have different designs and cages, as well as loads and performance. However, all flanged bearings are designed to be highly robust and resistant to water or contaminants. This makes them ideal for supporting heavy loads, such as additional mounted equipment with rotary or linear motion.

Thrust ball bearings: Thrust bearings are a unique type of rotary bearing. Like other bearings, they facilitate the interaction and movement between mechanical parts. However, their primary role is to support axial loads. Varieties of thrust bearings come complete with flat or aligning seats that correspond with the shape of the outer ring seat. Thrust bearings provide exclusive support for axial loads.

Self-Aligning Ball Bearings: Self-aligning ball bearings are designed so that they can tolerate small angular misalignments due to deflection or incorrect mounting. Due to the difficulties associated with properly fitting the housing bore, such ball bearings are often incorporated within the long shaft. It is also common to include such bearings in mechanical systems that would otherwise risk bending the shaft during operation. However, the use of spherical bearings should be limited to light axial load applications due to the limited amount of support provided by the outer ring raceways for the rolling elements.

Stainless steel ball bearings: Compared with ordinary bearings, stainless steel bearings not only have obvious advantages in material, but also are much stricter than ordinary bearings in terms of process and precision control. Stainless steel bearings work smoothly during work, have low noise, are corrosion resistant, and are widely used. Bearing rings and rolling elements are made of AISI 440C stainless steel, vacuum quenched and tempered. The frame material of cage and sealing ring is AISI304 stainless steel. Compared with ordinary bearing steel, stainless steel bearings have stronger anti-rust and anti-corrosion capabilities. If you choose a suitable lubricant, dust cover, etc., it can be used in the environment of -60℃~+300℃. Stainless steel bearings are mostly used in medical equipment, cryogenic engineering, optical instruments, high-speed machine tools, high-speed motors, printing machinery, food processing machinery, etc.

Ceramic ball bearings: Ceramic microstructures enjoy covalent bonding inherent between non-metal elements. This means they share electrons. This atomic co-operation yields a very strong attraction force and because of this, ceramics offer a series of benefits in comparison to metals. They Usually have very high hardness (70-90 HRc) and modulus of elasticity or Young's modulus. This means they resist shape change when a load is applied, while improving wear characteristics. Ceramic bearings can run without lubrication and are stable at high temperatures, which means less thermal expansion. Their high corrosion resistance allows them to perform well in wet and chemically aggressive environments. Many engineering ceramics also have low density, which increases the operating speed of the bearing due to low centripetal force and reduced friction. Due to the lack of free electrons in most ceramics, they are non-magnetic and excellent insulators.

Seals and Shields for Ball Bearings

Each ball bearing type can also be open or shields/sealed.Open ball bearings are the most common variety.Shielded ball bearings have a metal shield on one or both sides. Shields prevent dirt and debris from contacting and affecting the operation of the ball bearings.Most of AUB's ball bearings are available as Open or with metal shields (Z or ZZ). Larger sizes are available with rubber or PTFE contacting seals (RS or 2RS) or low friction non-contacting rubber seals (RZ or 2RZ). Open bearings are lubricated with light oil. Shielded or sealed bearings are usually lubricated with grease, but shielded bearings are available with instrument oil for low speed, low friction applications. Thanks to our in-house relubrication facility, these miniature bearings can be supplied with customer specified oil, grease or dry lubricant.

Select The Correct Bearing Type

When selecting a ball bearing, consider the type, class, lubricant, any protection/seals and basic load ratings. If the bearing is subject to shocks when stationary, also consider its static load rating. Shock loads during operation are also a factor affecting bearing life. Bearing bores and outer diameters match the basic shaft dimensions and housing bores, and bearings can be selected in millimeter and inch sizes corresponding to these basic dimensions.

Ball bearings are widely used in power transmission and manufacturing industries. From automobiles and appliances to agricultural and aerospace machinery, you'll find ball bearings everywhere. Ball bearings are available in a wide range of types and sizes to suit all applications.