Linear Ball Bearings
Linear ball bearings, also known as linear rotary bearings, are one type of many types of linear motion bearings, which are mechanical elements used to transport (or ‘bear’ forward) parts or products along a straight line. Other types of linear motion bearings include plain bearings, dovetail slides, compound slides, rack slides, fluid bearings, XY tables, and linear stages.
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Applications of Linear Ball Bearings
The forward motion provided by linear ball bearings is not limited to conveyor systems but can instead be harnessed in other types of applications, such as the movement of drawer openings. Linear ball bearings are specifically composed of an outer assembly made up of linear rows of spherical (or ball) bearing elements, as well as a load bearing carriage and place holders such as rods or shaft assemblies. Thus they convey movements, not using cylinders like their cousins roller bearings, but using spheres.
The most common type of linear slide, linear ball bearings are highly adaptable and have many applications, which are found in industries, including construction, electronics, and furniture. Examples of their myriad of applications include cabinetry function, delicate instrumentation, high-end appliance function, and robotic assembly. In addition, linear ball bearings have many uses inside clean room environments.
Linear Ball Bearing Design and Function
Linear ball bearings are made up of rows of spherical ball bearings, a load bearing carriage, and place holders. In more detail, they typically consist of two straight rows of ball bearings, which are held in place by four rods. Located on opposite ends of base, they support the carriage and help ensure it is able to smoothly transport items.
To work, the load bearing carriage carries loads forward as the rods or shaft assemblies that hold the bearings in place roll or rotate. The forward motion of linear ball bearings may be powered by either inertia, by a drive mechanism, or by hand. Linear ball bearings are typically composed of strong, durable, and corrosion-resistant materials like galvanized steel, stainless steel, and hardened cold rolled steel. In the construction of the housing of linear ball bearings, metal alloys (such as aluminum) may also be used. Depending on the construction and the way in which a linear ball bearing is used, it may require the addition of lubrication during its operation.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Linear Ball Bearings
Linear ball bearings are inexpensive and easy to manufacture, install, and replace. They are also incredibly useful when applied in the right settings. They provide the smoothest and most helpful conveyance services when serving applications that have light to moderate load weights and/or small size loads.
When carefully chosen, these popular load bearing devices are highly versatile and can be customized to fit the needs of most applications. Unfortunately, however, linear ball bearings also often have a low size capacity for their size, as ball elements are less resistant to abrasion, corrosion and wearing than bearings of other shapes. The applications with which they can be matched are likewise limited because ball bearing systems can only work within the confines of drive systems or housings.
Linear Ball Bearing Maintenance Considerations
The lifespan of a ball bearing is impacted by such factors as the lubrication used during its operation, its material properties, its operating speed, and the weight of the loads it carries. Basically, the higher the speed and the heavier the load, the more quickly the bearings will experience metal fatigue and need to be replaced in the bearing assembly. While wear and tear are unavoidable, and all linear ball bearings will eventually need to be replaced, ball bearing systems are blessed with low maintenance requirements.
To extend their lifespans and keep them operating at their highest possible performance levels, system operators must occasionally clean the linear bearings. Cleanings allow the ball elements to continue to rotate freely. Note that, in environments where dust and dirt particles or debris are present or produced, ball bearings will require more frequent cleaning. This is because particles such as these can and will easily become embedded inside a conveyor or assembly and cause clogging, slowing, or stopping the movement of the bearings altogether. Another way to extend their lifespan and reduce the wear of the ball bearing surfaces is by applying lubrication.
Finding the Right Linear Ball Bearing Manufacturer
To find out if a set of linear ball bearings is right for your application, contact one of the manufacturers listed on this page. Our manufacturers can also help if you want to discuss customization, learn about ball bearing care, or get a quote. All of the manufacturers listed on our site are experienced, hardworking, and reputable. Reach out today to get started!