Few components of modern machinery are as essential as bearings. Found in almost every machine or device that is designed to move, bearings and bearing parts enable rotation while reducing stress caused by friction. In this guide, we'll look at the parts that make up a bearing as well as any special considerations you may want to give each part if you are designing a bearing for your device or product.
Components of a Bearing
The outer and inner race of a bearing provide the housing for which the balls in the bearing rest. A groove is cut along the inner circumference of the race so that the balls will be held in place. The outer race is subject to cracking if exposed to extreme forces, so it's important to make sure you design your outer race using material that are up to the task.
The inner race is a smaller ring that the shaft rides on with a groove cut into its outer circumference rather than its inner circumference. It is positioned inside the outer race, with the balls in the bearing held in place between the two races. The grooves in the inner and outer races allow the balls to roll freely, but keep them from falling out of the bearing. As with the outer race, the durability of the material used in the design of your inner race is an important consideration.
If it is necessary for the balls to maintain a certain spacing in the bearing - as is often the case - a bearing retainer is used to hold them in place. When the balls are placed inside a bearing retainer, they are still allowed to rotate freely on their axis, but they are not allowed to roll freely towards or away from one another.
Bearing shields seal off the bearing and keep dust and other contaminants from reaching the critical components inside. In addition to this, bearing shields are also able to keep the bearing's lubricant in place longer. For these two reasons, bearing shields are essential for extending the life of your bearing. If dust or other particulates are allowed inside the bearing or if the lubricant is allowed to leak out, friction and corrosion will quickly damage components such as the balls and the races. Bearing shields keep this from happening.
The balls that are fixed between the inner and outer races of the bearing are what allows the bearing to rotate freely. Without them, the friction between the races would quickly render the bearing useless. It's important, though, that the balls you put in your bearing be manufactured to exacting specifications since a ball that is even slightly asymmetrical will reduce the effectiveness of your bearing. The surface quality of the balls is a critical factor since it affects how smoothly they are able to rotate. This impacts the overall bearing noise as well as the heat generated from friction which can reduce the bearing life.
Bearings may be relatively simple in their design, but if one thing goes wrong they will cease to function properly, potentially compromising the performance of your entire machine or device. Therefore, when designing a bearing for use in a new product, it is crucially important to source high-quality components made to exacting standards and made using top-grade materials.
At Hartford Technologies, the balls we manufacture for use in bearings go above and beyond these specifications. Each ball is made to be perfectly symmetrical with a flawless surface quality. Depending on your intended use for the bearing, you can choose balls in a wide range of sizes and materials - each with its own unique set of advantages.
To learn more about the many benefits of equipping your bearings with balls from Hartford Technologies, we invite you to contact us today.
Hartford Technologies, Inc.
1022 Elm Street - Rocky Hill, CT 06067
Tel: 860-571-3602 | Fax: 860-571-3604
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