What Are Mechanical Bearings and How Do They Work?

April 23, 2019 6:01 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Any time you have a mechanical process that involves rotating or rolling parts, you’re going to need high-quality mechanical bearings and seals. Bearings are crucial in providing both rotation and linear movement within devices in a way that limits friction and evenly disperses the amount of stress placed on the system that could, in other circumstances, cause some catastrophic system failure. The seals, meanwhile, both maintain the lubricant needed for the bearing to function properly while also preventing contamination in the form of harmful particles entering the system.

If you’re in need of mechanical bearings in Lubbock, TX but don’t have a lot of familiarity with the various options available to you, your shopping experience may be a bit overwhelming. With this in mind, here’s some basic information about the various types of mechanical bearings and how they work.

The types of bearings you’ll encounter

The two main categories of anti-friction bearings are ball bearings and roller bearings. Ball bearings aren’t quite as common—they’re solid spheres that rotate very quickly, but are only used with moderate or heavy loads in specific types of applications that range from large pumps and compressors to miniature servo motors.

Roller bearings are a little more widely used. These types of bearings feature dual rings with rolling elements that run inside their tracks. They have the same envelope dimensions as ball bearings, but are capable of delivering greater radial load ratings because of the larger surface contact areas.

There are several subcategories of roller bearings:

  • Cylindrical rollers: These rollers make much deeper contact with the outer rings than other types of roller bearings, and are capable of distributing the load they bear across a broader surface.
  • Tapered rollers: These rollers are narrower at each end, but have a different all-around shape than other types of roller bearings.
  • Needle rollers: These rollers are similar to cylindrical rollers, but are both longer and wider on average.
  • Symmetrical barrel rollers: These rollers are self-aligning and have the same shape and dimensions on all sides.
  • Asymmetrical barrel rollers: While also self-aligning, these barrel rollers have different shapes and dimensions on each side, making them asymmetrical.

Keep in mind that any time you use a bearing, you must also have a high-quality seal to go with it. Seals protect your bearings and ensure they function properly and effectively. There are a variety of choices with regard to the seals you use. A non-rubbing seal, for example, ensures there will be no friction aside from the lubrication used in the process, while a rubbing seal allows for a specific amount of contact pressure. Gap seals are used to narrow the gap between housing units and the shaft, and labyrinth seals offer stronger space closure than gap seals.

If you’re in need of any more information about mechanical and industrial bearings in Lubbock, TX, we encourage you to contact the team at M.B. McKee Company, Inc. today and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about the products and services we provide to our customers.

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